The above title is a fact. It does not mean that Mrs. Romney hasn’t worked hard to raise a family. But working hard to raise a family can not be compared to experiencing the work-a-day world up close and personal. In fact, both Mitt Romney and Mrs. Romney are shockingly inexperienced and tone-deaf to the issues that those who live in the work-a-day world discuss at their kitchen tables.
The Wealthy Perceive the World As Fair & Square - Perception Is Their Reality:
Full confession here: I was raised in a wealthy family. Nothing approaching the Romney’s or any of the super-rich that define wealth in the 21st century - but fears about financial security were notably absent. My Grandfather was a CEO, my father was a lawyer and we all lived very, very well.
My mother worked and had a career prior to her marriage, she did so in the freelance world and did not have to take every job that came her way. After she married, she lived a life not unlike Ann Romney’s. And like Ann Romney, she saw the world of business and work as a decent place where people were reasonable and advancement was based on a meritocracy. During my teen years, our situation gradually changed but I didn’t have to face the work-a-day world until I was almost 20. And I confess that I was totally unprepared for how capricious and unfair it could be. And my late mother, learned vicariously through me, that her vision of the world of work was flawed. You have to experience it to “get it”.
When Reality Bites Perceptions Change:
Do a good job, work hard, and you get rewarded….Yeah, right - that works so well. ”You snooze, you lose” should be changed to “Schmooz or be prepared to lose”. A meritocracy the working world is NOT. Even in the late 80s, there was the matter of unpaid overtime. They expected you to work 10 hours but would pay for 7. If you didn’t agree - you were labeled a “clock watcher”. Weekends??? You’ve got to be kidding me - weekends are for clearing up the work you couldn’t finish in the 50-60 hours you worked during the week. After all - you don’t want people to think you weren’t a “team player”. I soon learned to count myself lucky to get one full day off in a week. I generally got a full day once in two weeks. In the 1990s with a master’s degree under my belt, I was making an awesome $26,000 for 60-70 hours or work a week in New York City. I worked in a setting where being “salaried” was a euphemism for being responsible for far more than anyone could accomplish in a paid 40 hour week.
Experience Is A Hard Teacher:
Has Ann Romney faced coming home exhausted after being underpaid and overworked, only to have to leave and start all over again 8 hours after she got in? Has she ever experienced having two hours of her 7 hours pay sucked up in commuting costs? Has she ever had to juggle the needs of her family with the fear of losing her job? Has she ever been yelled at and come near to being fired for not accomplishing something that was not physically possible in the first place? Has she ever experienced a boss that screamed at her to do one thing - that she knew made no sense - only to nearly get canned for doing as she was told later? Did she work for YEARS on a higher degree hoping it was a ticket to a more lucrative job only to find after years of work and expense that said career had been downsized and outsourced? Has she ever worried that her electricity would be cut off because the cost of living keeps going up while pay stays flat or decreases? Has she been forced to sell her home because of a lay off?
The answer to all the above is a decisive “NO!”
The World of Work Takes No Prisoners:
The world of work has morphed over the past thirty years into a distorted mess where rewards are meted out to some of the least worthy while those who have spent years gaining hard skills in technical fields are being fired just as they were about to reap the rewards of years of education and experience. All the while the “suits” grab all there is with both arms. Like Sylvia Plath’s “Bell Jar” the work-a-day world is a place where distortion and disingenuousness win over fact and fidelity. Its like a fun house with smoke and mirrors, getting out with your sanity and finances intact is part luck, part shrewdness and a dash of ruthlessness also helps.
The fact that Ann Romney worked hard to raise five children isn’t the issue. It shouldn’t be the issue to stay-at-home Moms or to those in the work-a-day world who are balancing family and work. What is relevant is that she hasn’t a clue about the world of work. This is not an evil distortion of women’s values on the part of Ann Romney. She simply can’t understand what she doesn’t know.
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