Maybe it's time to get hitched. Sure, bachelors aren’t tied down by a wife and kids. But they may still be in a demanding relationship—with t...
Sure, bachelors aren’t tied down by a wife and kids. But they may still be in a demanding relationship—with their boss. Single people often feel expected to work more hours than employees who are married with children, a new study from the University of Texas reveals.
“People feel that setting boundaries because of children or a spouse is a legitimate excuse,” says study author Wendy Casper, Ph.D. “But they may feel that the things single people do outside of work aren’t legitimate.” The irony is that unattached employees cited “family” as their number one priority—not personal time, friends, hobbies, or even dating.
What about work? Less than a third of unwed workers rated their jobs as “extremely important.” One explanation: They believe their personal lives don’t matter to their company. When this happens, “people become less committed,” explains Casper. “They feel like, ‘Why should I give when I’m not getting anything back?’”
Single and struggling to set office boundaries? Try these tactics:
1. Consult the Big Guy
Chances are, your boss doesn’t have a personal vendetta against single guys (although he may be a little jealous). Sometimes, it just seems logical for bachelors to take the long business trips or the undesirable shifts. “Be clear what your needs are, but still be accommodating,” says Casper. Read: Don’t issue a blanket demand, like never working a holiday again. Instead say, “I’m happy to work Thanksgiving, but Christmas is a really big deal to my family. I’d like that day off.”
2. Learn to Be Vague
Tempted to brag that you have a hot date tonight? Don’t. Simply tell your supervisor, “I have an appointment that I can’t miss, so I won’t be able to stay late.” One warning: “Don’t adopt the same pattern as people with kids—never being willing to stay and help out,” says Casper. “Be flexible.”
3. Take Your Lunch
If you camped in your cube last week, indulge in hour-long lunches after the deadline has passed. Even better, grab a bite outside the office with a non-work friend, says Casper. That way, you feel socially compensated for your late nights the week before.
4. Ban Bitterness from Your Office
Reframe occasional inconvenience as a ladder-climbing move: “There are career benefits for accepting more work,” says Casper. “You’ll get the payback eventually. You’ll get the promotion or the raise.” Do it while you can.
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