Men at work…

I’m trying to make a point here so let’s get to it – My husband works in a male dominated industry (mining).   I work in a female dominated industry (early childhood education).   I take our two year old to work with me and I work part time.  I travel a lot for work and I sing to her in the back of the car.  I take her to meetings, conferences, lectures, and networking opportunities where I am always surrounded by lovely women who smile and laugh and we all get on with our jobs.  I always make sure I am at home for 4 days out of 7 and then every second week full for our girl to be with her dad.

Now for his story…  My husband has just started out in the mining industry over the last three years.  He works a lot of overtime and is surrounded by men who also work a lot of overtime and probably have children at home.

Recently my husband refused some overtime to spend a Sunday with us.  Over the weeks leading up to this particular Sunday he had been away … then I had been away … and we had seen each other for one week out of six when his parents were visiting – not really a time of marital bliss.  Come Monday and dear husband is getting ‘pineappled’ at work (that’s his term for being in trouble with the boss).  He is sat down, given a warning and then the BIG boss is on the phone also telling husband that it is in his contract to work reasonable overtime.
My husband asks, “what do you consider reasonable overtime?”
“10 hours a week or one full day.”
“well I worked all day Saturday and overtime on Friday.”
“look… If you want to work in this industry you have to expect to work overtime whenever asked”…

My husband, being a gentle soul leaves it at that and accepts the warning.  He is even convinced that he had been in the wrong.  Until he got home and I had something to say about it.  I say – People make an industry – it doesn’t make itself.

Here is my biggest issue…  It’s almost a feminist issue (leave it to me to make anything a feminist issue).  Well actually it’s a humanist issue that impacts negatively on women as well as men – but the men within the industry are the only ones that can really change it.  THE ISSUE – It is the fact that we have a huge mining industry here in Australia that is mostly full of men.  Most of those men are probably fathers with wives who might happily be stay at home mums (part time in my case) but who still want their children to see their fathers.  However, the head honchos who make the industry are anti-family and therefore anti-woman.  So, are they promoting bad parenting towards our future generations?  Are they promoting negative relationships between man and wife?  Are they reiterating their own outdated beliefs by assuming that women should be the ones to raise children generally alone?

There has been a shift in choice in the world of feminism.  Before it was the choice to work and be liberated from forced domesticity.  Now it is the choice to stay at home and have the well earned support of society or to work with that same respect and support.  However, for those of us who have chosen to stay at home – with a partner in this industry (and many other male dominated industries) we could be taken for granted.

Although … in the end I think my husband is really getting the crappy end of the stick.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Myrna on September 19, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I met alot of mine workers who were specifically looking for family friendly workplaces ( while working as a temp on a site half an hour from a major town) Unfortunately they are few and far between.
    I think my perspective may have been skewed as I got the impression that many mine workers were single and not likely to include partners in their life any time soon.
    And the bosses at my workplace used to literally set aside one day a weekend every weekend for a family day ( plus had their kids drawings plastered all over their office.)

    Reply

  2. Posted by plahski on September 20, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    My husband sometimes doesn’t even get a weekend. But it’s the overtime in the afternoons that really takes him away from the daily life of our little girl. There is a man working with him who has 4 kids who he never gets to see. My husbands boss is the only single man at his work and when we lived in Mt Isa my dad’s group of co-workers were all husbands and fathers. I’d say that there is a mix – but even if there are single men they really need to have a break also.

    I think that more than just a day a week needs to be set aside for dads to be with their children. It’s so sad – having their drawings on the wall makes it even sadder – that they have such little time with them that they have to compensate with pieces of them.

    Reply

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