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can I care for my child through the workday if my job is undemanding? — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

I work for a big firm with robust union protections. Due to our union protections, it’s very onerous to get fired and even to get a low efficiency score, but it surely’s additionally very onerous to get advantage raises or promotions. Compensation is explicitly tied to how lengthy you’ve been with the corporate.

I’ve been at this firm two years and due to my low tenure I make about 60% of what my friends make. I’m additionally completely underemployed. I get glorious efficiency rankings, and despite the fact that I’m full-time I can end my work in about 10 hours per week. My job not often requires conferences aside from a month-to-month 1:1 with my boss.

I’m anticipating my first youngster in just a few months. Our firm coverage explicitly says that workers should have youngster care whereas they’re working. However I’ve so little work to do through the day, and most of it may be completed asynchronously. Can I simply … ignore the coverage and supply full-time look after my child through the day so long as my work doesn’t slip? I might make preparations for these days when I’ve conferences. I actually don’t suppose my boss would discover somehow.

Aggggh, I hate this query and I additionally type of love this query.

I hate it as a result of there are conflicting rules in play and I’m not totally comfy with any of the solutions I might land on.

I find it irresistible as a result of it’s extra sophisticated than it appears on its floor.

Listed below are the conflicting rules, each of that are true:

* It’s fully affordable to your employer to require you to have childcare when you’re working, when your youngsters are little. These insurance policies had been commonplace pre-Covid, obtained relaxed by necessity the primary couple of years of the pandemic, and are actually commonplace once more.

* When you’ll be able to end your work in 10 hours per week whereas nonetheless getting glorious efficiency evaluations and also you’re making 60% of what your friends make, there’s actually no moral subject with doing different issues along with your time so long as it doesn’t intervene along with your work. Wish to do laundry or scrub your baseboards or binge-watch actuality reveals? So long as you’re obtainable when your job wants you, I’m not going to inform you that you would be able to’t. (I am going to just remember to’ve informed your boss you’re obtainable for extra work, and in addition that you just’ve thought-about whether or not there are long-term skilled disadvantages to remaining in a job like that. However after that, do what you’ll.)

Nonetheless, it’s extra sophisticated when the opposite factor you’re doing along with your time is youngster care. You’ve obtained to think about:

* Infants and little youngsters demand consideration on their schedule, not yours. You possibly can cease your baseboard-scrubbing or pause your present if a piece want comes up that it’s essential to deal with. You possibly can’t pause a child. What are you going to do in the event that they every demand your consideration on the identical time? Plenty of the time, your child will want to win out — what does that imply to your work?

* What you probably have a last-minute assembly with little discover and don’t have time to line up youngster care? In concept you possibly can inform your boss that your youngster care fell by way of that day and it’s not your norm, however then you definitely’re mendacity and also you’re additionally more likely to elevate some questions in your boss’s head. If it occurs a second time, your set-up is actually more likely to turn into a query for her.

* What if one thing adjustments and your job abruptly will get extra busy than it’s now (like a brand new boss, a brand new undertaking, or a busier coworker leaves and their work falls to you)? Discovering full-time youngster care isn’t often one thing you are able to do in a single day — in some areas it may possibly take months. Will you be capable of change issues on the fly if it’s essential to?

* What about these 10 hours per week you do must give attention to work? Is it versatile sufficient that you would be able to match it in round nap occasions, or is it more likely to battle with occasions when your child is awake and desires your consideration? Will you need to suit it round nap occasions, or will having to do this make issues extra nerve-racking than they’d be in the event you had clear, uninterrupted work hours?

* Is it wholesome to separate your consideration that method? Some dad and mom discover nice reduction in having a clearly delineated a part of their day once they’re not on child responsibility and might simply give attention to grownup issues. You would possibly find yourself feeling such as you’re short-changing your self and the newborn and your job.

* Talking of shortchanging your self, will doing this trigger you to restrict your self professionally in methods you wouldn’t in any other case? For instance, if a chance comes up for a undertaking that may be nice to your profession, will you keep away from taking it on as a result of it could complicate your youngster care availability? If that’s the case, you danger harming your profession long-term in methods you’ll be able to’t essentially see proper now.

All of which is to say … I’d quite you not do it. (I’d additionally quite you reside in a society that helps working dad and mom and has reasonably priced youngster care and doesn’t make folks make selections like this, however right here we’re.)

However I can see why you’d give it some thought! I simply suppose it has extra obstacles than you is perhaps contemplating.

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