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Work/Life: kids — the results

You may remember that toward the end of last year, as part of our Work/Life series, we posted a survey asking you about motion life with kids and/or the prospect of kids. Well, we finally we got ’round to cataloguing the results. I know it’s taken a long time to post, but there have been babies to bath and nappies to change. Q.E.D. . . .

Firstly, a massive thank you to all who took time to complete the survey. A massive 2,236 of you managed to do so. Show this to your employers, your producers, your clients and your other halves. I’m pretty sure this is the first survey of its kind and there’s a heck of a lot that we can all learn from this, thanks to you!

As we’re beginners with this survey business, we went about a couple of things the wrong way. Primarily we assumed that everyone with kids had a partner, which is obviously not the case. So apologies for any toes we may have stepped on there.

Here’s a brief digest of some of the key stats for those of you who can’t be bothered hacking through the pie charts:

— 63% of the respondents didn’t (at the time of responding) have kids!

— Unsurprisingly, having kids takes its toll on extra-curricular creative projects. Nonetheless, 40% of mographers with kids still find time outside work to do motion things. Kudos!

— Once kids are on the scene, most motion workers try and get some kind of grip on their hours, but late working is still a regular part of professional life for most.

— We seem to have great partners who by and large tolerate long hours, although patience thins once kids are around.

— And 50% of those with kids said that having kids has made them think about leaving the industry.

Yes, you read that last stat right.

I love this industry and the chance it sometimes gives us to be boundlessly creative at work. The great people, the swerving, cartwheeling ideas we collaborate upon. I firmly believe that the combination of design and motion can in the right circumstances offer up something akin to creative nirvana. But there is something rotten here too. An industry so maladjusted that it renders itself potentially unsuitable for 50% of its workers who take on parental responsibility has one heck of a lot of soul-searching to do. But could this survey prompt employers to strike up a dialogue with staff who have kids or who want kids, to find out how to make it work better for all involved? Well, that’s up to you now, isn’t it? You have the icebreaker — it’s right here.

Posted on 27 February 2012 |

19 thoughts on “Work/Life: kids — the results

  1. When interviewing for some post houses, I found being asked the “Do you have kids?” question a bit disturbing.  When having kids puts you at a disadvantage when applying to some jobs, I think that’s a huge problem.

          • Don’t exactly get what you’re supposed to do when asked questions.  Many things are illegal, but what are the consequences for asking an illegal question?  How can you really prove you didn’t get hired based on an answer to one of those illegal questions?

          • You can choose to ignore the question and talk about something else that might be related.

            Maybe talk about how you are able to work overtime when needed.

            If you filled a complaint. The business would be investigated by federal agencies to find other workplace discrimination. 

            I would bet most places that discriminate during an interview also do it to current employees which would rack up huge fines, bad press, and more.

            Keep in mind you need to know exactly what they can and can’t say in an interview. They can sneakily ask the same illegal question in a different way making it legal.

            However if you want the job you’ll have to swallow the turd… whole.

      • i’ve heard many things are “illegal” when interviewing– yet they still come up whether through rounded questions or post interview conjecture.

  2. This just doesn’t apply to motion graphics. Have children and see what happens to all your time. Your life now belongs to your children.
    The up side is it only last for 16 years and it does wonders for your long term creativity. If you are planning on having children may I suggest investing in a render farm first, a complete system upgrade, updated software and a room just beyond audabile screaming. And oh yes buy stock in Pampers!

    • hahahaha, I’ts true, I have two, 4 and 1 year, I’m work home in motiongraph, my wife work out eight hours, and I sleep four or five hours only, too much Pampers hahaha, and now my life is different and complex, but impossible is nothing.

  3. I’ve got 3 kids & while I can’t say it’s stopped me from working in mograph it’s made me very hesitant to move out of the Midwest to LA or NY. I’ve got a great, family-friendly boss. We keep our hours extremely reasonable & I’m well-paid for this part of the country.

    The work is not high profile & rarely satisfying. But I can drop my kids off at the bus every morning at 8, go to work, & get home around 6:30 every day. If I need some flexibility with kids being sick, events, etc .. my boss is very understanding.

    I’m not blaming my kids or my wife for not moving. That’s my decision & I won’t use that as an excuse. I would love to live & work in LA. But in the bigger picture I’m not sure it would be what’s best for my family. And at the end of the day, that has to be my priority.

    Kids definitely change your outlook on life. And it’s unfortunate that there aren’t more family friendly businesses out there. I don’t know if that’s more an indictment of the whole mograph/vfx scene or what. Definitely seems to cater to younger employees who are willing to work massive amount of hours.

    And maybe that’s a whole separate question, budgets/time constraints. If clients are allowed to make unreasonable demands & someone, somewhere is willing to do it, I don’t know that anyone really wins. To compete, you need to do the same, which means putting in the hours to get it done. I’ve never been opposed to doing that for certain projects over the course of the year, but when that becomes your business model every day, every week, every month, you burn out your workers.

    The work/life balance is important & I find my creativity better when I can go to the gym, hang out with my family, play guitar, sketch, read, and really experience life. You don’t get that from sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours every day.

    Anyway, that’s my rambling thoughts.

    • I had to delete what i was writing!  You summed it up very nicely.  I’m from LA and tend to stay away from studios that have a reputation for overworking freelancers.  I came into this mograph industry with a kid on the way so I had to sacrifice a lot when I started.  But I feel now I’ve paid my dues in a sense and the days of constantly grinding into the late night are over for me (well mostly over..).  Nonetheless, thank you mograph for giving me a career in something creative!

    • Tell me, when you sleep eight hours… you feel more creative, true? :)  some times I need, some times I’ts necesary…

  4. Hummm,
    I hope some companies in LA, especially some that are the darling of this site read this and maybe start not taking advantage of their professionals. 

  5. The life’s too short, and the client don’t have time never and never, the client have hungry for time, but “my work demand the time that I need…” see Toy Story Two, the work of the toys/repairs is right :) If you don’t have time, not have time, life with children is to enjoy, if not, do not have children.

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