WFH and avoid the 2nd shift?
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|Sun, 01-10-2010 - 7:54pm|
Is the Internet - and not the washing machine or the pill - the
technology that finally liberated women?
Let me know your thoughts...
THE MEDIUM: Home Tool
January 10, 2010
By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN
I had a revelation recently: a woman's place is not in the home; it's
from the home! The good old home, with its dishes and dust, is, history
has shown, not quite satisfying in itself. But maybe it's a
headquarters! In fact, turn your attention away from the kitchen and the
bedrooms to the laptops, the cable, the e-readers, the smartphones, the
high-speed triple-play tangle. Tricked out with telecommunications that
could have serviced all of I.B.M. in 1950, the bourgeois home has become
a woman's base of operations. Try it: "Hi, boss. Today I'm staying home.
Staying from home. I'm working from home."
That phrase! Timothy Ferriss, in "The 4-Hour Workweek," the best-selling
manual of truancy and shirking, argues that the first step to living the
dream is persuading your boss that face time is pointless. No matter
what the open-plan evangelists say, no shareholder value has ever been
generated by colleague collisions at the copier or the CPR poster. The
way to bring glory to yourself and your company, as we all know, is to
put your head down and do your work - at home, ideally.
Telecommuting is a familiar story, but I must sing its praises again -
this time in a feminist key. For a century and a half, Mary
Wollstonecraft types have tried to empower women to leave the home to
work, shop, teach, learn, lead. Instead, without even marking the
moment, we superempowered the home. Now if a woman stays home she's not
unambitious or antifeminist; she is - in the acronym of mothering
message boards - a WAHM, a work-at-home mom, the most treasured of all
the mom options (stay at home = bored; work outside the home =
exhausted). This is good news. With technology that allows the WAHM to
be simultaneously inside and outside, at home and at work, public and
private, she no longer has to forfeit the manly rewards of grasping
For real. The dishwasher, the washing machine and the pill were supposed
to liberate us from something, but the superduper Internet, alone among
the great 20th-century technologies, has really nailed it. A woman of
any ideological disposition or domestic arrangement must answer her
e-mail. Therefore, a strategically arranged notebook computer,
positioned like a dad's broadsheet in the Eisenhower era, has become a
force field against domestic distractions. While you beetle-brow it
through your "work" - searching for your airline-rewards password,
finding out who Justin Bieber is, obsessing about freckles on