When, after about three years' employment on Leonard's staff, I was going to lose my job because I was about to give birth and the policy was then in force against the mothers of small children, he fought a very important bureaucratic battle. On the very day my baby was due, we were both summoned to the Church employment office to hear the decision in this case. No longer was it the matter of a waiver of policy in my behalf, but we were hoping to alter the policy across the board. The First Presidency had decided in our favor, and in the favor of all married women employees. It would thereafter be women's own decision whether or not to keep working after having children, and women applying for jobs would not be discriminated against by virtue of their motherhood.
I found this story compelling not only because one woman was primarily responsible for changing a policy that otherwise restricted her choices, but also because of how it happened. She fought some battles, it's true, but she gives Arrington much of the credit for fighting on her behalf.
So often, making workplaces more family-friendly seems like an uphill battle, especially if there are a lot of bureaucratic policies in your way. You want to work part-time after your baby is born, but the handbook says you have to work full-time to receive benefits. You want to work from home, but everyone else who works from home has been with the company at least five years to "prove themselves", and the boss doesn't see why you should be the exception. You've submitted multiple requests for parental leave, and you've gotten turned down every time.
You might be exhausted. You might feel like no one listens to you. And you might be right.
It's hard to fight against the powers-that-be when you're alone. But Beecher had an advocate who fought on her behalf, and that helped make change happen. I don't know enough about the story to know how Arrington persuaded others that change was needed. But I do know that in general, two is more powerful than one.
Is there someone (or several someones) in your workplace who can act as your advocate? Someone who believes in you? Someone who knows the quality of your work? Someone who has it in his or her best interests to keep you around?
If someone is advocating for you, suddenly it's not all about you anymore. It's about the team, about productivity, and about the company. That might make your boss more likely to listen. And you won't feel so alone.