Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Work Life Balance and the Corporate Ladder


Conor Friedersdorf didn't like Jack Welch's comments about work life balance:

"There's no such thing as work-life balance," Mr. Welch told the Society for Human Resource Management's annual conference in New Orleans on June 28. "There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences."

Mr. Welch said those who take time off for family could be passed over for promotions if "you're not there in the clutch."

Conor's response:

Imagine that three people, all about 50 years old, are competing to be named CEO of a large company like General Electric -- one that pays a premium to compensate its top executive on the theory that singular talent at the top, drawn by necessity from a small pool of applicants, vastly increases corporate worth. Does it make sense that this decision would rest heavily on whether or not one of the applicants took a year off in her late twenties to care for her child?
No it doesn't make sense, and that is why it doesn't happen. All Mr. Welch was saying that reaching the top of a large company like GE is a cut-throat, career long competition. If significant time is missed, it is difficult to make up. He isn't talking about if a woman takes maternity leave a few times to have children.


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