Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Friday Links

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Photograph by Justin Bishop for Vanity Fair.

Here are a few things from around the web that may interest you:

Damn, this article, about dating sites and the hookup culture, gave me the serious sads.

Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago; by 2012 it was overtaking online dating. In February, one study reported there were nearly 100 million people—perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone—using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they’d find a cheap flight to Florida. “It’s like ordering Seamless,” says Dan, the investment banker, referring to the online food-delivery service. “But you’re ordering a person.”

Related: “A Millennial’s Guide to Kissing”

After 40 years, Kermit and Miss Piggy have called it quits. Is there any hope for the rest of us??

Are you attracted to guys you think need your help?

How cute — this bride asked her 80-year-old Grandma to be her bridesmaid.

“Netflix will offer unlimited paid parental leave,” which is great, of course, but it’s too bad we live in a society where this is newsworthy.

There is an art to expressing condolences and sympathy, and this post is super helpful in providing tips for perfecting that art and connecting to people at a time when personal connections are among what they need most.

I love this article about how to vacation like it’s 1999. Spoiler: turn your phone on airport mode and leave it there. Facebook — and your email inbox — will still be there in a few days. (And what does it say about me that even the thought of not checking my email for a few days makes me a little panicky??).

Speaking of red flags (and I’m so glad we can laugh about out experiences; we are laughing, right?): “Date Invites Woman Upstairs To Check Out Red Flags”

Amen, Kate Mara:

When a regular person in an appropriate interaction says something genuine and kind to another regular person, I promise you, the exchange tends to go just fine. It happens all the time! Men and women actually say pleasant things to each other without incident. But if you’re the sort of person who regularly has to say things like, “What? I was just being nice,” you may find that surprising. So let me explain: Normal behavior doesn’t come with a subtext of hostility, or an expectation that the other person has to conform to your standards. It doesn’t suggest that another person, walking around, perhaps using her beautiful toes in the process, is there for your gratification or displeasure.

Thank you to those who submitted links for me to include. If you see something around the web you think DW readers would appreciate, please send me a link to wendy@dearwendy.com and, if it’s a fit, I’ll include it in Friday’s round-up. Thanks!

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

103 comments… add one
  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 12:48 pm

    Eh… UNLIMITED PAID FAMILY LEAVE? Sorry, but to jaded ole me — that just sounds like yet another way we single and childless people would have to subsidize all you baby makers who have already created a world vastly overpopulated… Not something I am exactly looking to do considering how many tax breaks you ALREADY get for simply being to daft to properly use birth control…
    .
    Look, here’s a concept. You want kids? Pay for it and plan accordingly. Somehow, I suspect nobody would be gleefully smiling over my dream headline of NETFLIX OFFERS AGING, BITTER GAY OR SINGLE EMPLOYEES UNLIMITED PAID BALI VACATION LEAVE… Honestly, I am not sure how me wanting that is any more selfish than wanting other people to subsidize you having a family. I mean, hey, at least my extended leave wouldn’t wantonly contribute to the world’s bloated overpopulation of idiots… 😉

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      booknerd August 7, 2015, 1:09 pm

      It’s “unlimited” for the first year after a baby is born or a child adopted.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 1:22 pm

        Well, I’d probably ONLY need a year in Bali, too. My point remains the same. Sorry, but we don’t live in a world where having a child is some noble, self sacrifices thing people do as we are dying out at a species. More often than not people have KIDS simply because they want to. (Or as I said earlier, they are too dim to properly figure out birth control.) Sorry, but I simply don’t see why other workers should subsidize that any more than I realistically expect others to toil away for my year long Bali Vacation Extravaganza…

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        LT August 7, 2015, 4:02 pm

        This is one of those “everyone should have the same rights” things, and I totally agree that this policy should cover lots of types of medical and family leave that would be available to a wider range of people than just new parents (taking care of elderly parents and extensive time off for a Balian shark bite should also be covered by a policy like this).

        You lose me (a person without kids) when you compare kids to a vacation. It is not comparable to going to Bali, even though you see it as an extravagant expense, because it’s not a vacation. Most parents, particularly the primary caregiver, don’t really feel like themselves or comfortable back at work for many months, and work might be better off without them in many ways. There is also the issue of breastfeeding to take into account.

        Thinking of this as a zero-sum game, where workers are competing for tiny slices of a shitty pie, is where you’re getting things wrong. We should be demanding a much bigger, better pie, where people who want to be parents can get their leave, but you can also get your Bali trip for at least a month every year (note: European businesses have this as their norm).

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 10:15 pm

        All this is irrelevant though. How does it matter if being a stay at home parent is stressful? Look, at the end of the — it’s STILL paid time off to do something that they (parents) apparently VERY much want to do. Nobody is holding a gun to any of their heads and forcing them to have babies… Honestly? I still simply don’t get why it falls on the shoulders of businesses to subsidize their employees having kids… I just don’t. I also don’t HONESTLY expect any place of employment to pay me for twelve months straight so I can go find shells on the distant shores of Bali…
        .
        That said — you are right that we should all look to make the US follow European vacation models. That I fully support.

