TIME Race

How Minority Job Seekers Battle Bias in the Hiring Process

The job search process plays an important role in shaping, reinforcing and sometimes counteracting inequality in the labor market

Discrimination in the hiring process has limited the opportunities available to both racial minorities – such as African Americans – and women, with important consequences for their well-being and careers.

For example, research has shown that white job applicants receive 50% more callbacks for interviews than equally qualified African American applicants. And, in the low-wage labor market, scholars have found that African American men without criminal records receive similar callback rates for interviews as white men just released from prison. Researchers have also documented discrimination in hiring against women, with particularly strong penalties against mothers.

But how does this reality affect these groups – African Americans and women – as they hunt for jobs? Do they tailor their searches narrowly to help them avoid discrimination, sticking to job opportunities deemed “appropriate” for them? Or do they cast a wider net with the hopes of maximizing their chances of finding a job that does not discriminate?

Until now, we have known little about this issue, largely because no existing data source has closely followed individuals through their job search.

New research that we recently published in the American Journal of Sociology attempts to address this limitation by drawing on two original datasets that track job seekers and the positions to which they apply.

The results of our study point to three general conclusions about the job search process:

  1. African Americans cast a wider net than whites while searching for work.
  2. Women tend to apply to a narrower set of job types than men, often targeting roles that have historically been dominated by women.
  3. Past experiences of discrimination appear to drive, at least in part, the broader job search patterns of African Americans.

On an important side note, these racial differences exist for both men and women and these gender differences exist for both whites and African Americans.

Let’s go into a little more detail on these three main findings.

Casting a wide net

Our analysis shows that African Americans apply to a greater range of job types with a broader range of occupational characteristics than similar whites.

For example, one of our survey respondents was previously employed as a “material moving worker.” Over the course of the survey, this respondent applied for jobs consistent with his prior work experience, such as “material handler” and “warehouse worker.”

However, the respondent also reported applying for jobs in retail sales, as an IT technician, a delivery driver, a security guard, a mail-room clerk and a short order cook. This respondent applied to jobs in a total of seven distinct occupations over the course of the survey, which represents a fairly broad approach to job search.

While this is just one example, it was typical. In both of the datasets we examined, African Americans systematically applied to a larger number of distinct job types than whites with similar levels of education and work experience.

Women and self-selection

Our study demonstrates that women pursued a search strategy very different than that of African Americans.

Women appeared to self-select into distinctive occupational categories consistent with historically gendered job types, such as office and administrative support positions.

During their job search, women also applied to a narrower range of occupations than men with similar education and work experience.

For example, women wanting to work in retail sales were more likely to apply strictly for that type of position during their job search. Men with similar aspirations, on the other hand, were more likely to branch out and apply to adjacent job types, such as wholesale, advertising or insurance sales.

Past discrimination drives blacks’ behavior

So what accounts for these race and gender differences in how people search for a job?

For African American job seekers, we found that perceptions of or experiences with racial discrimination played an important role in explaining their greater search breadth.

In one of the surveys we conducted, we asked job seekers about their experiences with racial discrimination at work. In our analysis, we found that individuals who reported that they had previously observed or experienced racial discrimination in the workplace were more likely to cast a wide net in their job search compared with those without such experience.

A gender-segregated workforce

But if discrimination, in part, drives the search behavior of African Americans, why do we not see similar adaptations by women, who also undoubtedly face employment discrimination?

We suspect the answer is related to the deeper and more explicit nature of gender inequality in the labor market. Occupations remain highly segregated by gender, and individuals from an early age can identify male- and female-typed jobs.

This reality affects women’s occupational aspirations as well as perceptions of the constraints they may encounter when deviating from gendered patterns. In either scenario, women’s self-selection into female-typed occupations may allow them to avoid jobs where they are more likely to experience discrimination. At the same time, this strategy likely reproduces gender segregation at work, which is an important source of gender inequality.

For African Americans, things are quite different. There are far fewer readily identifiable “black” or “white” jobs. The barriers facing African American job seekers can pop up across the labor market. Thus, it is more difficult for African Americans to target jobs where they will be able to avoid discrimination.

But a broad job search allows black job seekers to reach otherwise difficult-to-identify job opportunities in which racial discrimination is less prevalent. Given the challenges of anticipating where and when discrimination is likely to occur, applying to a broad set of job types raises the probability that an African American job seeker will apply to a job that does not discriminate.

Key consequences and takeaways

Job search strategies matter and can make a big difference in everything from lifetime earnings to potential career opportunities.

We find that broad search is associated with being more likely to receive a job offer, but also with receiving lower wage offers. Thus, job seekers appear to face a trade-off between the goals of finding any job and finding a good job. The broader search patterns among African Americans, therefore, may reduce some of the employment gap but contribute to the long-standing racial disparity in wages.

