In which Dinsdale reveals himself as a sexist bastard

I probably shouldn’t be posting this, because it reflects a side of myself I’m not really proud of. And I put it in the Pit because I think I probably deserve the abuse I’m going to get. But I’m posting this in the hopes that some of the responses help me see things in a different light.

Long story short, my boss just came in and dumped a huge ugly assignment on me. It needs to be done by next Tuesday, and is being reassigned from a woman who is going on maternity leave.

To some extent it always pisses me off to some extent when one of my co-workers gets pregnant, as I know that means I’m going to end up picking up some of their work when they are out of the office on maternity leave. I don’t know that my anger is directed at the woman, or the system that provides for such leave. I also understand that alternatives to the current system are to either exclude women of childbearing age from the workplace, or relegate them to a lower class of employee.

I know pregnancy is defined as a short-term disability, and people say my co-workers would have to cover for me if I had a heart attack. But it seems different to me as I don’t plan on having a heart attacks - not to mention repeated ones. And I don’t recall ever expecting my colleagues to handle my work for me.

I’d appreciate it if anyone might be able to offer any thoughts that might assist me in seeing this differently. Or, if you just wish to heap abuse on my misogynistic head, knock yourself out!

Or set up a system of paternity leave. Then you’d only be prejudiced against parents! :wink:

This is your boss’s fault, unless the co-worker in question is having some kind of complication that’s forcing her to take her maternity leave a month early or something. Maternity leave is a reality, IMHO a reasonable concession to mothers, and any boss with half a brain wouldn’t have had that assignment depending on your co-worker in the first place, if he knew she was going to be leaving within a week or so of this date.

Why would somebody need paternity leave? The father isn’t incapacitated by pregnancy.

In Canada women get a full year of paid maternity leave (albeit at about 60% salary) with their job guaranteed when they come back. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me a little bit that other women who choose to have children get years and years of paid leave from work that I will never get. I’ll get to cover their duties while they’re gone because companies like to “run lean” around these parts (and are forced to by labour shortages), and chances are good I’ll get to cover their duties when they come back to work, too, because mothers are always leaving work early and coming in late and and taking days off for kid-related stuff and talking to their kids on the phone ten times a day.* I don’t care much for all the family-friendly focus that is going on at the expense of the childless-by-choice. Being a parent means being part of the vast majority; it should not be treated like a special condition - it’s the default.

*If you’re a working mom who doesn’t do these things, don’t bother lambasting me. You’re obviously not the people I’ve worked with in the past who have done all of these things regularly.

Yup, OneCentStamp nailed it. I’ve worked with several women who have gone on maternity leave, and in each case, they spent many months beforehand laying careful groundwork that would allow them to leave their positions without screwing over the rest of their teams. That’s what good managers help facilitate.

In this instance, cases are assigned randomly at an early stage. You don’t really know which will turn out to be simple or tough. But this case could have been done at any time this past month. Or, if she knew she wasn’t going to get to it, she could have asked to have it reassigned earlier.

My feelings/experience is that this particular person isn’t really an overly hard worker. And my suspicion is that - at most - as she was preparing to go on leave, she cleared her desk of the easier matters, and didn’t really concern herself that this ugly piece of shit was going to end up on someone else’s desk with relatively short notice.

Because it’s a sea change for parents regardless of sex (actually, because of it – ha ha!). New fathers need the time to bond with their new child, help the mothers who are in need to physical recovery on top of the demands of having a baby in the house, adjust to new sleep schedules, etc. Most take the time off anyway, they just have to eat it as vacation time.

In other countries, people regularly take month-long or longer vacations, and their offices get along OK. What is it about the American workplace that doesn’t accommodate for an absence longer than two weeks?

I agree that this is really your boss’s fault, not the woman’s. Surely the boss knew that maternity leave was coming up, but failed to adequately distribute the work and plan for the absence. IOW, he failed to manage, which is what managers are supposed to do.

Nor is the mother, at least not for the 6 - 12 week duration commonly understood as “maternity leave”

Capitalism :smiley:

Well, somebody doesn’t need paternity leave. But it’s not a bad idea to offer it anyway. Otherwise, you run the risk that essential employees could quit their job and work for you from home on a contract basis, making a hourly rate and doing the same work for more money while spending much more time with their newborn child then they’d otherwise be able to do.

Or, at least, that’s what I did. Had my employer offered a few weeks paid paternity leave, I’d probably have continued to work there for a salary. So it’s not bad business to offer perks that a considerable percentage of your workforce might one day appreciate.

I wasn’t incapacitated by pregnancy, either. I didn’t take maternity leave because I was pregnant…I took it because I had a baby. I believe paternity leave is allowed under the Family Leave Act, actually…but men are probably less inclined to take it, and companies are probably less inclined to pay men for it.

On preview, people have already given better answers than mine. Maternity leave lasts after the birth, so I don’t see why leave shouldn’t be offered to fathers as well as mothers.

It may seem like a pain now, but these kids are going to become the adults who will be paying our Social Security.

The problem is that somebody has to have children to make the adults who will be paying taxes and wiping your bum when you get old. It is not an ideal situation for anyone and it leads to many problems (including a reluctance to hire women of childbearing age). I honsetly think that governments should be the one paying for maternity leave, not companies. They are the ones who want the little citizens, forcing companies to do it just leads to hassles like Dinsdale is experiencing, if she wasn’t being paid by work, work could pay to replace her.

For one, I frankly think a maternity leave is easier on coworkers than the short term disability leave for say, a heart attack. How much would it suck if your coworker was there on Friday, expected to be there on Monday to take care of that big conference, but instead was in the hospital.

Things happen to humans. Illnesses, short and long term, happen, accidents happen. A good work place will have a good mixture of planning and cooperation so that the ‘shit happens’ stuff will not unduley burden others.

I would rather view it as at least it’s a happy reason she’s gone.

I think your resentment is natural, but I’m not sure what the alternative is. Surely we don’t want to discourage women from either working or reproducing. The mechanics of the situation are that some one will have to cover for this woman while she is incapacitated; the fact that she chooses to be incapacitated must be off set by the fact that we as a society have a vested interest in tolerating, if not outright encouraging, this particular incapacitation.

Goose it along for three months and then hand it back to her.

Ok. I misunderstood maternity leave, then. I thought it was for before the baby was born, because after the baby is born, the mother is probably going to leave for a few years to raise it, anyway, right?

I’m afraid to answer this seriously for fear the next post will be “woosh!”

Not by a long shot in many, many cases. That’s not an option for the vast majority of single mothers, and married mothers may be in households that require dual incomes. Or, the mothers just ain’t the stay-at-home type. Or the father will be the one to stay at home. Or what have you.

(I bit the bullet for ya, Jodi.)