As a research-based consultant, I’m used to getting my ideas tweaked by new research. After all, I think of myself as a fairly flexible, open guy, so a small adjustment to my theories and ideas is usually illuminating. But unknown to Harvard’s Rosabeth Kanter, she took a Shillelagh, a big club to one of my big ideas. Her blog, Why running a family doesn’t help you run a business, knocked me back on my heels. And I yelled a silent Aaargh!, knowing full well that she was quite correct and I was quite wrong. So there, I admitted it Prof Kanter.
In theory, those years of family work at home could look great on a resume. Consider the skills required: setting priorities, training others, organizing complex logistics and schedules, and using interpersonal sensitivity to handle difficult people problems. Indeed, some advocates have argued that the time women with advanced degrees spend out of the workplace managing a family is valuable experience for managing back in the paid work world.
I agree it is valuable experience — if the paid job one returns to involves managing a handful of people who are vulnerable and can't leave. Otherwise, the operating skills for family manager are nothing like the qualifications for workplace professionals.
Her reasoning and...