Second, to the extent that broad search leads job seekers to occupations that are different from their past work experiences, this strategy may limit African Americans’ ability to build coherent careers that are consistent with their experience and aspirations. Given significant racial differences in search breadth, these dynamics are likely to contribute to persistent racial inequalities in labor market outcomes.

In the case of women, limiting the scope of their search likely reinforces existing patterns of occupational segregation, which has consequences for the gender earnings gap and implications for other forms of persistent gender inequality.

Where does this leave us?

Together, the findings from our study suggest that the job search process plays an important role in shaping, reinforcing and sometimes counteracting inequality in the labor market.

At the same time, discrimination and other barriers to employment must be considered to fully understand how labor market inequality is generated.

And, as the comparison of race and gender suggests, how individuals adapt to workplace barriers can take different forms and have distinct consequences.

Our research points to the importance of systematically examining both job search processes as well as discriminatory behavior and other constraints in the workplace if we hope to fully understand and rectify persistent racial and gender inequalities in the labor market.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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‘Insight Policing’ Could Have Helped Sandra Bland

It helps officers recognize and defuse conflict behavior when they see it

The disturbing video released earlier this week of the stop and arrest of Sandra Bland highlights once again the excessive and inexcusable use of force by police officers in this country. The 28-year-old’s death in police custody after a routine traffic stop is currently being investigated as a murder.

Both ordinary citizens and experts have been calling for police departments to ramp up efforts to stop these kinds of abuses, but tragically, they continue.

Why they continue is perplexing and complicated – from history and power to the role of implicit bias. But one answer, as a Memphis cop put it to me in an interview for the Retaliatory Violence Insight Project, is what police officers call the “tricky part”: maintaining trust with citizens while enforcing the law.

The tricky part

Part of what is tricky, I found talking with police officers, is that traditional policing practice uses deterrence methods – force and the threat of punishment – to motivate compliance.

Most of us are familiar with these methods. Perhaps we have gotten a speeding ticket, or been subject to stop and frisk. The principle is the same – obey the law or face consequences.

Deterrence policies may stop crime in some cases, but they are counter to most people’s conception of trust, which depends on the belief that another person will not cause harm.

Because of this trust deficit, deterrence methods can fail to produce compliance; and instead, produce conflict between the public and the police. Just watch Sandra Bland’s arrest video, or the public reaction to the high-force police response during last year’s Ferguson protests.

Research from the Retaliatory Violence Insight Project into the challenges police departments face curtailing retaliatory violence in high crime communities has produced an alternative: Insight Policing.

Insight Policing is a community-oriented, problem-solving policing practice designed to help officers take control of situations with the public before conflict escalates. By doing so, the police maintain trust and enhance the probability of cooperation in difficult situations of enforcement.

The role of Insight Policing

Insight Policing helps officers recognize and defuse conflict behavior when they see it – both their own and the public’s. Often, conflict behavior resembles such stress-based behaviors as fight, flight and freeze; these are the actions people take when they feel threatened.

The thing about conflict behavior, and what Insight Policing pays particular attention to, is that when we feel threatened, we are reactive, not reflective, in how we respond. We do not take time to think about what we are doing, we simply do, in hopes that we will successfully stop the threat.

Sandra Bland refused to get out of her car (conflict behavor), responding to the threat the officer posed when he ordered her to. The officer pulled a taser on Bland (conflict behavior) in response to the threat her refusal posed to him as an agent of the law.

While clearly there are more dramatic instances of conflict behavior in police–citizen encounters – the high speed chase, the standoff – the more mundane conflict interactions are what are undermining police legitimacy.

When conflict behavior manifests as noncompliance, when citizens refuse to cooperate, as was the case with Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and most recently Sandra Bland, what begins as mundane can become lethal when conflict behavior escalates.

Insight Policing, which has been piloted in two American police departments, Memphis, Tennessee, and Lowell, Massachusetts, is a promising tool for helping officers get a handle on the “tricky part.” Eighty percent of officers trained agreed that Insight Policing enhanced their ability to defuse the feelings of threat citizens have about their encounters with police officers.

An example of Insight Policing

Take an example from Memphis. Three Memphis officers trained in Insight Policing responded to a call for shots fired. They arrived on the scene to find a crowd of young men behind a house. They asked them the kinds of questions they always ask at the scene of a crime: “What happened?” “What did you see?” “Who did this?” The young men refused to cooperate: “We didn’t see anything.” “Leave us alone.” “We don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The officers suspected otherwise. And ordinarily, they reported, they would have arrested the young men on gang-related charges and questioned them down at the station – to delay any retaliation that might have been brewing as well as to get the information they were after. Instead, having been trained in Insight Policing, they recognized the young men’s resistance as conflict behavior. They dropped, for the moment, their crime investigator hats, and put on their conflict investigator hats. They used Insight Policing techniques to become curious about what was motivating the young men’s resistance.

What the officers found was not that the young men were protecting somebody or hiding something or breaking the law in some way, but that they had had trouble with police in the past. They did not want to speak because they were afraid of incriminating themselves.

