Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life!: Marley and life

Just out on DVD and more about dogs than people, “Marley & Me” tells a rather unhappy story of work life.

I was surprised that no previous commentary on the film noted what happened to the careers of the husband and wife who raised Marley, the yellow Lab. 

As many Labrador retrievers can be, Marley was incorrigible and a character.  But he also had Lab strength of character, protective and caring of children, and great for exercising the adults in his family. With a 100-pound dog, forget the treadmill.

Marley’s “mom” (Jennifer Aniston) was a prominent feature writer for a daily newspaper and his “dad” (Owen Wilson) was initially an investigative reporter.  When mom and dad had babies of their own (three to be exact), their careers took drastic right turns. 

Aniston gave up her career totally for the mommy track, and Wilson (portraying John Grogan) gave up his job as a reporter because it required travel. He became a columnist filing articles just twice a week. Of course, in real life, Grogan wrote the book on Marley that became a best-seller.

In the movie, it wasn’t clear how they managed to afford their lifestyle on one, almost part-time, income. More importantly, it wasn’t clear why they didn’t try to bring some work life balance into play rather than give up work.

Kids and dogs make life challenging and sometimes stressful, but also fun and meaningful.  Private companies striving to retain and recruit valuable employees recognize the need for work life balance. The key benefits are flexible hours and flexible workplaces such as telework. 

Government is catching on. Legislative proposals being considered by the Congress this week would provide paid parental leave for birth or adoption of babies. Another would expand telework, a benefit that the Office of Personnel Management is also promoting. 

I’m waiting for a movie that shows some work life heroes – families with kids and dogs and jobs. But then, life as a fed is a balancing act every day. 

Posted by Judith Welles on Jun 02, 2009 at 12:12 PM


  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.