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      Kate August 7, 2015, 1:30 pm

      Yeah, I don’t know about this Netflix policy. I do think it’d be great if moms and dads were given 3 months’ paid leave and the security of still having their job when they come back. And if they want to take more, then they need to use their savings, and if they want to take like, 6 months or a year, ok, but their same job may not necessarily be waiting for them when they get back. A whole year, paid, seems excessive. How is a company going to be staffed in a way that makes that possible? Either other employees are going to get screwed (I’m bitter right now for that reason – doing literally two jobs) by having to cover for people, or they’ll have to be overstaffed to account for people taking a year off, and that puts other people’s jobs in a less secure place. And then what about the very real possibility that the person never comes back, after getting a year’s salary and benefits? It just doesn’t seem realistic or sustainable. Plus I’m kind of with Mark, I don’t get to take a mental health year with full pay!

      Maybe I’m missing something though?

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        ktfran August 7, 2015, 1:47 pm

        I’m totally on the fence about this, and I 100% understand what Mark is saying…
        .
        I don’t really know the answer, but I do know at my brother-in-law’s old company, they could take paid sabbaticals. I’m not sure how long it was… but it would almost be better if they offered three month sabbaticals to all employees and those who want to procreate could use it for that. Like, if you work there a year, you get one. Then maybe somehow accumulate them. Of course, this is the first time I ever thought of such a thing, but I was just trying to figure a solution that might be more fair.

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        jlyfsh August 7, 2015, 1:54 pm

        I think the reason people get touchy about this in general is that people in the US get very little leave in general. If people across the board felt better compensated and like they were given enough vacation time I don’t think this would be an issue.

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        SpaceySteph August 7, 2015, 2:11 pm

        I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Everyone is overworked in the US and everyone feels in need of a vacation. So they hate the idea of someone else getting time off (haha, as if caring for an infant and recovering from childbirth is time “off”) that they can’t have.
        If you work at a company like Netflix that already has a generous leave policy, it probably doesn’t bother you to see other employees get a similarly generous arrangement.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 2:16 pm

        Exactly.

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 2:21 pm

        Maybe… but I get 4 weeks now (would have gotten 5 if we hadn’t been acquired), which is totally enough vacation. I go on several trips a year. So I’m not bitter about that. For me it’s more the having to do two completely different jobs. The person I’m covering for is not a peer, she does something absolutely different. The company had no maternity plan for her, which is why I’m skeptical that Netflix totally has this all covered and thought through. A couple of other people are covering parts of this woman’s job and they’re not doing shit unless they absolutely have to, so those clients are suffering and our company isn’t making the money it could if those people were actively working her accounts. I’m actually putting a lot of effort into it because I want her job. But it sucks. I’m bitter.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 2:37 pm

        Wow, sounds like your company is the problem, not the actual leave policy. In mine, when anyone went on an extended leave or sabbatical, medical, or otherwise , we either hired a temp, an assistant stepped up into the role, or we outsourced from other regions in the company. Temps often were hired on afterwards, inevitably another position would be open, and somehow the world kept turning. Crazy, right?

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 2:42 pm

        A temp or admin couldn’t do this job. It’s selling complicated technology solutions to other companies (like Coke, Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, etc.). So it requires someone who knows sales (maybe there are temps that can do that?) but also someone who knows the products, and unfortunately it takes new hires months to get up to speed on the products and solutions to be able to sell them effectively, so hiring a temp would be counterproductive.

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        SpaceySteph August 7, 2015, 2:38 pm

        I agree that it can suck when you have to pick up the slack for a coworker who is out. But the same could have happened if someone had a major accident and had to go on disability while they recovered. It would still suck then, right? But you wouldn’t be as bitter because that person didn’t choose to ride a motorcycle under a semi but they did choose to get pregnant– just a sign of how our culture treats parenthood.
        Anyways, consider this: maybe that person who you’re covering for will decide 12 weeks wasn’t long enough with her child, and will quit. Then you will have to keep doing her job and your job, while also training someone new to take her place. But if your company had a policy like netflix, maybe she’d come back at a reduced level or come back full time knowing she had the flexibility to take off again every now and then to take care of her child.

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 2:53 pm

        She’s trying to take 6 months and then come back part time. Maybe they’ll let her. And you’re right, I would not be (as) bitter at the company in the scenario you mentioned. They knew this woman was pregnant back in January and had plenty of time to plan and figure out who was going to cover and how all of that was going to work, and they just didn’t do it. If she got hit by a bus, I would expect it to take them longer to figure it out because they had no warning. I kind of suspect Netflix is just as fucked up, but I can’t say for sure.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne August 7, 2015, 3:25 pm

        The person you’re covering for also doesn’t do her job when she IS there…so there’s that, too.

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        LT August 7, 2015, 4:03 pm

        But, don’t you see, it’s the *manager’s* fault that you have to cover. That should not be your job- there should be some sort of temp. In the teaching field, they hire long-term subs for teachers that need leave, and that should really be how it works everywhere. It’s a great way to get younger people jobs and get your foot in the door, as well.

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 4:10 pm

        LT, I said already that temps can’t cover skilled tech jobs in many cases.