Getting this information allowed the officers to delink the threat they posed by assuring the young men that they were not after them, they were after the shooter. They were able to build enough trust in the moment that the young men gave them the information they needed to catch the shooter later that night.

Had the officers used their power to arrest the young men, just for hanging out together, they would have played into the young men’s fear of incrimination. They would have escalated a situation, and who knows how it would have turned out.

By engaging the men in terms of their conflict behavior, the officers were able to build trust, garner cooperation and effectively enforce the law.

What if the officers who stopped Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray and Mike Brown and Eric Garner had been trained to recognize conflict behavior and defuse it? Perhaps history would be different.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME society

How to Solve the Gender Wage Gap in International Soccer

The usual go-to explanation of the huge disparities—supply and demand—seems to fall a little short

As I watched the Women’s World Cup final recently with my family, my 11-year-old son, who plays on a local soccer team, remarked that he was amazed at how quickly and how often the U.S. team scored.

“Seriously, Dad, teams don’t just score like that in soccer.”

Of course, he was right. The match set a record for most combined goals scored in a FIFA final for either men or women.

It’s that level of action and excitement that made the game the most-watched soccer event in U.S. history.

The Nielsen overnight rating for the women’s final was 15.2, with more than 25.4 million viewers in the U.S. By comparison, the men’s final last year received a 9.1 Nielsen rating, with 17.3 million viewers. (That US viewers had skin in the game in the women’s final tells only part of the story, but more on that and global viewership later.)

Shortly after the game, however, some took to Twitter to point out a less favorable disparity:

This is a shockingly huge pay gap, and looks even worse when considering that the US men’s team, which lost in the first round last year, earned US$9 million for their efforts.

The usual go-to explanation of such disparities, “it’s all supply and demand,” seems to fall a little short given that the demand (people watching the game) was actually greater for the women’s team than for that of the winning German men’s team, at least in terms of US viewership. But, in fact, this explanation does help in understanding why the gap exists. It also suggests a solution: increase demand.

Where do other sports stand?

The pay gap between the women’s team and men’s team for the FIFA World Cup Finals is significant. The male-female ratio for the payout is 17.5 (men’s pay divided by women’s). That is, men earn $17.50 for every $1 earned by women for winning the championship game. For comparison, see the chart below showing wages and prize money for men versus women for the sports in which men and women have equal or similar representation.

The FIFA ratio is considerably greater than those for the U.S. and British Open golf tournaments, though not quite as large as that of professional basketball – the average NBA player earn 65 times as much as a woman in the WNBA. Tennis, notably, has been awarding men and women equal prize money for years. Wimbledon became the last Grand Slam to do so in 2007.

Where sports revenue comes from

So why are women tennis players paid the same as male players at Wimbledon but not for the FIFA World Cup? The difference comes down to how the sports generate revenue, which does not primarily come from ticket sales, as some believe.

Basketball is a case in point. Walking through the revenue model for an NBA team relative to a WNBA team is revealing. The average NBA team generates 25% to 30% of its total revenue from ticket sales. The lion’s share of revenue comes from local and national broadcast rights. (Here’s a link to the New Jersey Nets’ profit and loss statement – very revealing.)

The current NBA television deal, which provides networks the right to broadcast games during the regular season and gives specific networks rights to broadcast different rounds in the playoffs, is around $930 million, or approximately $31 million per team. Local television deals can add another $25 to $30 million.

The Los Angeles Lakers, for example, reaped $122 million in 2013 selling their local broadcasting rights (and are set to earn much more in coming years), while other marquee teams typically earn $30 million to $40 million.

By contrast, the WNBA in 2012 signed an extension on its national broadcast deal in the amount of $12 million per year (about $1 million per team).

If the local broadcast deal for a WNBA team is similar to its national deal (as is the case with the men), then a women’s team likely generates about $2 million per year in broadcast rights, compared with more than $55 million in the NBA.

The revenue gap makes some sense when considering that the average attendance for a NBA game is 17,000, compared with 7,500 per WNBA game, and that the men play 41 home games a year, compared with 17 for women. In this case, the demand and supply explanation works very well. There is clearly greater demand for NBA games than for WNBA games, and, as a result, revenues are significantly higher, as are the salaries.

Tennis v. soccer

Tennis is a less complex beast. The men and the women (at major tournaments) are playing at the same venue, the broadcasters are purchasing a bundle of programming that includes both men’s and women’s matches, and tickets are priced according to the round in the tournament, the location of the match (marquee matches are played in the premier court relative to the surrounding courts) and the seats within the stadium.

The revenue generated by the tournament is a function of both men and women, so women deserve an equal share. And women have had a terrific advocate in Billie Jean King, who started pushing for equality in tennis nearly four decades ago.

The Women’s World Cup, unfortunately, looks much more like basketball than tennis. FIFA releases annual reports of its financials – income and expenses relating to promoting and running various FIFA events.

