Sometimes my mother stays up late and waits for my brother or I to come home. She is angry that we come home so late. We try to tell her it is because we are studying, at work, or hanging out with women (but of course we never tell her the third)
The concept of a professional job alludes her; a professional exempt job (exempt means you are exempt from the Fair Labors and Standards Act and the employer is not required to pay overtime for hours worked over 40) would definitely be incomprehensible to her. The concept a professionally exempt job though is hard to grasp for many of my friends who are city employees. They speak about how one day they will be at their boss’s job (or worse their boss’s boss job) and yet many of them don’t see themselves at work past the time they are allowed to leave to put in a better quality product.
My mother worked only at hourly jobs in her working life. The only thing she understood was her work day started promptly at 8am or 9am and ended promptly at 4pm-5pm. If her employer required her to stay late they paid her. Daryl White is one of my few friends who has an exempt position so he understands that you don’t leave your workplace until the product is acceptable. Not only is his position exempt, it’s a startup company in the beginning stages. And in jobs like those you work till the job gets done. If you’re very efficient with your time and everything in the company works the way it should then you should be able to get the job done is a reasonable amount of time perhaps 50-60 hours a week. That is never the case.
I remember when I was a management consultant at the Census for Manhattan. Sometimes on my way to work in the morning or on my way home I would stop by the lower Manhattan office and just “check in” and perhaps answer any questions the office had. If I had spent a few hours at work with downtime and something came up at the end of the day I was more than happy to stay late. And sometimes I would put down a few hours a week of overtime if I felt I had put in more than 40. In Between the weeks I worked more than 40 there were many weeks towards the end I worked less than 40 so in the grand scheme of things it kind of worked itself out. Of course in the final weeks of the census when we were just sitting and waiting for the moving trucks I actually contemplated asking my boss to work less than 40 hours and just not being paid for the hours I didn’t work. But I know how he wanted to follow the rules.
My mother also fails to understand that studying college and graduate level courses are difficult, even more difficult when it is accounting, computer science and statistics. My mother also fails to understand that in order to meet that wife that she says I must have with children that I probably have to actually go out meet them and then actually spend time with them which will result in being late home.
And last but not least there are living standards. She can’t fathom that the average one bedroom apartment is approximately $4000 a month in manhattan. She constantly says it is about time we moved out of public housing into a better neighborhood (i.e. a neighborhood with more Asians such as Flushing, Bensonhurst) where we own our property instead of renting. However ever since our rent for a two bedroom went up to $1000 which is almost a 200% increase since 2006 our rent is still considerably less than market. Of course we could probably move to places where the rent is cheaper however usually these neighborhoods are usually ones where my mother would say aren’t her ideal living situation (read living with black or hispanic people).