Last week, a video about the “World’s Toughest Job” made a big splash on the Internet. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, a fake company called “Rethom” (read it backwards) posted a job listing for a “Director of Operations” position that had some pretty insane requirements:
– Must be able to work 135+ hours a week
– Willingness to forgo any breaks
– Work mostly standing up and/or bending down
– Demonstrate knowledge and experience in negotiating, counseling and culinary arts
– Have an understanding of finance
– Have an understanding of medicine
– Maintain a positive disposition at all times
The position is unpaid, you will be on call 24/7 — and the work will actually increase during the holidays. As Adweek writes, the ad for this position got 2.7 million impressions from paid ad placements, and 24 real-life people actually inquired about this job. On the day of their interview, they got dressed up, were told about the requirements from this job from you know where, and all their reactions were caught on video (which has gone viral in the few short days it’s been out and blogs have applauded it as a tearjerker and amazing). Of course, there’s a big emotional twist.
Turns out (if you haven’t already guessed or watched the video, which was created by Boston ad company Mullen for the greeting card company just in time for Mother’s Day next month) there are billions of people around the world who already have this grueling job. (Spoiler alert!) They’re mothers.
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Critics, however, have attacked the video for being schmaltzy or sidelining the dads who take on this role. Point taken, but perhaps the video struck a chord because it highlights the oft-ignored and thankless labor that women go through.
There are an estimated 85.4 million mothers in the United States, not to mention the millions of fathers and caregivers who also hold this position. Maybe instead of buying a greeting card or just forwarding the link of the video with the message, “I love you, mommy,” we should also do something that would really show how much they are appreciated?
Since mothers work 135+ hours a week, how about improving access and affordability of daycare centers or after school programs?
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Since there’s no vacation, what about increasing maternity leave? American moms take off about 10 weeks on average after giving birth compared to 52 weeks in the United Kingdom.
Since moms need to be medical, culinary and financial experts, what about making sure they actually have the means to keep their families healthy? We’re talking access to adequate health care and leaving welfare, food stamps and WIC programs untouched.
Since the job of motherhood goes unpaid, what about increasing the pay of their day job (or jobs) or closing the wage gap? It’s still 77 cents to every dollar a man earns. For all the talk about “Leaning In,” what about actively promoting more women to top jobs? Maybe then, women could really have it all.