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        jlyfsh August 7, 2015, 2:22 pm

        Exactly and I don’t view it as time ‘off’ either. But, the same goes for sick leave at a lot of places. Where my husband works has a terrible sick leave policy that basically forces people to either work without pay or come in sick. I’m sure you know which one the majority of people choose! They have a terrible maternity/paternity leave policy. Versus I am lucky I have a pretty great vacation package and sick leave policy and feel like I can take off whenever. Sadly our paternity/maternity leave isn’t better than his work but I would view it as another great perk for where I work if they increased it.

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 1:51 pm

        Another thing: At tech companies, things change SO fast. If you’re gone a year, someone is basically going to have to re-train you when you get back. When I think back on my last 9 years at a tech company, at any given point in time things are ridiculously different than they were a year ago because we’re always launching new products and changing procedures. Is the company accounting for that training in their plans?
        .
        And, traditionally when you go on leave, the person covering for you of course has their own job to do too and they’re basically babysitting yours and giving it the minimum effort. (Unless they WANT your job, in which case they’re gonna muscle in and take it). So that job isn’t getting done particularly well. That may be ok for 2 or 3 months, but a YEAR? That’s not good for business.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 2:57 pm

        This happened in my situation. I did “Sally’s” job at the bare minimum. Not because I was bitter, but it was simply all that time would allow. Her job was extremely tedious in that it had to be done with great precision. There was no real way to BREEZE through her mandatory tasks super fast. Sadly, this meant that my own job also got done at a bare minimum… And I was still putting in an extra ten or so hours or so a week. It was VERY frustrating as I was constantly under the gun on things and it wasn’t that I was lazy, it was that I was literally trying to cram 80 hours worth of work into 50. For which I was still payed for only 40. Honestly, it was amazing I did things as well as I did… I doubt anybody else there could have done both jobs. And I never made an error in her work, either. Which was always a HUGE bit of drama as it involved what went our over the “airwaves” of the cable network. Any error was a programming error and was ALWAYS caught as it was put out onto the broadcast feed.

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        LT August 7, 2015, 4:05 pm

        “The person covering you has their own job to do.”

        This is such a huge problem- they need to hire someone to cover for the person taking leave, not just expect other employees to do double the work. That is a company problem, NOT a person-on-leave problem.

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 4:09 pm

        Well they’re not gonna make money that way. They can’t hire someone to cover for an employee’s temporary leave and then keep them on staff. Who has the budget for that? And a temp can’t cover a lot of these specialized jobs. And keeping a fat workforce in general puts everyone at risk for layoffs. Of course employees cover other employees’ leave, that’s how it works.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 1:52 pm

        Wow. I’m shocked that an awesome policy from a company that obviously values their employees, their happiness and loyalty is getting negative remarks. I’m sure Netflix has crunched all the numbers and worked out how they can afford to do this. I’m sure it’s not at the cost of their non-breeding employees’ happiness.
        You want maternity benefits? Have a kid. Some companies in this country are actually forward thinking and slowly creeping up to offering benefits workers get in every other country in the world (usually from their actual government.) I think it’s great. I don’t even work for Google or Netflix, nor am I whining that someone else gets something better than I do.

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        ktfran August 7, 2015, 1:55 pm

        If you read what I wrote, I actually am not dissing Netflix, and I do think most companies need better policies. At the same time, I do understand what BGM is saying and I think there could be a way to find a balance.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 1:56 pm

        I didn’t mean to specifically reply to your post.

        But balance? In what way, balance? A leave for whiny have-nots? I’m sorry, but Netflix is a growing, smart company. They care about their employees….I’m not seeing the negative.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 2:09 pm

        Clearly, Booknerd, you’ve NEVER had to pick up the slack for somebody (in other words do TWO jobs) just so they can run off an have a baby and play crappy family. Trust me — some one who has — it’s more than just a wee bit annoying… And then, after all that… the new parents come back whiney, sleep deprived, and constantly complaining about how much they miss their kid… Whatever. It’s all very irritating. And if you can’t see that, well, then I guess you just have never experienced it.
        .
        PS. While, I admire their vacation policy, I see nothing about being granted A YEAR OFF PAID to go on vacation… Instead, it was all about having four weeks. Which while, nice, is an entirely different thing.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 2:22 pm

        BGM, you have no idea what my career has entailed. Some of us actually like stepping up to the plate and moving up in our careers when someone goes on leave. I can only speak for myself, but maybe parents just innately have the ability to do two or more people’s jobs at once without crumbling under the pressure…You don’t like your job? Quit. Being jealous a company has a family leave that most people have around the world is especially bitter. I’m sorry you hate kids, families, babies, and everything else, but CLEARLY Netflix does not. I’m sorry your job doesn’t pay for you to take a year off for vacation. That truly sounds terrible.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 2:33 pm

