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We Can Win

We can win the job/family challenge

Recently, I asked a group of women workers what words they associate with the phrase "job and family." You know their responses: "dilemma," "conflict," "balancing act," "juggle," "stress"-- and, of course,"guilt." Some tention between job and family responsibilities is inevitable.But we could reduce the problems enormously with solutions that have already been proven to work.

Most people would love to have someone home full time to take care of the details of daily life.In reality,few people will.But we can get relief--- by changing the way business thus business,by winning more public support for families, and by having those who share the house share the work.That will take initiatives by business leaders,by employee groups,by elected officials, and by each of us individually.

To win the job/family chalange, we have to have flexibility at work and access to quality dependent care--- and the ability to afford both.We need a new vision of success,where you don't have to sacrifice your family in order to contribute or to advance.Imaging the results if people running companies---- or countries, for that matter---- resembled more closely the people they serve. Chances are we wouldn't have a $ 700 billion deficit or 38 million people without health insurance. Individual businesses and our nation as a whole stand to gain from the ability of workers to be both good employees and good family members.

Change won't happen easily or on its own.You'll have to get involved and convince others that they should,too. But together,we can reach the point where having a family and a job is a blessing,not a burden.

Know What You Want

In thinking about proposing policies where few or none exist,it's fine to start with your own immediate needs.Whether your main concern is a flexible schedule or time off or help with dependent care,figure out what would give you the most relief. But remember, your needs will change. Suppose you're preparing for a new child, and your concern is parental leave.In the near future, you may need reduced hours or a more flexible shedule.Even if your parents are in good health, someone in your family may become ill at any time.So make sure that the goals you aim for are broad enough to cover your own multiple needs---- and those of your co-workers.

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