Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Enlighten Your Workplace: From Speaking Out to Buying an Office Kid

There’s more than one way to drag your workplace into the 21st century

Maybe I should have waited one more day to express my exasperation at how dating and matchmaking and marketing and singles-bashing had crashed our National Singles Week celebration. Singles Week was supposed to be about consciousness-raising and social change, about how singles are living their lives, and not about the quest to become unsingle.

If I had waited until today, then I could have included Michelle Goodman's Nine to Thrive blog in the "true to Singles Week spirit" column. To mark Singles Week, she hosted a Q and A about workplace issues for singles. She asked about workplace policies, laws, and day-to-day practices and customs that do not measure up to standards of fairness. Okay, so the person she interviewed was me. Still, if she had interviewed any reform-minded person on these issues, I still would have blogged about it here.

When people think "single," they often think "no kids." In fact, though, 11.6 million of the 95.6 million single people are single parents. And among married people, it is no longer so uncommon to have no children. So the "single = no children; married = children" formula does not work in so raw a form. Still, there is a correlation - single people are less likely to have children than married people are.

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That, of course, leads to another whole set of workplace issues, as when co-workers with kids are often looking to leave early or take time off to go to dentists and soccer games. Why, some of them seem to think, shouldn't their single co-workers cover for them? Recently, David Bradley from Psyconoclasm e-mailed me with his tongue-in-cheek solution: Buy an Office Kid! For a modest fee, the merry pranksters at Office Kid will send you a picture and some artwork so that "you can do as your coworkers with children do - make excuses, miss work and blame it all on your kid." Thanks for the tip, David!

Returning to the less impish issues and solutions: Over at the Huffington Post, Page Gardner of Women's Voices documented some of the ways in which single women get hurt especially hard during difficult economic times. In Nine to Thrive and in Singled Out, I discussed the pay disparities that are especially stinging to single men. I've also discussed workplace, career, and economic issues here, here, and here.

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Singles Week Special: Give yourself or someone you know the gift of attitude - Single with Attitude, that is! You can get $3 off your purchase of the book between now and the end of Singles Week (September 26) when you order it from this website and use this coupon code during checkout: WR6PYUZQ. (You can also order it from Amazon as a paperback or Kindle version, but I can't create discounts on the Amazon pages.)

Today on the National Singles Week BLOG CRAWL:

The National Singles Week blog crawl is continuing. Today, Day 5, Maryanne Comaroto guest posts on Dating Advice Almost Daily. Tomorrow (Friday September 25), Laura Dave, author of the novel The Divorce Party, will guest blog here on Living Single. (I've already seen a preview and I love it!) The next day (Saturday September 26), I'll close out the blog crawl by guest blogging over at our friends at Onely. Those last two days of the blog crawl will be dating-free.

To read more about the singles week blog crawl, click here. You will also find a complete schedule of the guest bloggers and the sites hosting them at the end of that post.

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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