        Oh, shut the fuck up. Some of us didn’t get to “advance in our careers by helping out” — instead, we just got saddled with more and more busy work. I was actually, HIGHER in rank than the person who was on leave and thus “knew” how to do it as I’d already done it before… I didn’t crumble under the pressure, but I was less than thrilled about the workload — and frankly, didn’t get much compensation in it other than a, gee whiz, thanks! Anyway, this was long, long ago. THAT company folded.
        .
        I’m NOT jealous of Netflix. Instead, I am merely suggesting that NOT everyone is so on board with such a policy as it come at the expense of them. And newsflash! It most often certainly does.
        .
        PS — Stop being so holier than thou. Parents can’t innately do anything better than non-parents except falsely crow about themselves — oh, and maybe find potty training talk endlessly fascinating… Who are you trying to be, the new LBH? 😉

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 3:34 pm

        Boo fucking hoo. Your insults are hilarious, in that you have to stoop to that and that you believe anyone actually gives a shit what vitriol you type. NEWSFLASH! I personally don’t. You are a bitter, angry man, and I’m not. Life is good. Enjoy, BGM. Here’s hoping you get that year long trip in Bali. It sounds like you really need it.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 3:46 pm

        Um, hello. You started with the personal attacks, sweetie. God, maybe you ARE lbh….

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 3:49 pm

        Updated because BGM’s insults are tired and boring.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 3:50 pm

        Updated to what? Be more petty? More personal? Classy. Really classy. You give books everywhere a bad name.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny August 7, 2015, 7:38 pm

        Actually people do. And it’s not always vitriol either. He’s even getting more thumbs up than you!

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        Cleopatra Jones August 7, 2015, 3:33 pm

        I think the issue isn’t the generous leave policy but that the generous leave policy isn’t extended to everyone at the company. The reality is that some people can’t or don’t want to have kids so they they are receiving considerably less leave than those people with children.
        .
        That means right off of the bat, some people are going to be excluded from enjoying the benefit. I’d be more impressed if Netflix said, ‘We are giving all employees 3 months vacation to use as they wish.’ instead of ‘here’s a leave policy specifically aimed at people having children’.
        .
        Which if you think about it is sublimely reinforcing 1) the sanctity of heterosexuality & hetero-normative marriage 2) that every married couple/ serious couple should have kids 3) that having kids somehow validates you (I’d definitely like to see the stats on how many men take advantage of the policy)

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        SpaceySteph August 7, 2015, 3:37 pm

        Did you not read the article either? Or the rest of this thread? Netflix already offers unlimited vacation and sick leave to their employees.
        Also, not only hetero couples have babies. Some companies (like mine) extend parental leave to adoptive parents as well, so it could be an even wider net.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 3:40 pm

        And netflix’s policy is for adoption as well.

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        LT August 7, 2015, 4:07 pm

        Exactly- I doubt that any company with generous parental leave policies has a terrible vacation or sick leave policy.

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      • mylaray

        mylaray August 7, 2015, 6:03 pm

        And I’m sure they also offer an adoption credit.

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      SpaceySteph August 7, 2015, 1:52 pm

      If you read the article, you will see that Netflix already offered unlimited paid vacation and unlimited sick time. So all this really adds is the flexible work schedule/part time allowances for post-baby. You should probably at least read the article before griping about it.
      Here’s another article about Netflix’s (lack of) vacation policy: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-04-12/how-to-set-your-employees-free-reed-hastings

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 1:53 pm

        Thank you!

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 1:55 pm

        I did read the article, but missed that part. I still don’t get it though, unless somehow their company culture is such that there’s no way people can actually take much vacation or sick time or parental leave. How else could it be cost-effective?

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        SpaceySteph August 7, 2015, 2:22 pm

        The article Wendy linked says it in the second paragraph:
        “The California-based streaming service already has an unlimited time-off policy for vacation and sick days but did not specify what its current parental leave policy is.”

        The other article I linked does talk about there being an expectation that you get your work done, and that they already didn’t log hours worked so they similarly don’t log hours not worked. I would bet that there is still a limit to the “unlimited” but that its more flexible than the norm.

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      • Lady_Red

        Red_Lady August 7, 2015, 2:38 pm

        I heard that Netflix employees actually end up taking less vacation time. I mean, of course if you go on vacation all the time and don’t get your job done, you’ll get fired. But having to determine the balance of work/vacation yourself, people are likely to err on the side of work more. The worry is that the same mindset will occur with the family leave, since new parents might want to prove that their new family won’t interfere with their work.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 2:41 pm

        Hilarious. Netflix for the win as they look great on paper — but actually, make their employees work even harder. Republicans everywhere shall rejoice!

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 2:44 pm

        Exactly, that’s what I was saying too. These policies make the company look great, but really no one is going to be able to take advantage of them and keep their job.

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        SpaceySteph August 7, 2015, 2:50 pm

        I’m not sure how it’s possible to get that data when the bloomberg article I linked above says they dont keep track of hours worked.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 3:57 pm

        I don’t know, I think I would’ve taken advantage of some of the leave, maybe only working a few days a week… Or maybe six months off…and then would’ve gone back full time, whatever I needed to get he job done and balance my family life, but instead I quit my position after my leave and now am sort of an on call temp/emergency fill in working very sporadically by choice.

        Three months is not enough with a newborn, in my opinion, and childcare is expensive and it’s really hard to leave a three month old in the care of someone else, or at least it was not a possibility for me. I chose my baby over my job, and I’m lucky that our family can afford that, but I would have liked to be able to keep the job. I like working, and I loved my job. I miss my job. Cup of Jo’s Parenting around the Globe series highlights how other countries do it, and I don’t think there’s really been one yet with a more abysmal policy than the U.S.

