Thursday, January 12, 2012

Men increasingly putting family before jobs.

Men increasingly putting family before jobs
Brett Baker spends time with his daughter, Katie, after school Friday at their home. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
1 / 4Showing image 1 of 4By MICHAEL OVERALL World Staff Writer
Published: 1/9/2012 2:25 AM
Last Modified: 1/9/2012 7:39 AM
The question occurred to him after several weeks of unemployment: "Why," Eric Price asked himself, "do I even want a job?"
Price had to abandon his cubicle in 2008 when the national economy tanked and his company slashed half its work force.
The recession, for reasons that economists are still debating, affected a disproportionate number of men.
Seven males lost their jobs for every three women who were laid off, which inspired somebody to coin the term "mancession."
"I needed to make a living," said Price, who's raising two children. "But there's more than one way to do that. I didn't want my whole life to revolve around the office."
Forget the traditional, 9-to-5 desk job.
Price began taking freelance IT work, keeping himself busy at least 20 hours a week, but never a full 40.
"It's strange," he said, "that we work all the time when we're young and our children are young, all for the hope that someday we can retire, when maybe we're not as healthy as we used to be and our children are all grown up and gone.
"I want some of that free time now."
Like Price, an increasing number of men are taking part-time or temporary work, a job market long dominated by women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Women used to be three times more likely than men to have part-time or temporary jobs.
Now women are only twice as likely to have those jobs, and men are catching up fast.
Most reports blame the recession for pushing men to take whatever work they can find. Part-time or temporary is better than nothing.
But here's another theory.
"It's a lifestyle choice," said Carey Baker, president and CEO of Tulsa placement agency Part-Time Pros.
"Men are looking for flexible hours, even if it might mean accepting less money, because they want to spend time with their kids."
In other words, the change seems more generational than economic.
In 1975, a majority of mothers still stayed home with their young children, according to the Labor Bureau.
By 2007, nearly three out of four mothers worked outside the home.
As they entered the job market, women struggled to balance careers with family life. Men faced changes, too.
The average American married man with children now performs 30 percent of all household chores, double what the average husband did in the 1960s.
And men are taking more responsibility for child care.
In 1977, the average father spent just two hours a day with his children.
Now he spends twice that much time with the kids, putting in roughly the same hours as the average mother.
"Men don't see themselves as just the bread-winners anymore, because they're sharing that responsibility with their wives," Baker said.
"Now men want to be a bigger part of their kids' lives, and I think that is driving them into part-time work more than the economy."
The statistics seem to agree, showing that the trend started long before the current recession, according to Labor Bureau archives.
Until the mid-1970s, roughly 8 to 9 percent of men held part-time or temporary jobs, a statistic that had held steady for generations.
Then the numbers began slowly but steadily increasing, crossing 10 percent in the late '90s and reaching 13.2 percent in 2009.
If that doesn't sound dramatic, consider that it represents 4.5 million men - more than the entire population of Oklahoma - moving from full-time to part-time work, a 90 percent increase over the span of just one generation.
"Life is too short to spend all of it at work," said Brett Baker, who gave up his job as a Tulsa firefighter last year to work with his wife at Part-Time Pros.
"I want to be there when my daughter gets out of school. I want to be at the recital. I want to take her to the park."
Technically, Baker works full time and then some, spending up to 60 hours a week on the job. But he sets his own schedule, and that's what more men are wanting.
"It's getting away from that old sitting-at-the-desk, watching-the-clock model of doing business," he says. "You want a job that fits into your life, not the other way around."

1 comment:

ZenTiger said...

He started off with "do I even want a job" and ended with admitting that he works 60 hour weeks, but chooses the hours.

He needs to make money to pay the bills.

It's a small improvement, but not sustainable. I know, it sounds a little like my life :)