Another blogger posted his thoughts about people who consider their employment a profession verses those who think of it as a job. He got pretty seriously blasted and ended up deleting the post (just when I was planning to link to it, curse him!). To respect his decision, I won’t link to his blog, but I do have some things to say about it.
I do see myself as having a profession. However, at this point in my life, I’m not willing to work full time. I’m not willing to stay until 2:00 a.m. to solve a problem. I’m in HR people, it’s not brain surgery and no one is going to die if headcount isn’t done until the next day. That being said, I’m also an efficient worker who tends to be able to use my computer skills to automate tasks that previous people have spent hours and hours per performing.
Some people in my department have differing views. They are willing to stay until 2:00 a.m. and are unwilling to say no to senior management, regardless of the absurdity of the request. That would seem to shout “this person is dedicated to the profession!” They aren’t necessarily willing to find a faster way to do the job.
But there are perception problems all around this concept. Does someone who has to work from home when their child is sick, or takes two hours off to attend the 5th grade talent show lack dedication? (Of course, I think I would go out and get a job in order to avoid attending a 5th grade talent show. Yeesh, I am such a bad mother, but tell me, does anyone enjoy any part of such things other than their own child’s performance? I thought so.)
HR is female heavy and my department is no exception. There are 23 people in my department, 20 of whom are women. Of those 20 women, 16 have young children, and one of the childless ones is pregnant with her first. For all 16 of those, the mom is primarily responsible for childcare.
Every single one. If the kid is sick, mom stays home. Now, keep in mind that this group has those people described above who are willing to stay until the middle of the night working on a project that will not save the world. They are dedicated. Some feel this is their calling. Yet, even among those who make substantially more money than their husbands (I know way too much about my co-workers lives), they are still the primary care givers.
So, at which point do we judge someone’s dedication to their job? By the number of times they can’t come into the office because family responsibilities take precedence? By the number of times they stay late at the office? By the number of times they work from home after the children are asleep?
I advocate for throwing all of those criteria out the window. We should look at the end product: What are they producing?
We give credit for face time. Why? 90% of my work is done via e-mail and phone calls. My function supports all of our US and Puerto Rico sites. I couldn’t have face time at each of those sites even if I wanted to. So, why does it matter if I show my face every day at the office?
It shouldn’t. Should it matter if it takes me 8 hours or 6 hours to accomplish a task? I’m an exempt employee (no over time), so theoretically I’m hired to do a job, not punch a clock.
And to give credit where credit is due, my female heavy department is fabulously flexible. They do still reward face time (especially face time where you are in your manager’s office rather than your own accomplishing something–which I don’t understand at all), but understand that while this is a profession, it’s not a life.