Many companies have become more flexible in making it possible for workers to take care of family matters during what would otherwise be company time ("Balancing work and family," Cover Story, Sept. 16). Technically speaking, many so-called fast-track jobs do not require more than the normal 40 hours per week and provide some flexibility about which 40 hours are worked. But management differentiates between the 40-hour-a-week employee and the one who freely works the extra 20-30 hours. By definition, this extra time comes out of family time.

Those workers who opt in favor of their families for whatever reason are frequently branded underachievers or undependable. They will likely end their careers earning at least three times less than if they had chosen the company path. As a former single parent, I chose the family track, something I have never regretted, because I know I have accomplished something of lasting significance. Magazines such as BUSINESS WEEK, which glorify the fast-trackers and their lifestyle, make it more difficult to choose family over empty corporate promises.

M. Darrell Briggs

Chelmsford, Mass.

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