… not more touchy-feely stuff: A rant.
AKA, Job satisfaction does not fund your retirement.
I went to a talk where this woman was talking about the new definition of job satisfaction for women in middle age. First we all filled out a questionnaire with choices between things like “I am focused on success and money in my career” and “I am looking to give back and make a difference with my career.” After we filled them out, the speaker asked who in the room had chosen mostly things on the right vs. on the left side of the scale.
I was the only person in the room full of women who had chosen predominantly the career- and money-focused side, and not the interpersonal and personal-satisfaction side. The side that only I chose was apparently the “male” side and the other side was the one that women chose more. (N.B.: I am a woman.)
Throughout her talk, she was trying to make a point that women who quit high-powered careers are, more and more, quitting to start their own businesses, which is actually a form of success, not failure.
Um. Not quite.
Women can afford to quit their career and start their own business because their husbands make more than they do. Most new businesses fail. Even the ones that succeed have a multi-year process of being in the red and during that time, women aren’t funding their retirement.
Many women don’t have careers at all, only jobs, because of time off for childbearing. Or they work in areas where there is no opportunity for advancement, because those jobs let them stay home with kids. The pay disparities between White and Latino/a or Black workers is even worse.
Women need MORE MONEY, not more job satisfaction. I mean, job satisfaction is nice. But I was the only one in the room who raised the point that focusing on feeling self-fulfilled might actually HARM women if they are willing to take low pay in return.
SHOW ME THE MONEY, you data-massaging speaker!
(Surprisingly, this post NOT written by the PF half of us.)
#2 comments: In econ they call the things that make your job suck or sing “compensating differentials.” If your job sucks, you have to be compensated for it. If your job is awesome, then you’ll get paid next to nothing, all other things being equal. Now, there’s definitely a problem that standard economic theory cannot explain when it comes to male-dominated and female-dominated jobs. Female-dominated jobs are under-compensated compared to male-dominated. Social work is extremely difficult, has high burn-out rates, requires an advanced degree, and yet pays next to nothing. That should not be in a standard competitive framework equilibrium. Economists need sociologists to theorize about why this is, because it is very difficult to figure out unless we posit that women have different tastes on average or women do not have the same options as men for structural reasons (e.g. some type of discrimination). And both of those are black boxes for the economist.
#1’s post fits nicely with a recent post from Worst Prof Ever about how employers use “feeling needed” to pay women less (whereas in a rational world, that would lead to paying more, as they do for men). IBTP. And I want more money.