Looking back at 2011 (the last time the women played in the World Cup), FIFA reported television revenue of $550 million, of which $537 million was from presales for the 2014 Men’s World Cup. The remaining $13 million in television revenue was generated from the sale of broadcast rights to a variety of FIFA events, including (presumably) the 2011 Women’s World Cup.

If these types of revenue disparities persisted through the 2014 and 2015 Men’s and Women’s World Cups, the television revenues for the 2015 women’s event was a fraction of the $1 billion plus taken in for the 2014 Brazil games. So one could conclude that the payments to the men’s and women’s teams should be proportional to the revenue generated from the individual events.

This might be a good assumption, except that FIFA spends money on events and promotion of soccer throughout the world that have no chance of paying for themselves. And, if we think about an investment or impact, the Women’s World Cup obviously had a nice reach – the final out-drew the men’s final, at least in the U.S.

It is unclear, however, whether the viewership for the Women’s World Cup was larger than that of the men’s outside of the U.S. (FIFA prepares a television audience outreach document after the World Cup; here is the one from 2010).

Americans had good reason to watch their home team compete in the final, and in a similar time zone no less. We can make a few comparisons with the numbers that have been released from other countries.

The television viewership in Canada for the host team’s game against Switzerland in the round of 16 tallied 2.8 million viewers. That compares with 16.7 million in France who watched its men’s team compete against Switzerland in a group stage game in 2014. France’s population is roughly twice that of Canada, yet viewership was more than six times higher.

So perhaps on a global scale, the supply and demand argument works after all. The women were popular in the U.S., but that is only a very small part of the global market (weak market demand will have downward pressure on prices).

FIFA needs to look ahead

FIFA’s reaction to the underpayment controversy was to suggest that the women haven’t earned a bigger paycheck because the women’s tournament has not run as long as the men’s.

That is really a rubbish argument. I have yet to hear a corporate chief financial officer tell a new worker that she or he can’t be paid their value because the job hasn’t been around long enough – if this were true, most chief technology officers would be earning less than the mailroom staff.

Ultimately I believe FIFA is thinking about this all wrong. The organization should be thinking about this as an investment, an avenue to increase participation in women’s soccer across the globe and a mechanism to propel equality between men and women. Consider the impact that FIFA could have if it spent the time and resources promoting the women’s game with the same intensity it uses for the men’s game. Sports is a powerful vehicle for social change.

Although in the past the women’s tournament generated less money for FiFA than the men’s, no business or sports empire can live in the past and expect to be relevant in the future.

Sporting goods companies know this. To continue to survive and make profit, they think ahead and bet their financial futures on promising young athletes who have not proven themselves. And the companies in turn use their power to guarantee (as much as they can guarantee) a return on investment. Under Armour did a deal with the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry before he helped them win the NBA Championship.

The same argument goes for women’s soccer. In the 2015 FIFA World Cup, women’s soccer proved itself. It likely won’t be long before their earning power rivals the men as their popularity grows.

It’s easy to make an argument about the social justice of equal pay. But if that’s not enough for FIFA, the group would do well to simply think ahead, pursue its self-interest and follow the age-old mantra: “Don’t be stupid.”

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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What Chattanooga Shootings Teach America

We need to fight terror with reason

In the wake of the Chattanooga shootings, another apparent act of lone-wolf terrorism, the search for answers and for retaliation comes again.

After every such incident, that search is renewed: why did this happen? Is it religion? Poverty? How do we stop it?

But maybe we are asking the wrong questions – sharpening the same tools again and again will do us no good if they weren’t the right tools.

What we need instead is an examination of whether we’re looking at the problem the right way to begin with. That perspective comes from 14 years of studying extremism, terrorism and sectarian conflict in the field – and 14 years studying American responses to terrorism post-9/11.

A perception of no choice

Terrorism is usually thought of as a “thing” — the result of a psychological or moral malfunction, the presence of evil, the absence of soul.

Secretary of State Kerry used this phrasing at a summit on countering violent extremism in February, when he said,

These people have no positive vision whatsoever. They represent a nihilism, a criminal anarchy that is unacceptable to any decent human being.

In more tactical and policy-related circles, studies of terrorism tend to focus more on the intent than the cause:

…the calculated use of unlawful violence…to inculcate fear.

In fact terrorism has no one cause, although it would be comforting to think it did, and even the reasoning can vary depending on the group and the perpetrator.

We could blame Islam, but the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, was a Christian. We could blame religion, but the UNABOMBER, Ted Kaczynski, was an atheist. Poverty is a common refrain, but the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were of the middle class. Stupidity or insanity would perhaps be satisfying answers, and yet we have seen time and time again how terrifyingly articulate and ostensibly sane terrorists can be — the 19th century French Anarchist Emile Henry being an excellent example.

All of these people had other options in life, but all are united by a common theme: the perception that they had none.

