Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The most interesting paragraph I read today

My sincere apologies with the relatively quiet posting recently. I do indeed have a Process Wednesday post in the works, but I found this to be such an interesting framing of the issue by Alyssa Rosenberg, commenting on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and her approach to looking at childcare costs that I had to post it:
Similarly, Sandberg suggests a different way to look at the cost of child care. Rather than considering nannying or preschool costs as a dilemma, something that wipes out a woman’s earnings, or that’s discretionary spending to allow a woman to continue doing something that she likes, Sandberg once again reframes the question, acknowledging that “Child care is a huge expense, and it’s frustrating to work hard just to break even. But professional women need to measure the cost of child care against their future salary rather than their current salary…Wisely, Anna and other women have started to think of paying for child care as a way of investing in their families’ future.” 
Sandberg makes a very interesting point and one that I hadn't considered. When I calculate child care for our family budget, I usually do the math against our income (numerator = child care, denominator = wages). I had not taken into account that, over time, the wages term goes up...

[One should point out that for those, like Ms. Sandberg, who have/desire offices in the C-suite, the beginning years of one's career probably play much more of a role in future income than those of us to aspire to more mundane titles like "group leader" or "senior principal fellow."] 

7 comments:

  1. CJ,

    That is a very interesting perspective, although we are long past paying for child care in any and all manners (i.e., The scion graduates from college next month!)

    A continuous steady income would most likely be higher than the result of trying to become re-established in the job market again. Annual raises have the same compounding effect as interest on a savings account. And there still will be supervisors that (secretly) think (to themselves) that a stay-at-home parent isn't as serious.

    Oh yeah. A great way to look at things.

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    1. The Aqueous LayerMay 23, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      The dynamic of 'temporarily' leaving your career to raise your children has changed dramatically in the last decade. Being out of the work force for 5-7 years makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get back into the same line of work.

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  2. Opportunity cost of leaving child care during formative years to strangers.....

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    1. That's the rub, isn't it? Ideally, they're not strangers.

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    2. Ideally, but can be tough to get someone you know well to look after kids, especially given the sometimes transitory nature of chemistry employment.

      On other hand, could equally be that others are better at raising kids.

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    3. An experienced nanny is a far better resource for raising children that I ever will be. :-/

      It could be argued that all of a child's years are formative. And yet few people pull the "leaving them to strangers to raise" line once they hit elementary school age. Seems I only hear that line when moms want to one-up each other. And I never hear it in reference to men continuing to work after their children are born. The conversation wouldn't even be needed if there was adequate, mandatory maternity and paternity leave in the US. Yet the conversation is always about what women have to do about it and not how the system is failing all of us.

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  3. I think it would be the first president

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