Homeward Bound

Why women are embracing the new domesticity

Should You Feel Like a Failure For Quitting Your Job?

Have you felt judged for opting out of the workplace?

Interesting read of the day: Noah Berlatsky's defense of quitting your job

in The Atlantic. Berlatsky, himself a grad school dropout turned writer, suggests that perhaps we need to stop talking about women leaving the workplace as a "failure," and instead embrace everyone's right to put family over work. As he writes:

I wonder whether women's experiences of quitting—or, for that matter, my experiences of quitting—should be so thoroughly discounted as a retrograde return to "the expectations of the 1950s," as Hewlett puts it. Lots of women have shown, pretty clearly, that if forced to choose between work and family, they'll quit work. Rather than seeing that quitting as false consciousness or failure, maybe we could learn from it that work is not always more important than family, and that quitting, for women or for men, is not a sin.

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I agree with a number of Berlatsky's point, but I think this is a straw man argument: few people actually think quitting work is a "sin," or that work should be more important than family. I think most people are just worried that women are quitting at higher rates than men, often because of sexist or family-unfriendly work policies. Whatever these policies are, we should root them out and fix them. Which is completely consistent with Berlatsky's view that nobody should be called a failure for leaving their job.

 

What do you think? Has anyone left their job and felt like a failure, or been accused of being one?

Emily Matchar is the author of Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity.

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