Terrorism, I would argue, is better viewed as the result of choice — or more accurately, it is the end of a long series of increasingly narrow choices.

Dylann Roof put this literally, in writings posted before his attack on the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina:

I have no choice…. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.

Timothy McVeigh hinted at it in one of his own statements, when he said,

…if there is a hell, then I’ll be in good company with a lot of fighter pilots who also had to bomb innocents to win the war.

And Chattanooga’s Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez said as much only last week, when he described life “as a prison.”

An ever narrowing funnel

If we were diagramming this, it would look like a funnel, with “normal life” at the wide end, and “attack” at the narrowest point.

Many things can go into the process that makes the funnel narrower and they usually come in pairs:

  • a lack of good education (the kind that teaches principles of critical thought and reason) and the presence of the wrong kind of education (the kind that teaches blind adherence, black-and-white thinking and illogic)
  • economic deprivation combined with a scapegoat upon which to blame one’s hardship
  • a particular kind of hatred that comes not from poverty but from privilege paired with the acute realization of others’ deprivation
  • marginalization combined with the perception that power and identity can be regained through group membership – and then action.

Each progressive choice shuts down some options, and makes others — especially one particular one — more likely.

Openness is the answer

The strong suggestion here is that if terrorism tends to correlate with a perceived lack of other options, then the best response to terrorism is to expand people’s ability to see a greater range of options available to them.

What that means is education, good governance and access to resources.

Following that, it means stopping whatever serves to make a society feel that its options have run out.

And that, in turn, means not repression, but more openness. Not a restriction or surrender of civil liberties, but the unequivocal statement that they are an inviolable part of who we are and what we want our society to be.

The presence of increasingly heavily armed and armored police is not a reminder of what society is enabled to do, but what it’s prohibited from doing, and a constant symbolic reminder of its fears.

While Americans tend to feel more secure with an armed presence nearby—a reaction mirrored across threats ranging from terrorism to crime, the irony is that the bigger and more prominent the weaponry, the more likely it is to cause more damage than it prevents.

Meanwhile the loss of perceived freedom of movement, the restrictions on thought and action, and the constant reminder of threat feeds into the narrowing funnel that those on the path to violence will tend to feel and act upon.

Historically speaking, it’s sadly clear that there is nothing that will rule out all acts of terrorism, any more than there is anything that would rule out all crime.

“Doing something” doesn’t mean more arms and armor

The best we can do is seek to manage, and reduce the percentages. In the public discourse, however, that doesn’t fly very well — no matter how rational it is.

The most common cry is that when it comes to terrorism, anything that doesn’t put another gun in the fight equates to “doing nothing.”

The hard change is shifting the public narrative away from fear in a way that builds more openness while, at the same time, paying respect to the loss and pain of those directly affected by acts of terrorism.

That urge to “do something” that carries the satisfaction of a retaliatory body count is a particularly hard one to swallow, even though we know full well that it is a basic terrorist goal to “do something that provokes a violent response.”

The point being that a violent response is then leveraged into a rallying cry, and greater recruiting “for the cause,” and the spiral continues to grow.

And yet we also know that as a nation, our greatest gains against racism have come when we recognized that it tends to die when dragged into the light of public discussion.

Similarly, religious radicalism is lessened by exposure to new ideas. This is the nature of reason, the nature of rationality, and it is the first, best way to reduce the chances of further attack.

There will of course always be a need for hard defenses against extremist violence, homegrown or otherwise — for intelligence and for soldiers, for police, and even for the arms and armor.

And yet the way we fight the battle has a lot to do with whether or not we win the war.

As a society, we need to be incredibly careful as we design and field our responses, when we hear ourselves say “they’ve pushed us…we have no choice.”

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Family

How to Balance 2 Careers in a Family

It has to be an ongoing conversation

If your family isn’t just “me, the kid, and my partner,” but, rather, “me, the kid, my partner, and both our careers,” then you’re probably in the midst of a Flying Wallendas-like balancing act trying to keep everything on track. But figuring out whose career should take precedence in a family is never simply about dollars and cents.

“[It] can change, day to day,” says certified coach Rachael Ellison, whose practice focuses on strategic business consulting, executive coaching, and countless discussions about this exact topic. When talking through it with two working parents, she encourages them not to think about it as a one-off decision but an ongoing conversation about “who should lean into their career and who should lean back.”

And, if you feel weird subjecting your marriage and career to therapy with a certified coach, remember: “It’s not therapy. It’s a planning process.”

Nobody with kids has time to read the whole Internet. Sign up here for Time for Parents, a weekly newsletter with only the worthwhile stuff.

Stop Making Assumptions

“These are conversations that people avoid having,” Ellison says. “Everyone kind of expects that the other one understands whose career should take precedence.”

If one of you has agreed to stay home and put a career on pause, have you talked about how long they’re comfortable doing that? If one of you is working more to accommodate a paused career and missing events or milestone because of it, have you talked about whether or not it’s worth it?

