No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance?

The Wall Street Journal quoted GE CEO, Jack Welch, on his views on work-life balance. This quote has caused quite a storm in the blogosphere. I'm going to get you all up to speed on the debate and then weigh in later.

"There's no such thing as work-life balance." That's what former General Electric chief executive Jack Welch recently told the Society for Human Resource Management at its annual conference.
"There are work-life choices," he said, "and you make them, and they
have consequences." Mr. Welch's comments reverberated across the Web as
women (and men) argued over whether it was possible to rise to a high
level in corporate America and take time off to have a family.

MomsRising.Org responded. 

We’re tired of people bemoaning that work-life balance isn’t possible,
while there are real-life solutions in the form of family-friendly
policies at our disposal–policies which also up the corporate fiscal
bottom line by helping to retain and advance women. Yes, it’s true:
Recent research underscores that having women in leadership is
correlated with improving the fiscal bottom line for businesses.

The same WSJ article talks about the various blogs that focus on work-life balance, most of which are on my google reader and twitter accounts. The Juggle is new. But the WSJ says that those blogs were sort of boring. Who needs all those personal details?

Libby Gruner responds,

Feminism started to make sense to me when I first heard the slogan,
“the personal is the political.” Austen's personal, domestic world is
deeply political, even if the soldiers in red coats seem mostly to
serve as escorts to dances. And children's stories like Alice in Wonderland or, indeed, the Harry Potter series,
are imbued with meanings — about education, knowledge, even ethics —
that are all the more important for being so easily missed. The
minutiae of how our lives work — or don't — from day to day is, as most
feminist scholars know, deeply political. The way power is distributed
in society is visible in the small things like whose job comes first
and who knows the pediatrician's name, in how we organize our time and
who has access to what kinds of work. These issues are also, of course,
capital-P Political, when we consider the economic, governmental and
social policies that have, for example, made the two-income family the
norm without commensurate changes in our social organization. I've
learned a lot about these issues from blogs, including the ones
collected here under the Mama, PhD umbrella

One thought on “No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance?

  1. Welch’s remark seems incontrovertible to me. People who put in phenomenal hours will get more done, all things being equal, than those who go home to read Goodnight Moon to poopy little pink wrigglers every single night for months on end. Tolstoy’s wife and children had huge complaints about his inattentiveness to them. Carly Fiorina was infertile, so turned her energies to work.
    I’m by no means a big cheese at my workplace – would I have been, absent the Goodnight Moon time? Not sure, but I’ve made my choices and don’t regret them.


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