Secret Parenting - Glass Ceilings and Culture

 A few weeks ago a friend sent me an article entitled “End the Plague of Secret Parenting” by Emily Oster, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

The very general summary of the article is that research shows that women don’t talk about their kids or parenting at work, because they fear unfair judgement from colleagues and managers, that may result in everything from resentment to being passed over for promotions.

The glass ceiling has many layers, and this one holds strong.

I had a lot of feelings and thoughts after reading the article, as a former manager, and someone who spends a lot of time supporting workplaces to build vibrant and thriving cultures I’m mostly just shaking my head. What a loss of opportunity.

You want to make the biggest impact? Create a culture that allows people to bring themselves to the office.

Honestly, I can’t remember a day when I didn’t talk about my kids at work. We are a team of parents (minus one of our team members, who talks plenty about the people important in her life, too). Our work calendars have holds and reminders about how our schedules are interrupted by kid stuff, for instance I can tell you when Chris’s kids might have a dental appointment or when the Milston kids are on field trips. We recap our weekends in detail and I’m sure everyone knows that one of my twin one-year old’s is teething (molars—ay ya ya).

But it’s not like we are talking about our kids all day—I mean, not only would that be kinda boring, but we’ve got work to do. So if you were a fly on our wall, most of the time you would hear us talking about work. Because we take our work seriously, and are all super productive.

And, this, this is what cultivating a positive work place culture looks like – let people be their whole selves at work, and they will work. Really hard. I know, it’s shocking.

Sadly, every work place isn’t like this, and let me tell you, it gives us a competitive edge. So if you are considering bringing more employee centered practices to your culture, give us a shout - we’d be happy to help you with the transition. And if you come by our office, you can check out the pictures of our cute kids!