If the answer to questions like that is “Kinda?” then you have a bumpy road ahead. Even if you’re the next president and she’s Betty Draper, you both need to communicate what the other wants and expects.

Focus On The 5 Ps

These conversations are complicated because they affect your time, relationships, even where you live — so Ellison recommends breaking them down into 5 key areas:

  • Parental — Kid-related. Who’s packing lunches? Which days are soccer practice? Does the kid prefer bath time or doctor’s appointments with a particular parent (be honest)?
  • Professional — Work-related. Do you plan on moving if you land that dream job in Dallas next year? Why is your dream job in Dallas? Reconsider Dallas.
  • Personal — Whatever keeps each of you sane: golf, the spa, running, The Annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw. These things are essential and need to be accounted for.
  • Partnership — Lovelife. Don’t let the kid suck all the oxygen out of the conversation. Factor in the time and financial considerations to maintain the things you need as a couple, because the conversations get way more complicated if you’re divorced.
  • Practical — Everything else. Does gentrification mean you’re going to get priced out of your neighborhood? Will your aging in-laws need to move in with you? Is that a goiter developing on the dog?

Take The Long View

If your wife is a teacher, plan on childrearing duties shifting around her in the summers. If you’re a CPA, plan on shifting household duties around, say, every spring for the rest of your life. Is the kid about to start kindergarten, and how does that affect your finances? Does one of you want to go back to school for that MBA?

Get a sense of not just the year-in, year-out stuff, but what your lives will look like in five, 10, even 20 years out.

Take The Short View

“Breaking down those big-picture issues into manageable topics is what’s most important here,” Ellison says. “As long as both want to/need to stay in the workforce, then you’re ultimately making a decision around how the little things are covered.”

Who makes breakfast in the morning? Who’s doing drop-offs and pickups from school on Tuesdays, and should that change on Wednesdays? Once there’s a general understanding of each other’s future, navigating the daily hurdles comes easier. Keep in mind this is a “process,” Ellison advises,”not a decision that’s made categorically and finally.”

One last bit of advice: Nothing ruins date night like inventorying five years of ambitions and obstacles in order to assign spousal duties, so carve out a specific time to have these conversations. Like dental exams, appointments with the proctologist, or that conversation about porn you’ll soon have with your kid, it can be painful, but it’s for the best.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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Katy Perry Isn’t the Only One Who Wants to Live in a Convent

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary property in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Singer Katy Perry sought to purchase the property.
Nick Ut—AP The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary property in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Singer Katy Perry sought to purchase the property.

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

Repurposing religious buildings should be done with sensitivity and purpose

I moved into a convent 10 years ago this summer.

My roommates were not Catholic sisters, but other recent college graduates, who sometimes acted a little too much as if we were still living in a college dorm. But most of our time was dedicated to service of our community—teaching, leading afterschool programs, counseling pregnant teens and gang members, working with the elderly—just as the sisters who preceded us in the convent had once done.

The news that pop star Katy Perry wants to buy a former convent in Los Feliz has me thinking about my days at Amate House, a full-time Catholic volunteer program in Chicago. The Los Angeles Times broke the story that two nuns are blocking the archdiocese from selling the estate to Perry, who wants to live there. Early coverage of the story centered on the sister’s disapproval of the “I Kissed A Girl” singer.

My fond memories of convent living, though, make me wonder if the question of whether Perry is a suitable successor to the sisters misses the point. As our society become less connected to religious institutions, it may be more important than ever for communities to think creatively and sensitively about how to make use of formerly religious spaces.

I had never imagined that I would live in a convent. Amate House operates three houses, two of which were convents, with both male and female volunteers, and it is part of the Chicago archdiocese. But I approached it more like Peace Corps or Teach for America: an opportunity to do something special, learn about life in the inner city and give back—not to live out my faith. I identified myself as a “practicing-but-not-believing Catholic.” I had volunteered with my high school youth group through college, but I was more interested in Buddhism than Christianity.

Though I defied typical categories—neither fully Catholic nor a religious “none”— my experience reflects the trend of young Americans disaffiliating from institutional religion and forming their own religious identities and understandings.

My grandmother, in contrast, grew up wanting to be a Catholic sister. Unfortunately for her (but thankfully for me), she lacked the education to join a religious congregation. Instead, she got married and raised my father and his four brothers.

Seeking to understand my recently deceased grandmother’s devotion—why would a woman voluntarily commit her life to a patriarchal church?—I wrote about Catholic sisters for a class in college. The nun in her nineties that I profiled couldn’t explain her vocation other than as a call from God.

Her order had once occupied a huge motherhouse in my hometown and sent teachers to schools throughout the Midwest. In northwest Iowa, she had taught art to a budding cartoonist who would go on to work for Disney and draw the genie in Aladdin. But by the time I visited, they had moved to a smaller house, essentially a nursing home for sisters.

