|CAREERS AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Duplicate and distribute
these activities. Students may work independently or cooperatively.
Make the Rules
Families are not the only ones who face tough choices involving balancing
priorities. Companies such as First Tennessee Bank also must balance
productivity with worker happiness. Imagine you have become a manager
of a large organization. It’s up to you to set rules for permitted or
unpermitted absences, sick leave, vacation, unpaid leave, telecommuting,
and flexible schedules. The heads of the organization have told you
that their main concerns are to have employees be as productive as possible,
and to obey federal and state regulations.
• Work alone
or with a partner to draft company policies for these issues. For each
rule you set, be prepared to explain why it is fair and how it will
contribute to productivity. Check out the government’s Family and Medical
Leave Act online (http://www.dol.gov/dol/esa/fmla.htm)
to make sure that your rules fall into legal guidelines. Then, browse
and Family" section of the Livelyhood Web site (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html),
which lists groups that are doing research or advocating for work/family
• Obtain a copy
of an actual company’s employment policies. To do this, you might
use a search engine, http://www.hoovers.com,
or http://www.wetfeet.com to find an
interesting company. Visit that company’s Web select an option that
you suspect will lead to information about the company’s benefits
(Be a detective! You may have to hunt around to find the job information,
but this is a good skill to have for the job search). Compare your
policies with those of that company.
Benefits and Protection" section lists sites describing 401K,
Cobra, and healthcare benefits for workers, which may give you ideas,
and the "Gender
and the Workplace" section lists groups that are trying to make
workplace policy more friendly to women and work/family issues through
legislation, lobbying, or education. Both these sections are on the resource
• List areas
in which that company should consider amending their policies to meet
the needs of its employees better, while also keeping in mind the goal
of high productivity.
• How might a
company benefit from creating employee-friendly programs? List some
payoffs a company might receive from instituting employee-friendly policies.
In Segment 5, Rosie Marchiano finds that telecommuting offers her an
acceptable balance between work and family. Though there are varying
definitions of telecommuting, it can be defined generally as "working
from home." "Telework" involves "remote working"
– doing work from an alternative site that is not the main workplace
building. Two Web sites that can help you learn a great deal about telecommuting
and telework are Gil Gordon’sTelecommuting site
and The International Telework Association and Council (http://www.telecommute.org/).
What if you could
telecommute to school? Would you try it? What might you gain? What would
you miss out on? How would telecommuting to school prepare you for modern-day
work? Use your imagination to complete one of these activities:
• After your
online research and creative thinking, write about a day in your life
as a student telecommuter.
• Create a
chart in which you list benefits and drawbacks of student telecommuting.
in a debate on whether telecommuting should be offered as an option
at your school.
Then discuss what
it would be like to telecommute to work. Which benefits and which drawbacks
would be the same as the ones you identified above? Which would be different?
Why might telecommuting be better for work than for school?
• Find an employer
in your area who encourages telecommuting. Ask what the costs and
benefits are, what the transition to a "virtual" workplace
is like, and what lessons the company and the employees have learned
Gender and Work
How have changes in traditional gender roles transformed Americans’
work and family lives? Think about how gender and work interrelate,
beginning with a focus on your own family:
• What kinds
of work have women in your family done? How has this changed from
generation to generation?
Create a chart,
a time line, or an oral history of the work history of women in your
family. Then have a discussion about the complexities of gender and
work, asking questions such as these:
• What are common
perceptions of a stay-at-home dad? a stay-at-home mom? If they are different,
why do you think this is so? Use your own experience to answer these
questions, or check out some of the ‘stay-at-home mom or dad newsgroups
accessible through Livelyhood’s list of "Work
and Family" Web sites on the resources page (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html).
• David Maxson
believes he experiences gender prejudice in his job as a childcare
worker. Do you think it is fair for people to regard men as less suited
than women for this job? Why or why not? What other instances of gender
prejudice related to particular kinds of work are you aware of?
• Is there
still a wage differential between men and women? If so, why would
it still exist? Do you feel anything should be done about this? Why
or why not?
You can find some
useful statistics on this topic at the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s
Bureau Web site.(http://www.dol.gov/dol/wb/public/wbpubs/wagegap2.htm)
For help thinking
about "Gender in the Workplace," or "Wages
in the U.S." visit those lists of sites on the Livelyhood resource
You may want to
use what you learn to write an opinion piece on the subject of gender
equality in the workplace, and submit it to your local newspaper.