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        Anonymous August 7, 2015, 3:49 pm

        Yeah I don’t agree with an unlimited vacation policy at all. I have to imagine very few, if any, employees take advantage of it because people would be giving side-eye. My company has a very generous PTO policy. I get 6 weeks and NEVER take them all.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny August 7, 2015, 7:43 pm

        Here’s another article about the child-leave policy on Slate- gives an interesting point: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/08/04/netflix_unlimited_parental_leave_it_s_nice_and_also_a_terrible_idea.html

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    • FireStar

      Firestar August 7, 2015, 2:00 pm

      A year is the law in Canada. Some employers pay fully during that time otherwise the unemployment insurance you pay into kicks in so you have income. No problems with the labour force. As an employer I would hire someone on contract for that time. Works beautifully. We think what the US does is practically barbaric.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 2:26 pm

        The most barbaric thing in our sometimes very backwards country is as soon as one group, company, gender, whatever gets handed a bone, all the other groups need to attack it because they don’t get the cookie. It’s really sad.

        If you don’t like your companies vacation leave, quit. If you don’t like that you have to fill in for someone else while they are on leave, quit.

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        Kate August 7, 2015, 2:36 pm

        Well I do plan to quit, basically as soon as I get this woman’s job and have the title and salary that I can use to negotiate somewhere else. Maybe Netflix! What I would have preferred though, is if the company actually had a plan and adequate staffing to cover her leave, so that I could have just gotten the promotion they had already promised me, the normal way, without having to spend 3 months doing the two full time jobs. Or maybe more, because she wants to take 6 months, but at least they committed to the promotion in Sept. so I’ll officially have the title even if I’m doing the two jobs.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 August 7, 2015, 2:59 pm

        If only it were as easy as just quitting. Some of us are not in a position to just quit a job because we don’t like a vacation leave policy. Jobs aren’t exactly plentiful right now.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 3:01 pm

        Seriously… I feel your pain. I’ve been there.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 August 7, 2015, 3:06 pm

        I get two weeks vacation at my job. But I love my job. Will I love it when I have kids? Maybe not as much because of so little leave, but for right now it’s just gonna have to do.

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        gigi August 7, 2015, 3:37 pm

        At my job we can take the 12 weeks FMLA, but they make us use up any vacation time first. So if I have 2 weeks of Vacation time I have to use all that before FMLA kicks in. Then when I come back, I have no days at all for Dr. appts, sick kids, or being sick myself. That is the part I hate. Thank God they changed to this policy after my kids were older, but it still sucks for the people having kids now.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne August 7, 2015, 7:27 pm

        My company offers the same. Fortunately, I accrue vacation time at a rate of 10+ hours a pay period and I can use days before I have them. But it’s a shitty shitty policy.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 3:38 pm

        Okay, but why attack a leave policy, just because you don’t get it? It’s clearly not the rights of the individual thats the problem here, it’s the company’s handling of the workload of the person on leave. Blame the actual problem, not the leave policy or person taking it.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 August 7, 2015, 3:45 pm

        I didn’t attack anything, just informing you that not everyone can quit a job at the drop of a hat like you suggest just because they don’t like the leave policy. We aren’t all that privileged. I personally think the Netflix thing has great potential, but also see how it might have flaws.

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        booknerd August 7, 2015, 4:14 pm

        I didn’t mean you, personally were attacking it. Sorry.

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      • avatar

        Kate August 7, 2015, 3:52 pm

        I’m not attacking it because I don’t get it. I just think it is probably bullshit. The parents are probably afraid to take that leave because some climber will take their job, and no way does the company pay extra people to hang around and cover for highly skilled tech jobs, so the people not on leave get effed too. Companies are looking to make money, not act in my or your best interest. Having policies like that makes them look good and attracts good talent, but I have no faith that it really benefits a lot of people.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 3:59 pm

        Yeah, I was not attacking it for the reason that I don’t get it either. Instead, I was only saying that in my experience — such a policy often comes at the expense of other employees… Look, we’ve given you three different qualms we have with such a policy and all you’ve done, Bookend, is rudely dismiss us as being bitchy or something… Whatever.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne August 7, 2015, 4:10 pm

        I see what you mean, but going on paid vacations is also at the expense of others in that someone has to cover your workload. I’m just curious how this is different? Is it just the length of time?

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 4:20 pm

        Huge, huge difference. Simply in that while EVERYBODY at the office gets paid vacation. NOT everybody get paid LEAVE. Covering somebody for two weeks so they can go to Hawaii? Great! I am off to Mexico in March and they will return the favor. Also, most people tend to do as much as they can BEFORE a vacation so there is not nearly so much slack to pick up…

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      • Lianne

        Lianne August 7, 2015, 6:10 pm

        Ok that’s fair. I have one more question for you. If a woman took leave for up to a year, unpaid would you feel the same way because, while her job is protected, she’s not getting paid? Or would that still piss you off?

