Jon -- I enjoy reading what you have to say about working parents and people in the "sandwich" generation ... taking care of kids and elders, but one thing is missing: the category of "singletons" in the workforce (those of us without kids and partners). The perception is we're out having our fabulous social lives, dancing until midnight, and spending our paychecks willy nilly without a care in the world. This is sadly not the case -- we also juggle work/life/volunteer activities/friends/fitness/civic engagement/etc. I know it's not as stressful as juggling work, kids, elders, but that is the rub .. often managers tend to take us single folks for granted. What do you think?
Great comment, Amy. I try hard to be inclusive but it might be fair to say that I sometimes gloss over the singles' issue. There is also a lot in what you say about manager's tendencies.
One single-only challenge that I often talk about is for those that might be working in a suburban location. Far from a social hot spot, there might not much to do when the local area is populated with families and most workers just return home to spend time with them. I suggest to the singles in my office in upper Westchester County to live in New York City and take that reverse commute when being in the office is needed.
That one example aside, the issues for the singles are the same. As a matter of fact, the gravitational pull to decide to work more is strong while the family yin to that work yang might not be as strong.
- Recognize that working long hours is a career choice, but that you have many, many alternatives for the "life" side of work-life. Maybe even more than a non-single? You articulated many.
- If you make the choice, ensure that your manager knows that you aren't a complete 24x7 work person and that you do have a life and intend to find balance (and still do an exceptional job at work, you might add).
Photo Credit: elmago_delmar