I can hear you!
During the course of the year I got hundreds of responses to the “Your Career” columns. Some offer me kudos on a job well done, while others are a little less flattering.
I know, many of you wonder if I ever read these e-mails. Believe it or not, I do; even the really mean ones.
This holiday season, I thought I should give you all a voice and publish some of your responses to the most popular “Your Career” columns of 2007.
Happy holidays, and keep the e-mails coming.
My column on women and absenteeism brought a flood of responses:
Maybe I’m a moron, but I don’t get it. Your article states that women DO take more sick leave and then points to examples of women being falsely accused of being gone more often. You point out that it isn’t due to childcare, or health, but then you don’t say why women take more sick days. You just state how women are victims in a male workplace. If they ARE gone more often how are they being victimized? Women such as those profiled in your article are being made to suffer because of others, but it seems like it is because of the behavior of other women.
One answer may in fact be that women perceive themselves as the primary caregivers for their children — if so, is that a negative thing? If true, does it denigrate the role of a woman? Does it lower their value? Only if you arbitrarily place a higher value on a woman who works outside the home vice one that is a stay at home mom. I would suggest that women do what they really want to do, rather than whatever the current fad of society (and reflected in the media) tells them they should be doing.
Very sexist article. I hope it enhances your career.
The column I wrote on college kids just wanting money got a lot of readers reflecting, and wondering how you make it without buckets of cash:
I think I ruined the first 20 plus years of my career trying to learn what you wrote about in your article. Plus you said it better than I could have. Thanks so much for writing it. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson, but it’s good to see an article like this, it helps re-enforce my thoughts as well.
I enjoyed your article, but I was very struck by this quote in particular, “My mother and father told us as long as you work hard you can provide for yourself and your family.” I am afraid that this is no longer the case. Wages are so depressed in our area and housing is so high that just working hard is not enough.
My mother was a stay-at-home mom, but we had a house, 2 used cars, food and we went to public school. I tried to stay-at-home, but we were about to lose the house, so I went back to work. We barely make it and we have good jobs (I’m a commercial insurance agent and my husband is a computer systems engineer).
This is the life these kids have seen and no wonder they want to get rich and then do what will make them happy.
Unfortunately, you can't survive without money. Where I live, you need at least $40,000 [a year] to survive, and not all jobs can pay that. As a matter of fact, the hardest jobs to fill here are retail and restaurant because of the high cost of living.
So how does one survive without being rich?
I agree with your point in your column about making money as a poor career goal choice. In fact, it’s more than that; it’s a poor life choice. However, I don’t think you make this point very well by interviewing only people who make a lot of money. It’s kind of like talking out of both sides of your mouth. Sure they say that making money was not their main goal, but of course they would say that when asked. They realize that it would be very shallow to say otherwise, and would make them look bad.
The whole column was somewhat disingenuous. The next time you might try looking for people who are happy in their careers, important contributors to their companies, but who make important contributions to their communities outside their professional life. Those who spend their lives wrapped up in their careers and fail to make meaningful contributions otherwise will never find happiness and fulfillment, no matter how financially successful they may be. Their lives will always be empty.
The tone of the e-mails following my column on obesity and discrimination lent a lot of weight to the perception that fat workers often get the career shaft:
When it comes to discrimination, race is not a choice. For the vast majority of people, obesity is a choice. I don't know why so many of these articles think that this is an appropriate analogy.
This is another one of those subjects which forbids truth to be told. Like so many issues in our progressive and enlightened society we've outsmarted ourselves into precluding the correct answer from the solution set.
Overweight people are lazy. Period. If they are uninterested in their own image and their health, they will be even less interested in producing for their employers. Yes, I know, what I've said is hurtful and reactionary. Tough. I'm retired. I made it out of the workaday world without having my assets confiscated by big brother for offending or not paying homage to the long list of victims. So I can speak freely and it's great.
Go ahead, create another federal agency to make sure these fat slobs have sunny days forever. This is the Nanny State after all.
I just read your MSNBC.com article on discrimination in the work place against overweight individuals. I feel for these individuals and I hope your article brings light to the issue.
And my death-of-the-lunch hour column outraged many of you who still long for the days of three martini lunches:
This article is whacked out. I wrote down the names of these companies so I make sure I never work for them. I can’t remember the last time I took less than a half hour for lunch. Those sheep need to find a different company to work for.
I enjoyed your article about not enough time for lunch. Perhaps this accounts for why so many of us Americans are actually OVERWEIGHT?
We are literally taught from elementary school that we must hurry and eat. And as we go through life's changes our eating habits seem to become “hurry up” and “get it over with” rather than enjoying it. It would seem by natural reasoning it costs our employers more in health costs because they don't want to spend a little on lunch breaks.