Source | blog.penelopetrunk.com
The US is one of the only countries in which working extremely long hours is extremely rewarding. Other countries tax very high income to the point that it’s not worth earning. In those countries, it’s possible to take care of children and have an interesting job. Because even if a job is really interesting, people don’t work very long hours.
In the US there are no good part-time jobs. Jobs that pay solid middle-class wages require at least 50 hours a week. The best jobs go to people whose only focus is work, and those people hire people like themselves. (Remember Marissa Mayer not allowing anyone to work from home?)
So the New York Times maps out for us how college-educated women marry people like themselves, and they have kids, and someone has to take care of the kids, so one person works long hours at the office and one person works long hours with the kids. In marriages between men and women, women choose to stay home. This is not misogyny or feminist backlash. The Atlantic describes this situation as late-stage capitalism forcing us to survive. (I lost the link—it was in the last three months or so. But I’ve been saying it over and over again.)
The math is terrible for continuing to work. You have to get off work early on a snow day. You have to stay home on a sick day. Or you have to pay for high-quality childcare and that will cost as much as you could make doing a job that is 40 hours a week. It’s not worth it. And if you and your partner take time off for kids then neither of you can get to the high-paying jobs.
So here’s the question: By the time a kid is in third grade, almost all college-educated women have left their job—who are the women still at the office even though they have a grade-schooler at home?