“The enemy is within the gates,” writes Chuck Colson in Against the Night. “I believe that we do face a crisis in Western culture, and that it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome,” he says, and a quick read of the news at large may show that he is right.
Just two months ago Facebook, Apple and Google were in the news, not for pushing another product, but a plan — one that some people view as “sinister,” if not “deeply disturbing.” They are offering to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs. Yes, the ovaries kind. They won’t be putting up clinics in their 21st century behemoths to embrace a new culture, but they are funding up to $20,000 for their female employees to put a hold on their family plans, so that they can focus all their efforts to make life secure by seeking greater career paths, just like their male peers.
It is a well known fact that American tech giants Facebook, Google and Apple pride themselves on making their company cultures as cool as their products, like Facebook’s free spirited office in Palo Alto, where you can eat for free in their fancy restaurants and find free accommodation in their well-designed zones. While this may seem like these companies are offering their employees the dream futuristic job, they are actually wielding greater control over them and disrupting family life. What they’re saying is, we will take care of all your needs so that you can spend as much time on working.
For this very reason, the two companies have come under fire since it was revealed that their female employees are offered financial help for egg-freezing fertility treatment, a perk that should they choose to accept, offers an opportunity to balance their career and family aspirations. What Facebook, Apple and Google get in return is an extreme option to secure the best talent in the industry.
It’s not a surprise that these companies are receiving frosty comments from many people, most especially from females, who have dubbed the whole scheme “sexist,” while others have even deemed it “ridiculous.”
Career vs. family
“What they’re saying is, they want the best years of my life,” said a Palm Beach Atlantic University freshman, who works three jobs as a way to pay for her high tuition costs. “While everything they promise at first does sound appealing, they’re asking me to place the prospect of a successful career above the prospect of having a family. I don’t think I could trade one for the other when I see so many mothers today that manage to have both just fine.”
While this female waives the pros and cons, others are not so sure they could say no to Facebook, Apple or Google if they came knocking on their doors. “When I was in high school, it seems like I had my whole life mapped out. Marriage, kids, career and then life happened. I am graduating from college in Spring 2015, and I am not so sure,” said a senior from Savannah College of Art and Design. “In the hard economy in which we live, there is no question that working for one of these three technology giants would be too hard an offer to pass, especially for a young female like me, who will be graduating soon and will have tons of bills to pay. I am a Christian and trust the Lord has a plan for me, but it’s still hard to wait and see what’s waiting for me out there.”
Women like this twenty-three year old, are not content to simply take their chances, so they’re open to the option of freezing their eggs in order to have children on a schedule.
But, is egg-freezing a perk too far from Facebook, Apple and Google, even if it allows women to work longer with a higher chance at a better life?
Technology is an industry that is 75% male and pervasively masculine in culture. So, females are reading between the lines of these companies’ range of benefits, which include medical, life insurance, 401-K and a slew of services — free meals, home cleaning, concierge and laundry services — to find this answer.
Is it worth it?
No matter what the reason is for the benefit, the question still remains: Is it worth it? And if King Solomon were alive today, he would probably say, “All of it meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
“I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:17–19).
In a book that often seems to be a litany of all the things that don’t satisfy the heart, Solomon, noted as the teacher and author of Ecclesiastes, repeats the resolution that life is to be enjoyed. At last he brings the question “Is it worth it?” to an end. When all is said and done, careers may not offer us true joy, even though that’s the message that the enemy wants us to believe.
Working 24/7 and letting our employers control our lives by allowing them to choose “career” over “family” are not reasons for living. Our joy cannot be found under the sun, only in God. And the time to realize this is in our youth. Solomon reminds us in this book that we are to set a template for our lives, to shape our souls by referencing all of life back to God. That way, no matter what the future brings, we will know that the best choice in life is always to choose to be near to God, not to Caesar.