Their grand old motherhouse became Loyola University Chicago’s education school. The sisters were happy that a Catholic institution was continuing their legacy, but then Loyola moved to sell the property to a developer that planned to raze the convent and put in single-family homes.

The city intervened, and the building still stands as senior housing. But the sale of convents and churches to developers is not unusual. Around the same time, my parents moved into a development in a neighboring suburb that had been built on the grounds of a former convent. And when I lived in a convent, my window looked out on a Protestant church that had been converted to condos.

Such examples will become more common as people move away from institutional religion. Places that once brought together a community become individual units, our architecture seeming to reflect our spiritual trends.

Yet, many still long for a sense of togetherness, even if in untraditional ways. My convent roommates and I were not all regular churchgoers, despite living above a chapel where daily mass was held. Our “church” came in the form of meals, reflection nights, and service to the broader community.

But buildings can’t be preserved just for community. In exchange for our service, our work sites paid Amate House small fees to cover our living expenses, including our convent housing. Another solution is to make churches into community arts centers, renting space out to nonprofits during the week. Both situations provide a win-win for religious institutions and nonprofit organizations.

A year or so ago, I met with two sisters in Chicago who were in the process of opening a migrant shelter in an old convent, supported by an interfaith organization. They told me what Pope Francis had recently said at Centro Astalli, a refugee center in Rome: “Empty convents are not for the church to transform into hotels and make money from them. Empty convents are not ours, they are for the flesh of Christ: refugees.”

Intrigued by this tension between money and mission, I applied to and received an International Reporting Project fellowship to find out if Pope Francis had affected Italy’s welcome of migrants. Visiting Centro Astalli and other refugee centers around Rome, I met many migrants living on the street or in abandoned buildings, unable to find work or housing in their new country. Two men showed me how they survived while homeless in Rome, sleeping at Termini train station, passing their days in a park behind the Colosseum and seeking services at churches and convents.

For my last few days in Rome, I checked into a convent hotel along their daily path, a few blocks from Termini. Once again, I found myself in a spartan single.

My convent hotel was clean and comfortable, European beds being what they are. And for not much more than the price of a hostel, I had a private, quiet space.

Four sisters lived on the top floor, and one of them told me that they make themselves available to travelers for either logistical or spiritual concerns. Many orders consider hospitality to pilgrims as part of their mission. In addition to tourists, they host student groups and families of patients from a nearby hospital. And the hotel helps fund their work in the missions.

Yet, when I saw the generous breakfast spread for what seemed like a handful of guests, I couldn’t help but think of the homeless migrants I had met on the streets of Rome. If the government, churches, or nonprofits paid for even a few migrants’ room at this convent, I wondered, how would the tourists staying there react?

Some argue that the pope’s statement against convent hotels reflects the male hierarchy’s desire to control the hard-earned assets of women in religious orders. In Los Angeles, the Katy Perry story is more about who manages the proceeds of the sale— the nuns or the archbishop—than whether Perry or someone else is the next owner of the convent.

I, for one, would trust a group of sisters more than the archdiocese to put the millions earned from the sale to good use. Yet the sisters’ buyer, a driver of gentrification who is also currently refurbishing the former Pilgrim Church into a hotel and restaurant, is no more likely than Perry to transform the convent into a homeless shelter.

As religious institutions decline, not all religious buildings will survive. But as someone who enjoyed living in a convent—temporarily—I would hope that some could be transformed into shelters, art centers, homes for nonprofit or volunteer organizations or other projects that benefit the whole community.

With a little creativity, Catholic sisters’ spirit can live on in a very concrete way.

Megan Sweas is the editor at the USC Center for Religion and Civil Culture, and a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles. She is author of Putting Education to Work: How Cristo Rey High Schools are Transforming Urban Education. Reporting for this story was supported in part by the International Reporting Project.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

Canadian Lightning Strike Survivor Wins Lotto

The odds that Peter McCathie would be struck by lightning and win the lotto are approximately 1 in 2.6 trillion

Peter McCathie quite literally defied the odds.

The Canadian man, who was previously struck by lightning when he was 14, collected his Atlantic Lottery winnings on Monday. The odds of being struck by lightning in Canada are less than one in a million. The odds of winning the Atlantic Lotto are one in 13,983,816. In an incredible turn of events, McCathie’s daughter was also struck by lightning a few years ago while working as a wilderness guide in Manitoba.

The odds that all three of those events would happen to the same person are, as a mathematics professor at the University of Moncton told CTV News, approximately 1 in 2.6 trillion.

McCathie’s winnings, $1 million, are shared with his co-worker Diana Miller. The two have been buying lottery tickets together for about a year, but McCathie never expected to win.

“I honestly expected to get hit by lightning again first,” he told CTV News.

McCathie owns the store the ticket was bought in, so he is raking in an additional $10,000 from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. He’ll be spending his winnings on a second honeymoon with his wife of 30 years.

