(I'm off to the doctor's for antibiotics, but I'm doing a quick post in a feverish haze. I hope this makes sense.)
Lisa Belkin defends Caroline Kennedy saying that she has a great deal of experience. Many women take 'mom sabbaticals" and they shouldn't be penalized for it. She argues for a new untraditional definition of experience.
While I'm all in favor of untraditional definitions of experience and I firmly agree that mom sabbaticals should not count against you, I am a little uncomfortable with Belkin's argument. How do we measure merit if not by experience?
I don't think that experience should mean years of uninterrupted, 9 to 5 work, but it should mean some work in the field. I don't think that a mom sabbatical should mean you are never allowed to get on the line where they are handing out professional success. I think you be able to get back on that line, though you should not be allowed to cut to the front.
Whenever someone uses the phrase "paying one's dues," I hear "only men need apply." However, I think that some dues need to be paid. Belkin did not make the case that Kennedy had the minimum amount of experience. I have to have something. Or how else am I going to fairly judge the difference between a Palin and a Kennedy?