Rachael Ellison“I was done fighting a system that was felt like it was fighting me.”

The week I spoke out about what “leaning in” actually looks like for working parents like you. It resonated with a lot of people. My article, When Having Kids Doesn’t Work for Your Employer, was liked, shared and tweeted by thousands and I was interviewed about it on Huffington Post live.

I asked readers for their take: “Is your company really family friendly? Anything but? Beyond good policies for leave and flexibility, what makes a company family friendly?”

So far, I have gotten more than 75 long-form responses from across the US, Canada and Mexico.  These working parents represent a diverse sample of organizations from small businesses, to Fortune 100s, to tech start ups.  Their stories covered the good the bad and the ugly.

“I am so thankful for all that my work has done for me.  I was able to create a position for myself that allowed me to have a flexible schedule…they have built a lactation room for me…”

“The “convenient” refrigerator in the room where I could keep my pump parts was full of animal bodies waiting for necropsy.  At the bottom of the fridge where I kept my milk was a pool of bloody sludge. Sometimes (while I pumped) there would be a dog drugged on the floor, or cats laid out while the euthanasia drug finished coursing through their circulatory system.”

This one really got to me.

“I left the workforce because I was done fighting a system that felt like it was fighting me.”

That’s why I see so many brilliant and talented women and men pushed out of the workforce. They are tired of fighting a broken system.

How many times have you felt like the system was working against you? If your company provides family friendly policies, they don’t want you to feel trapped in an unsupportive dynamic. We absolutely need more companies to adopt policies that meet the needs of today’s workforce but there is a real gap between family friendly policy and practice. It’s time to bridge it.

A version of this post appeared on rachaelellison.com.


ABOUT RACHAEL: Rachael Ellison is an executive coach, organizational-development consultant and work-life advocate. In 2009, she co-authored an internationally distributed paper on work life best practices: “Better Work, Better Life.” The paper launched a campaign to improve work life practices in 100 non-profit organizations.

Since establishing Reworking Parents, she has coached hundreds of mid- and senior-level executives through the transition to working parenthood. Rachael’s coaching sessions, facilitated groups, toolkits, and workshops have yielded measurable results for hundreds of clients across the US and abroad. She is a noted columnist and speaker on the role of work–life programs in organizational development. Her writing has been featured in Forbes, Smartbrief Workforce, and Monsterthinking and she has been repeatedly cited as one of the top work-life experts on Twitter. http://www.rachaelellison.com/