Workplace | Employment | Marital status | Equal opportunity
by Bella DePaulo
There are a lot of misconceptions about single people in the modern-day workplace. A former employer once brushed me off when I raised the issue of salary, telling me that because I was a single person with no children, my concerns couldn’t really be about money—after all, I had no one else to support.
Or consider the reaction of former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell when Janet Napolitano received the nomination for secretary of homeland security in 2008. “Janet’s perfect for the job,” Rendell said. “Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19, 20 hours a day to it.”
Too often, employers believe that single, childless people are emotionally untethered and financially untroubled, which means they ought to be free to stay late, travel on weekends, show up on holidays, and take whatever vacation slots married employees haven’t already claimed—all of which puts singles in a highly unfair (not to mention undesirable) position. It’s time that employers stopped taking advantage of single employees—and started recognizing the truth about their lives.
Single people have important ties to friends, family, and community