Putting Work in Its Place
A Quiet Revolution
Most books on the subject of work focus on the increased amount of time Americans spend on the job. Peter Meiksins and Peter Whalley address the counter-trend, examining the difficult path traversed by people who choose to work less than the standard, forty-hour week. Their fascinating investigation of alternative work arrangements speaks directly to the concerns of all workers who must balance career with other commitments.
Through interviews with technical professionals from a wide range of employment settings, Putting Work in Its Place refutes the popular myth of the customized work schedule as inevitably a "mommy-track" or a return to traditionalism among women. Most of these workers—male and female, young and old—remain strongly committed to their jobs, but wish to combine work with other activities they value just as highly. This can mean family for some, but for others encompasses community service or various avocations.
By viewing their work arrangements in the longer term, and not as short-term expedients, these professionals are challenging the accepted view of time requirements for careers in organizations. They are also helping to shape a new agenda for the future of the workplace: to transform their individual successes into a normal practice of customized work time.