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NOTEBOOK – ONE GOOD READ: Working parents are having a rough summer. Some co-workers don’t want to hear about it.


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column for our Fearless initiative, which focuses on women’s and gender issues, about the need to recognize all life journeys when offering workplace flexibility. While the column specifically focused on women, one of the premises applies to all workers: The pandemic has put much-needed attention on issues of child care and being a working parent, but that focus can come as a detriment to employees without kids when their needs for flexibility are not empathized with as well. Employees without kids are sometimes assumed to have more time during off hours for work or greater ability to travel for work. A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal by Callum Borchers dug into workload disparities between parents and nonparents that have long been one of the biggest sources of unspoken tension in the workplace. One of the sources interviewed was an IT consultant who doesn’t have kids who said she is called for after-hours work more often than colleagues with kids, and co-workers don’t seem to know or care “that she’s busy with graduate school and a side hustle — not to mention a social life.” Borchers wrote that many people he talked to wouldn’t go on the record because of the topic being taboo – bringing up the issue might seem like you’re not empathetic to colleagues with kids.

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