toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

December 17, 2006

supportive jobs

Patience, 43, is a single mom of two children who turned down a job offer paying a lot more than she's earning now because she places far more value on the support she receives at her present job and believes work is about job survival not job suicide.

"Sure, ask any mom why she's out there working rather than staying home to look after her children," says Patience, "and the bottom line is always money. I work for money to support my kids just like everyone else, but when you're a single mom you've got to do an amazing balancing job. You know, weigh up what's important and what's not, and I knew pretty quickly that I needed a supportive workplace more than I needed more money."

"Without the incentive of money, there would be no 'personal satisfaction', 'status', 'identity' or any of the other reasons we wish to put forward as reasons why we put our children into the care of others and go out to work," says Patience, "and while some single moms work to pay for luxuries to augment a private income, most of us just work to earn money to pay the bills and feed the family."

"I feel sorry for single moms who work primarily for the most money they can get because while understanding this emphasis on money -- some single mothers are in dire financial circumstances -- they often lose a lot more than they gain when they let money guide them."

"I don't earn much money where I work," says Patience, "so I can't afford little luxuries for my children, but I do work in a very supportive environment and when you've got a job like that you get down on your knees and thank God for your good fortune."

"My team is almost exclusively composed of single working moms like myself," confides Patience, "and that makes all the difference because we understand how tough things are taking care of children on our own and we look out for each other. When a kid is sick, there's no problem taking time off work. Someone always covers for us. That's the beauty of teamwork. Nobody's work is so important that a day or a week off work is going to make any difference."

Patience believes that in today's outsourcing economic climate we're lucky to have a job, so if a single mom is in a job that's basically supportive and amenable to her needs as a single working mother -- but is not paying what she thinks she's worth -- she would be very silly to give it up for a job offering better pay.

"I turned down the better paying job because you never know until you're in a job for a few months whether the company practices subtle discrimination against single working moms," explains Patience. "The last thing I need is the stress of finding myself in an unsupportive working environment and having to face another job-change down the line. That's not job survival -- it's job suicide,"

"Single working moms really need to get their priorities right," says Patience. "It may not be fair that you may be stuck in a job that does not pay you according to your worth, but when you have children and especially when it is an employer's market out there you have very little say in the matter."

"There are far too many people in the world looking for work, and there are simply not enough jobs available to employ them," explains Patience. "The laws of supply and demand operate perfectly these days to ensure that those who are willing to work for less monetary reward are the ones who remain in jobs or win those that are available. That's job survival for you."

"And the sad fact of this equation," says Patience," is that women -- especially single working moms -- are very often not paid what they are worth."

"Because of their situation -- in some cases being the sole provider for children -- single working moms have traditionally been offered and have accepted less pay than their male counterparts."

"Notwithstanding laws governing equal pay, some employers still discriminate and there's very little you can do about it."

"If the job is supportive of your parenting responsibilities, then it's wise to wear this discrimination with as much good grace as you can."

"A supportive workplace is worth far, far more than you can ever imagine," says Patience, "and in the case of a single working mothers the grass is never greener."

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