Most of the reading I’ve done on the topic of work/life balance is primarily focused on people with children. Parents struggle to fit in time with their children because of their work schedules. They can’t find babysitters, don’t have family nearby, or don’t believe in daycare. Whatever the reason for needing flexibility because of children, […]
Most of the reading I’ve done on the topic of work/life balance is primarily . Parents struggle to fit in time with their children because of their work schedules. They can’t find babysitters, don’t have family nearby, or don’t believe in daycare. Whatever the reason for needing flexibility because of children, parents are continually stressed and fight for a work environment that is conducive to their children’s schedules.
I completely understand that mothers and fathers with children are juggling a lot, but what about everyone else who isn’t a parent? Or those who choose not to be parents?
When I started my first full-time job at age 22, I immediately noticed my work/life scale slowly and then rapidly tip to one side – the work side. Extra hours in the evening to finish projects, working weekends, or working from home seemed to become commonplace. “Normal” working hours seemed to disappear — at least for the employees without children.
But the thing is, people without children have family lives too, and they want to see those loved ones. Often this involves some travel and isn’t as convenient as walking through your front door every evening.
I have noticed that people without children tend to get discriminated against at work. People think: What do they have to be home for? They don’t have a husband/wife or a child. It feels like someone is saying, “Your life isn’t as important.”
I have seen parents make their own schedules or slip out early with no consequences. When people without families try to do that, it is regarded as unacceptable. Just because workers without children aren’t necessarily seeing to family after work, it doesn’t mean their choices shouldn’t be honored or seen as important.
If they want to leave on time because they signed up for a hobby, they shouldn’t be treated differently than someone who wants to leave on time to go to their child’s baseball game. Everyone should be treated the same way.
Managers need to recognize that just because an employee is not a parent, doesn’t mean that he or she shouldn’t place limits on work. But workers who feel their time gets less respect than people who have family commitments need to make sure they play an active role in getting what they want.
is up to you. Whether you’re leaving work to go to the gym or to be with your child, making it happen is your job. Is your work done? Can it wait until tomorrow? Have you communicated your expectations and requests to your boss and team?
Communicate with your boss and team about your hours, expectations and preferences. Don’t let assumptions get in the way of facts.
is the founder of , an online guide for young adults that shares advice and tips for transitioning into the “real world.” Diana is also the co-founder of , where she is a management consultant. Follow her on .