[CTV News]

 

TIME society

L.A., You Stink at Parking

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

Many Angelenos leave their cars in the worst places, so I started an Instagram campaign to make them think twice about being jerks

I moved from Connecticut to Los Angeles six years ago to pursue a career as a make-up artist. I had two suitcases, and a couple thousand dollars in my pocket. I had heard horror stories about Los Angeles traffic — but I never imagined how awful the parking would be.

One night eight months ago, I drove home to my East Hollywood neighborhood after working a 12-hour day on a set. I just wanted to lug my 50-pound make-up kit inside, eat dinner, and go to sleep. I live in an apartment bulding with only street parking.

Most homes in my crowded neighborhood have multiple cars. Some are clunkers, and people often park their work trucks on the street.

On that night, I ended up driving around for three hours and still didn’t find a spot. I sat in my car and cried. I finally parked in a strip mall parking lot, hoping I wouldn’t get a ticket. Even though I went down to move my car the next morning at 6 a.m., I got a ticket anyway.

I was dumbfounded by the lack of parking, and how inconsiderate people could be. I remembered all the “pet shaming” photos I saw on the Internet—of dogs or cats after they had done something naughty, with handwritten signs like: “I eat the trash.” I wanted to raise awareness about bad parking, maybe embarrass a few people too. I launched an Instagram account, ParkingSpotShaming.

The first photo I posted was from the parking lot at my gym. When I went to leave, I realized I was blocked in because the black Prius that parked perpendicular to me didn’t pull far enough into its spot.

Those early pictures featured a repeat nemesis: a blue pick-up truck that rarely moves from in front of my apartment, only from one side of the street to the other when it’s a designated street cleaning day. It always leaves awkward amounts of space in front and behind it.

Four weeks after the launch of ParkingSpotShaming, blogs began to post about it. Now, I receive up to 50 submissions a day by email and direct message on Instagram. More come through tags on Twitter or posts on Facebook.

You will see a photo of a black sedan whose driver scraped against the side of a silver SUV, making it impossible for the passenger side doors to open.

And a photo of a Smart Car parked crooked, and spilling over onto a sidewalk. “How is this even possible?!” one commenter wrote. “It’s the #SmallestCarEver!

I’ve received pictures of Bentleys and Honda Civics. I’ve found bad parkers in the Hollywood Hills and in Westchester. And there’s a range of bad parking: creeping too close to the lines, going well over them, parking in illegal zones, and sitting in handicapped spots without permits.

I tend to get submissions from shopping centers, airports, and malls. Some Angelenos seem to have a real sense of entitlement. That may be the same reason I see so many SUVs parking in spots marked “compact.”

I don’t want someone to target a car or vandalize it, so I put emojis over the license plates. I’m particularly proud of the Range Rover with the bullseye over its plate.

ParkingSpotShaming has given me and others an outlet to share our gripes, absurdities, and wisecracks. The craziest parking I’ve seen was submitted to me, and it was a white Bentley that parked sideways taking up spots 132 and 133 at Burbank Airport.

The site is anonymous, and I often wish that I knew how to get in touch with the owner of a badly parked car right away—so I could make them move it. But since I can’t do that, I’m hoping that ParkingSpotShaming will make that person who parks his Hummer in two spots, think twice. We will find you and make fun of you. As one post on my account says, “Your parking is bad. And you should feel bad.”

Andria Farrell is a make-up artist from Connecticut living and working in Los Angeles. Her personal Instagram is @driafarr. She wrote this for Thinking L.A., a partnership of UCLA and Zócalo Public Square

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME U.S.

12-Year-Old Terminal Cancer Patient Distributes Legos to Other Sick Kids

Joseph Dees is the founder of Building Hopes

Twelve-year-old Joseph Dees has been living with glioblastoma, an incurable brain tumor, for four years, enduring radiation, chemotherapy and many surgeries. Legos were among his only pleasurable pastimes, and now Joseph is bringing that joy and distraction to other kids.

Earlier this year, Joseph and his family began buying and distributing boxes of Legos at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He went on to coin the name Building Hopes, a group that hopes to spur Lego drives across America. After the Legos from his recent drive are distributed, some 300 children will have received toys through his work.

Read the full story at PEOPLE.

TIME society

Watch a 4-Year-Old Cancer Patient Fulfill Her Dream of Marrying Her Favorite Nurse

"Here comes the bride..."

A four-year-old cancer patient had always dreamed of marrying her favorite nurse, so the hospital organized a “wedding” for the couple in less than a day.

Abby, who has leukemia, “married” Matt Hickling at the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancers at Albany Medical Center, WNYT.com reports, after one of the nurses posted a video on the news outlet’s Facebook page. The “groom” was wearing a tuxedo t-shirt and scrubs. The other nurses on staff were “bridesmaids,” who carried bouquets of flowers and walked down an aisle covered in rose petals donated by a local florist. Afterwards, there was cake and ring pops for everyone.

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