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 7, 2015, 10:07 pm

        Unpaid leave would be fine. If… and it’s a big IF that would, frankly, NEVER come to pass… if anybody — male or female — could take a similar unpaid leave for personal reasons that go well beyond just having children…

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      • avatar

        booknerd August 7, 2015, 4:13 pm

        It’s not the policy that’s the problem. It’s the company you are working for that is not functionally covering the absence. I have said that. I didn’t call anyone a bitch. And yes, most of the comments did sound like whining about “parental leave.” No one was talking about the companies handling of it, or of any other type of leave. And there were plenty of insults on both sides.
        BGM, so your first comments about you not being able to take a year long vacation, like parents, were about workload?

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      • avatar

        booknerd August 7, 2015, 4:09 pm

        I’m not paid to hang around, but I still “have” a job at the company I work for while I don’t work…until they need an emergency fill in, that I might be the right fit for. How do I benefit? When I’m done popping out kids, I can apply for a job at my previous level and a full-time workload with the work history I have at the company. Even though that could potentially not pan out, and they don’t “owe” me that, they’ve kept me on, and it feels pretty awesome to have that type of job security. I’m lucky. There are companies that value that not everyone’s lives revolve around 9-5, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. I feel like they value me as an employee, and in a year or so, they’ll have me back (or not) as a seasoned employee that is really happy to be there. They don’t pay me, unless I’m working, and I am not getting benefits from them (I have full benefits from my husbands job) so they aren’t losing anything by keeping me on.
        I feel like there are actually some companies out there that do care about their employees while they make a ton of money. It’s beneficial to the company to have happy employees.

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      • avatar

        LT August 7, 2015, 4:09 pm

        YES. This comes up time and again with teacher job protections. Yes, we get benefits you don’t. You know what you should do, instead of trying to get ours taken away? DEMAND YOUR OWN BENEFITS!

        I don’t like the “if you don’t like it, quit” policy, but I fully support “If you don’t like it, unionize.”

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny August 7, 2015, 7:45 pm

        Um, easier said than done, I’m afraid to say. If only it was that easy for everyone out in the workforce to just quit when they don’t like something.

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    • avatar

      Anonymous August 7, 2015, 2:03 pm

      I live in Costa Rica and we’ve had paid maternity leave (4 months for women) for ages now. The law says that Dads only get a week but I’ve heard of private and public places that give Dads at least a month. It is also illegal to fire a pregnant or lactating woman for being pregnant or lactating. Social security systems automatically cover any pregnant woman (costa rican or not) and any child that is less than 1 year old (meaning prenatal care, vaccines, consultations, surgeries, anything). This is a system based on solidarity.
      It is so normal in this country that I wonder how moms with no paid maternity leave do. And you know, everyone predicted a catastrophe when it was being suggested that moms should get maternity leave, and guess what… nothing happened.

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    • mylaray

      mylaray August 7, 2015, 2:34 pm

      The thing about paid leave, is many, many people still aren’t offered even unpaid leave. FMLA doesn’t cover companies with I think it’s under 50 employees. I’ve worked at ad agencies that are usually 15 people. The position I was in, no one could replace me so I could have taken about 2 weeks max but they didn’t owe me anything legally. I took a job at a tech company that has 1 year paid leave and unlimited vacation. It was a big pay cut, and my job is vastly different in the corporate world. The government needs to do a better job of setting up overarching policies for better work life balance for everyone, not just parents. It’s not that I need someone to pay for it for me, but all Americans need better work life balance, and parenthood is one huge part of that, but not the only thing.

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      • avatar

        Anonymous August 7, 2015, 3:57 pm

        I agree with this. When it’s left to individual companies to set policies at their whims, it creates an unnecessarily competitive work environment. Policies like this are open-ended and seemingly good on paper, but really, who is going to take advantage of it? Knowing someone who may be just as smart as I am, with great ambitions is doing my job while I’m gone would make me want to get back faster. That’s why, while I applaud the spirit of what Netflix and other companies with similarly generous paid leave policies are doing, I really think this needs to be addressed at the federal level so that there is a standard that makes us all feel good about paid leave.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne August 7, 2015, 4:06 pm

        I agree with this – we need better federal policies on paid leave. I think the problem with leaving it up to the whims of companies to set this policies is too open-ended and can lead to unnecessary competitiveness within organizations. If I were on paid maternity leave and knew someone equally as smart as me with ambitions to boot was covering my job, I would be very anxious about getting back to my role, especially with how much I love my current job. If there were better policies in place at the federal level they would be regulated with government subsidies and people would feel more entitled to this very important time off to care for a newborn. I think the spirit of what companies like Netflix is doing is on the right track but this should not be considered a win for paid leave. I just can’t get excited about this until more is done across the board.

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      • avatar

        booknerd August 7, 2015, 4:30 pm

        I totally agree with what you’ve written. And if you look further into it, they are only offering this to their salaried employees (about 2000 people) so all the hourlies at their distribution centers (around 500) don’t actually qualify for this. It’s a small step by one company in a better direction than we are in.

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      • avatar

        Kate August 7, 2015, 4:42 pm

        Well that’s a shame, because those hourly folks are the ones who can’t afford daycare.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne August 7, 2015, 4:55 pm

        Amen!!

