Custard pies and lies!

What is work really for? If nothing else this week’s parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking has shown us the utter pain, horror and ultimate futility of selling your soul to the company. Watching those endless excruciating questions which so often left the man or woman in the hot seat literally squirming, makes me wonder whether anyone sitting in that room came away believing that putting your job, or your company, or your boss first is ever really worth it.



Surely, how ever high-flying your career there has to be something else to live for. But so often a little thing called money, or lack of it, gets in the way of our dreams. Taking time off to look after our families, especially for men, is a classic example.

The government has realised that although extended paternity leave, which came in in April, is a good idea in theory, many families just can’t afford the luxury of allowing fathers to take unpaid leave in order to stay at home to look after the baby. Now the think tank, Demos, has come up with an idea to try to make extended paternity leave more affordable.
It’s a paternity pension – and like all pensions requires a spot of thinking ahead – which may be its downfall. The idea is that fathers pay a monthly contribution of their salary towards their paternity pay, a sum which is matched by their employer. Once the baby is born they can draw on their papa pension to cover the lean times once their statutory paternity pay has run out.

Given that 12 milllion british adults still haven’t got round to contributing to a pension for their old age, Demos’s idea may be a tad optimistic, but if it ever did get off the ground it would at least give people the option of investing in some flexibility. It may also go some way towards making male career breaks more acceptable. However open-minded employers think they are, they still don’t like to see too many gaps in people’s cv’s, and enabling men to plan and pay for some much-needed time off might make them a little more open to the idea. And after all, after yesterday’s shenanigans, a gap in your cv might be the least of your worries.

Let me know whether you think it’s time to put a bit more emphasis on life outside the office, and how you plan to afford it!


Scary statistic of the day:
Rising food prices mean we’re all bargain hunters now – sales at budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl have grown by 17% in a year according to market research company Kantar Worldpanel

Deal of the day
Go on – be optimisitc – get some suntan lotion in, just you know, in case… Boots are offering up to 7% for your kids if you shop through Kidstart.