Do you slave away at the office while your co-workers with children leave at 4:30? Why are you still there at 8:00 p.m. eating Chinese takeout at your desk?
There seems to exist, in much of the work world, a bias against single people. They expect people with kids to go home to eat dinner together. However, single people do not have such restrictions. They are sometimes even expected to pick up the slack for those who have families and can’t do it.
Heck, you may even be called in on weekends or holidays. Never mind the fact that you do prefer to have a life outside of work. You like to work out, go on dates and try new restaurants. However, those things tend to fall by the wayside as you are now chained to your desk. Maybe your health starts to suffer when you no longer know what the light of day looks like. Okay, this may be an exaggeration, but still…
If this sounds like you, you may have fallen prey to what Marie Claire calls, “the newest form of workplace discrimination: single women who carry an undue burden at the office, batting cleanup for their married-with-kids coworkers.
The article, titled “The Single Girl’s Second Shift,” doesn’t really talk about how men may be affected by this. Yet, women are typically known as caretakers. It may be hard, especially in a down economy, to say no to any project that comes along. Women have also been told that, if they want to succeed, they need to work harder and longer hours.
Perhaps it is time to push back. It may be time to reclaim your off hours as your own. It’s detrimental to just take on more work but earn the same amount of money. Nobody respects a doormat. It’s okay to say you’re not available 24/7.
However, there are smart ways to make your voice heard. Make sure your boss understands that your work will not suffer. Make sure they also understand how much you will take home to do. That way it will not look like you are suddenly becoming a slacker.
One caveat…it may not always be possible to say no. Some jobs have fixed hours and some will actually just fire you if you turn down a project. Also, if your work culture is such that everyone works long hours, be careful about standing alone on this issue.