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny August 7, 2015, 7:50 pm

        Ugh, that is totally unfair.

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce August 7, 2015, 6:03 pm

      I appear to be late to the party, but I want to comment anyway.
      .
      I see this from a different angle. For one thing, paid leave for new parents is a great thing for kids. We were all kids once and could have benefited from a policy like this. Even you, Mark. I know it would have been nice if my mom didn’t have to go back to work right away after she had me and my sister because she had to make sure bills got paid. She just barely made enough to cover daycare but couldn’t forgo it because she would have lost her job if she took more time off and that wasn’t an option. And trying to save money by breastfeeding while working at a freaking ClothWorld? What a joke. It’s hard now to find workplaces with breastfeeding facilities (and bathrooms are a shitty place to try to pump), much less back then.
      .
      But I digress. The biggest reason I don’t have a problem with paid parental leave because it could make a huge dent in so many things we already subsidize as taxpayers, mainly healthcare and crime prevention. Parental leave may not seem related to those things, but it really is. When many low-income women have children, they either have to go on welfare because they don’t make enough to pay for daycare or they end up poorer than they were because they are desperate to keep their job and end up in deeper poverty. A single child can knock a middle-class person into poverty very quickly. And with fewer and fewer resources for birth control and abortion available every year (thanks, religious right), it’s quite easy for women with limited resources to become pregnant. After that, they fall into poverty, which is a big contributing factor to people ending up as criminals and also needing healthcare they can’t afford, leading to lots of ER visits that never get paid for. BGM, as a taxpayer, you’re paying for our justice system to keep arresting people and for the ER visits that go unpaid. Wouldn’t you rather pay for a kid to get to grow up without these worries? It seems facile when I put it that way, but it’s a common path once someone ends up poor.
      .
      So, here’s a common path for these women: lady gets pregnant > decides to keep it for her own personal reasons or because she can’t get an abortion in her state > goes back to work 3 weeks after having a baby so she doesn’t lose her job (when she’s still trying to heal from childbirth) > can’t afford to pay bills and daycare, much less the bill from the birth > goes on welfare since she needs more daycare since she now works 2 jobs > child gets limited time with parent so ends up behind in school > child has limited resources because of poverty and living in bad neighborhood > child gets older and turns to crime since they need quick money and can’t afford to get more schooling that probably won’t get them a job anyhow > kid gets sick but can’t afford to see doctor until it’s really bad so they go to the ER and never pay > etc. etc. etc.
      .
      It’s also an equality issue. There’s a reason so many women face discrimination when trying to get jobs, especially young women. So many places are wary of hiring “women of childbearing years” because they could have a baby. With parental leave (I’m talking paternity leave included), this puts women on a more equal footing with men because, in many of those countries w/paid leave, men are just as likely to take leave to care for children as women.
      .
      We’re already paying a crazy amount of money for not having paid parental leave. Why not give these kids a chance when they’re born? It’s so much more complicated than you “subsidizing someone having a family”. Hell, I’m pregnant so I may be biased, but I’ve been saving for over a year for maternity leave and I’ll still only get a 2-month leave once the kid arrives. And I make good money and have a partner to help support me. There are so many people in very different positions.

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce August 7, 2015, 6:05 pm

        I realize my comment is crazy long, but I really hope it helps people to see that parental leave is way more complicated than a “vacation” and has a way bigger impact in society than they may realize.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy August 7, 2015, 6:17 pm

        Great response!

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      • mylaray

        mylaray August 7, 2015, 6:20 pm

        Yes! It often hurts low income families the most. I hate that benefits like this get tied to our job.

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      • avatar

        Kate August 7, 2015, 6:34 pm

        Well, again, it would be nice if this paid leave was extended to the non-salaried workers, but it’s not.

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 August 8, 2015, 12:30 pm

        Absolutely. But a policy like this is a step in the right direction and helps to a)normalize similar policies and b)provide evidence that policies like this are beneficial in the long run (or not if it’s something that doesn’t work). Although it’s a long way off, these policies are a step in the right direction. And it’s even more important to celebrate them AND criticize who they are leaving out (such as non-salaried workers)

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      • Lady_Red

        Red_Lady August 7, 2015, 6:58 pm

        And it really sucks that the companies that tend to have decent parental leave policies are also the ones that have huge salaries. My husband got 4 weeks paid. I could’ve had 4 months unpaid, and I made about 1/4 what my husband does.

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 August 8, 2015, 12:33 pm

        Yup, the people that are more likely to have the time/energy/ability to rally their companies for better policies are usually the ones where many of the workers aren’t just fighting daily to stay afloat.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne August 7, 2015, 6:57 pm

        This was fantastic. Thanks for putting the time into it!

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      • Portia

        Portia August 8, 2015, 11:07 am

        Excellent response. Even if I never benefit directly from having parental leave, there are so many indirect benefits that I support more of it (as well as improving those policies as a whole as to minimize negative impact on coworkers).

