This post is nonsense. It’s a bunch of assertions with no grounding in reality. This works fine for some people and terrible for others.
I really wanted to disagree with your comment because I agree with the thesis of the article. Unfortunately, the article does basically nothing to support the thesis. :-/
http://www.igda.org/?page=crunchsixlessons has a bunch of references to research, though AFAIk no one has done much that is software-specific.
A company that values good work/life balance will have a much easier time hiring and retaining female and disabled employees. Women and the disabled often do not have the time to spend working 12 hours straight. They have other important obligations that need to be taken care of, such as their own health, children, elderly parents, etc. The upsides to a more diverse software engineering team are already well known, but companies are still struggling with retention and hiring.
Some men also like to spend time with their families, have to take care of family members, need to exercise, have hobbies. It’s good to retain them too.
I’m 30 years old, got a wife and three kids (looking to add a fourth, maybe, someday). I come from a big family, and although I absolutely love what I do for a living, my family is the most important thing in my life, bar none. An employer who doesn’t understand that will find it hard to retain me.
tl;dr I agree with your statement.
Tech companies are thus far getting by hiring a majority of men for their offices who can work long shifts. (I don’t think they should do this, but I’m talking about reality right now.)
A major reason why the gender gap exists in Tech is due to women not being able to work on call, over night or very long shifts. One of the big reasons for this is due to obligations at home that cannot be scheduled around or put off. I am not talking about a man’s “right” to have hobbies, I am talking about someone being cut out of an entire industry due to long shifts that many women and disabled folks will never be able to do.
Your comment has no baring on my point.
Of course men will also benefit from shorter working hours, and their families benefit having them around more. The author of the article goes into a great deal of detail into this already. I was merely pointing out an additional benefit of shorter hours – increased diversity in hiring.
Men dont have to look after elderly parents, children or health?
Completely agreed. Everyone benefits from work/life balance and I’d hope everyone supports it.
When asked to make a choice between career and family, however, … somebody in the household needs to choose career or there won’t be a household, and hopefully somebody chooses family, for the kids' sake. In the very common case of male-female monoamorous relationships, women are more likely to be the ones who choose family, because that’s the predominant social structure.
And, of course, disabled people don’t have a choice.
In the context of “how can we help retention for groups where it is generally very bad”, making that choice easier and less all-or-nothing is an enormous thing that companies can do. I agree - it will also help retention for everyone else.
Let me say in advance that I am about to offer an explanation of why your remark could draw hostility, but I don’t think you believe or are trying to suggest the view I’ll describe. I just want to head off acrimony.
I have been disappointed as I discover how many people really do think as follows:
I don’t disagree. It just reads like the original comment mentally segregates men into one category, and women and disabled people into another. This sort of distinction is unnecessary in this context and could alienate men.
Women, Men and the disabled have different lived realities where I am (the united states) and I cannot possibly comprehend how pointing out the differences between people’s lives == alienating non-disabled men.
Right now women do the majority of child care and elder care in the US. I made no comment on this fairness of this, I never said “the menz are evil patriarchs”, I am simply stating the reality of things right now without blame or judgments. People are reading into what I said and placing ideas there that never existed.
Of course I would like to see men be able to spend more time with their children and eldery parents. But right now the reality is that women are doing the majority of this sort of work in the US.
I think it’s more than social convention when men “focus on career” and women on family. For me at least, I will be working while my partner stays home simply because I can command a higher paycheck than she can.
I was merely pointing out an additional benefit of shorter hours – increased diversity in hiring. Obviously everyone benefits from not working 12 hours shifts. I have no idea why y'all are getting your panties in a twist. I just wanted to point out something that many people may not even consider – that more manageable work shifts == more women and disabled employees as a possible consequence.
I am a man who does not look after his health. So that’s a solid 1/3 yes.
A friend of mine is tackling this problem over at http://daily-q.com – check it out if work/life is currently something you want to seriously tackle. You can say nato from Lobsters referred you if you want.
You guys need to take two seconds to consider why you got so defensive over a post that did not attack or judge men in any way, and why you felt the need to say “but men” when a different perspective from your own is given. Men are the majority in tech, their concerns cannot possibly be forgotten or ignored (like those of women) because any time anyone mentions any other group they are downed out by “but men…”.
Take another second to think about if you drown out the thoughts of women at your job/hackerspace/FOSS project because you feel the need to say “but men…”. Listening costs nothing to you and means everything to the disadvantaged.
A different perspective on a situation is not an attack against your own. Learning about how the same policy can have a massive impact on women and the disabled is a good thing to spend just a few seconds thinking about because they are the minority in tech. Consider also that one day you could be disabled so listening to those experiences now helps yourself, your peers and your progeny to have a better life than people today have.