Clash of the Titans, aka, Dual Citizenship Responsibilities.

Ok, so many of you may get this by now, but I love entitling all dramatic like.  It’s just how I roll.  And to top things off, this is one of those bleed-over topics that crosses the boundary (HAHA like how I did that?) from boundary issues into self care.

Any of us who are single, footloose and fancy free probably don’t have a problem with this.  Those of us, however, who are working and have family care responsibilities (which, let’s face it, is why many of us are working in the first place) know and understand that we have two titans that at times do battle for priority and that precious resource, our time.  Those titans are responsibilities.  They could also be likened to citizenship loyalties or responsibilities.

The home.  Many of us rate this as one of the highest priorities in our lives, and rightly so.  We have a family, either by choice or birth, or if we are lucky, both.  And we belong to that group, we have that citizenship.  Like membership in any social group, that citizenship carries with it responsibility.  For a group that we call family that responsibility is a heavy load, it is deep, involved and important.  While many of you may not think of it as deep or heavy, that is because it is important to us.  We see it as a central pillar of our existence.  Hell many of us even define ourselves by that citizenship.

The work.  Work responsibilities and demands vary greatly, depending on the job, the hours, the employer and so forth.  Some employers see it as their right to demand whatever they want from their employees.  They see themselves as the entitled owners of those employees.  Some employers see themselves as working a partnership with their employees.  Most fall somewhere along that scale.  As an employee you have certain responsibilities to live up to as membership dues of the citizenry of the nation of employed.  We are expected to be at work on time all the time, we are expected to have our job(s) and projects completed to a minimum competency standard and within the allotted time frame deadline.  But something that is becoming more common in this economy, is that we are expected not to let any other social citizenry responsibilities interfere with those of the nationhood of the employed.

I am sure by now some of you can see where this is going.  I can already see the slow division in opinion of my readership (there probably is only 2 of you, so it shouldn’t be too hard to see).  As I am sure many of you have experienced  (there I go, many of you, sure, like I am important enough for anyone to actually read my ramblings!!) these responsibilities are often at odds.  While the benefits of employee citizenship (for example pay) are important for family citizenship.  The demands are often at odds.  For example, someone with sick family members needs to be available to care for them because that is what they need.  Their sickness or crisis will not conveniently stop and wait for after hours, weekends or stat-holidays ….  And family illness/crisis has a tendency not to respond well to being put on hold till the employer is ok with dealing with it.

These days, what with the economy being what it is, it is an employers’ market.  There are more employees than jobs, and more and more of those employees are steadily becoming more and more desperate, more and more willing to work for less and less if it means they can get the job and undercut the next guy by a margin, however narrow, that gets them the job.  This is marinated in the thought “Anything is better than nothing”.  So is anything really better than nothing?  Or is it a case of “If I cannot meet the minimum basics it makes no difference.”

But for those with a family, I am sure you know that there is only so low you can limbo before meeting the employee obligations no longer provides you with the offsets to meet the minimum basics for your family.  At that point, some becomes just a tantalizing reminder that you don’t have enough.  Why should people sacrifice the responsibilities and needs of their family for employment that does not even provide the base minimum requirements for their family?  Where is the incentive?

And for those currently employed, the essentialness of making a choice to disregard one set of responsibilities to uphold another.  Why?  Why cannot both be upheld?  And why is it that the expectation from employers is that it should always be the family responsibility set that needs be sacrificed?

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~ by scawalrus on June 12, 2012.

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