You know how some jobs are for money, and others are a mission?
I do projects for this organisation called Employer Alliance. When I learned more about what this organisation does, I began to appreciate its importance and necessity to Singapore. And it all started by accident when I bumped into the manager while we were both visiting friends in hospital.
Employer Alliance (EA) promotes work-life, specifically to employers. If the term ‘work-life fit’ is still not familiar to you (and amazingly, I realised many Singaporeans still know very little about it!), it is about how to meet the demands of your salaried job while maintaining quality family life, personal health, and hopefully, squeezing in a bit of time for learning.
I feel that contributing to Employer Alliance is more than a job, it is a mission (but of course I accept the money! I need it!). The reason why I am not a nine-to-sixer is because I could not find a Work-Life fit within one corporation. Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to corporate life. I like getting into nice clothes in the morning, sparring verbally with witty colleagues, tackling projects, having a good lunch occasionally on clients’ accounts and, of cos, getting a preset salary at the end of the month, every month!
Just the thot of that last incentive has me drooling. Many people who have monthly fixed salaries GIRO-ed into their bank will not fully understand what I mean. As a freelancer, sometimes I go for months and months without a cheque. I used to drool at people waiting in Deposit queues at bank ATMs, fantasising I am in the queue. Unfortunately, I am always in the withdrawal queue, sigh.
Back to the Work-Life mission. Well, as I worked more with EA, I realised that promoting Work-Life awareness is important if I want other women to not struggle the way I struggled. It is possible to nurture empowered children and build close bonds with them while still maintaining a career, but sometimes working mothers have to make gut-wrenching decisions, like leave a toddler in the childcare centre past 7 o’clock because her boss called an “urgent” meeting at 5 pm and is still going strong 2 hours later.
Sadly, many times, I notice that these working mothers will make a sacrifice. Either they sacrifice their children’s grades (“I have no time to teach them, so I hire expensive tutors, but I just don’t know why my kid is so un-motivated”) or sacrifice the relationship (“After work every day, I tutor my kids until one of us drops from sheer exhaustion.”)
To my surprise, I see many new HR and CEO faces at EA events. Apparently, bosses are not the squeeze-you-dry-then-spit-you-out devils that we portray them to be. Some bosses, what people in the Work-Life business call “enlightened”, know that Work-Life is important for the business case, bother to learn up about different work-life policies, consult with their staff, and commission their HR to tailor-make programs that suits their employee profile. There are more of such enlightened bosses then you know.
Of cos, there are many that are still learning. “What’s flexible work arrangements?” they scratch their heads. “What’s employee support schemes?”
“Well, I throw monthly birthday parties for my staff…” one boss tentatively broaches. “Oh, so this is considered an employee support scheme? So my company is not in the Dark Ages, eh?” he beams.
So I realise that a lot of unjustified blame has been laid on the poor employer’s shoulders. I began to see that a lot, a lot, of times, the employees are the ones who have chosen not to take control of their own schedules and their own lives. I’ll talk more about this tomorrow! Better get back to paid writing now if I want to stand in the Deposits queue this month!