This manager gets what it means to be flexible with working parents
This past year and a half during the pandemic has felt like a lifetime. Many of us have had to juggle work while homeschooling our kids, caring for parents, and maintaining some semblance of mental health while watching our world change seemingly overnight. One manager took to LinkedIn and absolutely nailed how it’s felt to keep down a job while things are overwhelming in our non-work lives.
Megan Witherspoon, the Vice President of Communications at Altria, wrote about her experience from a manager’s perspective navigating a flexible work schedule with her team and it’s refreshing to know at least some managers out there get it and understand it’s not when you get work done, but that you are doing the best you can.
“I DO care that your daughter is home with yet another ear infection,” she wrote in a now-viral post on LinkedIn. “I DO NOT care that you’ll be offline for 2 hours this afternoon for her doctor’s appointment. I DO care that a bus driver shortage means you don’t have reliable transportation for your son,” she continued. “I DO NOT care if you need to get back to me in an hour after picking him up from school.”
Witherspoon’s post comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has cost women at least $800 billion in lost income in 2020 globally, according to Oxfam. That’s equivalent to “more than the combined GDP of 98 countries.” Women also lost more than 64 million jobs last year, significantly more than their male counterparts as they juggle to balance work and home became too much for many.
“Economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is having a harsher impact on women, who are disproportionately represented in sectors offering low wages, few benefits and the least secure jobs,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International. “Instead of righting that wrong, governments treated women’s jobs as dispensable —and that has come at a cost of at least $800 billion in lost wages for those in formal employment.”
Witherspoon continued, speaking to her team about the importance of maintaining that balance. “I DO care that you desperately need to get out of your house because you’ve been cooped up far too long,” she continued. “I DO NOT care if you’d like to work from the office for a few days, or from Florida for a week.”
Witherspoon also talks about the importance of taking your vacation time because if you don’t, you’ll burn out and won’t be any good for your company or your family.
She concluded her post by reminding her team that, as a manager, she cares about them — both at work and outside of it. “I DO care that you deliver quality work and perform at your best,” she finished her post. “I DO NOT care when, where or how you get your work done.” Amen to that.