I never thought I’d say this, but I agree with Mitt Romney. After last night’s debate I had to let this shocking revelation really soak in. In the midst of Mitt’s misstep during his attempt to woo women, Mr. Romney actually said something I can support. Here is the quote from the debate:
“Now, one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort, but number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce, that sometimes they need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said, I can’t be here until 7:00 or 8:00 at night. I need to be able to get home at 5:00 so I can be there for — making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said, fine, let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.”
Within this passage is one truth, companies and organizations do need to be more flexible if they want to attract women to be a part of their team.
Who proclaimed that the work day must start at 9 am and will proceed in an orderly fashion until 5pm? Upon leaving work all women shall return to their home to cook dinner for their family, or if you are a single parent, for your potential gun-toting delinquent.
So that is in Romney World, where children should stop feeling entitled to a student loan from a bank which is making money on them due to help from (say it with a sneer) “big” government! Instead those greedy (poor) students (takers) need to set their sights just a little bit lower, go to a community college, or get the money to pay from parents, I mean those two must be living high on that social security hog right? In Romney World you set up trust funds for your trust funds just to hide, I mean shelter, all your lovely millions of dollars. So stop whining, go get a job, you don’t need college. Corporations may be people now, but students, heck, most of them don’t even bother to vote.
But now that I have your attention, let’s get back to why I actually do agree with Mr. Romney. First the background: I graduated college in 1991. I was one of those greedy students who applied for a subsidized student loan. At first I went to school at night, by doing this the corporation I worked for paid my tuition. But at the end of my 2nd year, I was invited to take part in a program abroad. The European Union was developing a program and top business students were recruited from around the world.
Greedy, entitled brat that I was, I expected a bank to lend me the money at a reduced interest rate! And although I didn’t realize the bank was at that time secretly socialist, they actually TOOK money from the government to offset any losses they incurred by investing in my education, I still paid them back every dime, with that socialist subsidized interest!
After my year abroad, I came back with a certificate in European Accounting & Law, was almost fluent in two languages and had traveled throughout Western Europe. I came back to the US, finished school, with yes, more socialist subsidized loans, and upon graduation was offered and accepted a job with the same corporation that had paid for my first two years of college.
The next few years were a blur of work, mixed in with summers at the beach, skiing in Vermont and trips back and forth to England. In 1996, I had my daughter, took a couple of years out of the workforce and enjoyed being a mom.
In 1998 I decided to return to work, and found a job with a small CPA firm. It wasn’t long before a much bigger firm offered me a job and I went from my casual part-time position, to full-time consultant at a fancy regional firm. I was expected to wear a suit, be there at 9, and stay until at least 5. I was expected to lunch with bankers, insurance agents and attorneys to network and market. I prepared and delivered many a presentation for various Chambers of Commerce. And I was miserable.
Rather than being able to enjoy dinners with my daughter I turned into this harried mother-thing that ran out at 5pm to pick my daughter up from the day care center, rushed us home and made something from a box in the freezer and something from a bag, or another box, so I could get her fed, bathed, read to and in bed before 8pm. It was not a happy time for either of us.
So in 1999 I started my consulting firm, Creative Technology Systems, Inc. with the premise that all work is flexible, that I can do my job just as well in jeans as in a suit, and that when my child was sick I would stay home, oh, and I would only work from 10 to 3 so I could be home with my child.
I don’t think you can imagine the skepticism this was met with. My colleagues at the firm were horrified. One partner actually told me it would never work. He told me I’d be back in 6 months asking for my job back. In July 2012 it was my 13th year in business, every one of them flexible.
I tell you all this to make a point, women do not have to operate by male standards of what is “good”. On the other hand, women do not need special treatment. All workers can benefit from a flexible schedule, and I know plenty of men who are the ones to do the cooking.
So yes, I agree with Mitt Romney. Though I’m betting he would never admit to agreeing with me.