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 August 8, 2015, 12:28 pm

        Well said.Thanks for saying what I couldn’t even begin to start putting in words. <3

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  • avatar

    K August 7, 2015, 1:06 pm

    The mobile dating article is pretty depressing. College students using Tinder to find guys…I graduated from college 9 years ago and already feel like it has changed so much. I relished the challenge of going out and finding guys at parties, bars, etc. Maybe you’d finally run into your friend’s cute housemate while you were out! or finally get the courage to chat up that bartender! etc. This seems so much less exciting. And the guys seem more like douchebags these days.

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    • avatar

      Kicia August 7, 2015, 1:35 pm

      That article had me alternating between being depressed and wanting to throw up in my mouth.

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      • coconot

        coconot August 7, 2015, 1:58 pm

        Agreed. These people are missing out on the thrill of the chase and the buildup of tension that makes things so much more exciting.

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  • avatar

    booknerd August 7, 2015, 1:16 pm

    It looks like you’ve just quoted Mary Elizabeth Williams, not Kate Mara.

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy August 7, 2015, 1:47 pm

    That Tinder article made me sad, and discouraged.

    That’s it, I’m going to go live in a cave.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ August 7, 2015, 2:51 pm

    That Tinder article was seriously depressing on so many levels.
    .
    People who are involved in the dating scene and app and online dating, was that article really representative of what it’s like, or did they just quote the douchiest guys and the most resigned women they interviewed? Because, holy shit, that was awful!

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  • mylaray

    mylaray August 7, 2015, 3:40 pm

    I thought the dating app article was stupidly unrealistic. They only showed one subtype of people, and in Manhattan, which is already a crazy competition. And it’s not like their behavior in the article is a new thing. That’s what douchey guys at frats and college parties have always done. It’s just a bit easier to keep doing it now. I haven’t used dating sites myself, and I realize the dating apps do have some downsides, but I still think it’s a positive thing. 1) if you’re average looking, you have a better chance to date or hook up than at a party or a bar because of the wider net. 2) if you don’t drink or don’t want to be around people who drink, it’s an easier way to hook up. 3) if you’re queer, you can actually have a hook up scene. There are probably many other positives too. And I’m guessing you have far more douchey people on the hookup style dating apps to begin with because there are still people who actually want to date who just aren’t on there.

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    • avatar

      K August 7, 2015, 3:55 pm

      They also interviewed people in Indiana and Delaware, not only Manhattan. Douches everywhere!

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      • mylaray

        mylaray August 7, 2015, 5:07 pm

        Ah my bad. I started skimming towards the end.

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    • avatar

      LT August 7, 2015, 4:11 pm

      Yeah, it is kind of reminding me of the type of pearl-clutching article that would come out when I was in college, and my mom would call me and say, “Is this an actual THING?!?!” all horrified, and the answer would always be “Sort of, for some people, some of the time, but rest assured we’re still mostly all about finding someone to be with that we like! NO PANICKING!”

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      • avatar

        Hobbesnblue August 9, 2015, 4:06 pm

        Gawd, exactly. This seems way more like a Daily Mail article than a Vanity Fair one. They easily could have written just as long and hyperbolic an article about the modern fairy-tale of meeting the love of your life on dating apps, considering the fast increasing percentage of relationships that meet online.

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  • avatar

    HmC August 8, 2015, 12:50 am

    I love how people freak out about “subsidizing” a private company choosing to offer paid maternity leave, or how minimum wage workers don’t deserve it when a $2 bump in minimum wage is approved, but you don’t hear nearly the same hysteria over executives who make literally 200 times the salary of the average American household. If you really want to whine about the unfairness of being an American employee, I think you need to choose your battles more wisely. Netflix is a corporate with shareholders, I’m sure they have crunched the numbers and have figured out that they benefit from this maternity leave, directly and indirectly. Supporting people (let’s face it, mostly women still) who have kids is helpful for all of society. It isn’t about encouraging breeding, it’s about creating a responsible society where more kids can grow up in stable, funded environments, which benefits everyone GREATLY. Having shitty maternity/paternity policies, which the U.S. does comparable to many other countries both richer and poorer, is not going to discourage people from having kids. People are always going to want to have kids, it’s a natural desire (not that there is anything wrong at all with not wanting them!). And yeah, it would be great if companies could expand their leave policies to benefit the non procreators. I totally agree! But, there isn’t a perfect way to do that is there? Because there is no exact non parenthood equivalent to parenthood. Just because we can’t make life perfectly 100% fair for everyone doesn’t mean we can’t try and make things better for most people.

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  • avatar

    Cherlyn August 8, 2015, 2:02 am

    Just found this site, am loving it already.

    So many mixed feelings about the breaking up of Kermit and Miss Piggy. I hope they’ll get back together at some point in the future. I wonder who gets what in the divorce (also, it’s so absurd that I’m more interested in a fictional relationship than in a real one).

    The hookup culture, I think, makes it easier for me to stand out of the crowd. Because I’ve decided that the next man I sleep with will need to be committed to me, or it’s just going to be all the sass and a lot of blue balls.

    I’ve spent too much time being the best I can be. And I deserve to be with someone who’s willing to be the best that he can be for me.

    If it’s one thing I’ve learned from life, people treasure what they have to work for.

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