Work & Family: Essays from the ""Work & Family"" Column of the Wall Street Journal

Sue Shellenbarger, Author, Wall Street Journal, Author
Sue Shellenbarger, Author, Wall Street Journal, Author Ballantine Books $24 (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-42226-2
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-345-42227-9
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""Nobody on his deathbed ever said, `I wish I'd spent more time at the office.'"" Shellenbarger, who has been writing the ""Work and Family"" column for the Wall Street Journal since 1991, uses this popular quote from Peter Lynch, a former fund manager, to dramatize her concern about the difficulties of balancing work and family life. The theme of how to satisfy competing demands runs through all these thoughtful essays. Working parents will nod with recognition at Shellenbarger's anecdotes, which are drawn both from her own experience as a working mother and from letters she has received from her readers. She provides descriptions of a variety of innovations with which both employers and employees have been experimenting in hopes of easing this problem: e.g., Seattle software maker WRQ's employee-friendly office buildings include breast-feeding rooms for mothers who bring their children to work. Shellenbarger also advises readers to advocate for telecommuting and other family-friendly work arrangements. Of particular interest is the section on how to deal with the demands of caring for aging and ill parents and still hold down a job, an issue that will take on even more importance as the aging population grows. Among the ideas Shellenbarger floats is a proposal that employers relocate the elderly parents of employees to the area where their children live. Like most collections of newspaper columns, this one is notable more for breadth than for depth. These short, sometimes pointed pieces only begin to address the complexities of working families in the postindustrial economy. Author tour. (Apr.)
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