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Sabbaticals for Singles?

Canadian newspaper takes on singlism in the workplace

In today's Globe and Mail is a story titled, "Why is it single people get stuck working weekends?" Reporter Zosia Bielski takes on a range of issues involving singlism in the workplace.

One of the things I love about stories like these is that they introduce me to people grappling with some of the same kinds of issues we discuss here so often. Consider, for instance, Piper Hoffman, an employment lawyer, who told this story about an opinion she expressed about maternity and paternity leave during a class discussion back when she was a third-year student at Harvard Law School:

"My opinion ... was that if leave would be available to parents, it should also be available to people who choose to make some other significant commitment of their time. I didn't see any moral distinction between having children and having a life goal of, say, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or something. I was the only person in the room who felt that way."

Hoffman made the case, Bielski tells us, that "such leave could increase productivity, employee retention and overall job satisfaction." One of the aspects of life in academia that I deeply appreciated was the opportunity to take a sabbatical occasionally. Stepping aside from the everyday crush of meetings and classes and advising and supervising, and instead immersing yourself in your scholarly work, can be an intellectually refreshing and expansive experience.

I think Living Single readers will enjoy the Globe and Mail story not only for the issues it covers, but also for the shout-outs to familiar single people and blogs and books. Onely, First Person Singular, and Singlutionary are all mentioned. Steven Bereznai, a contributor to Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It, is quoted at length, and that book is in the story, too. (Yes, true confessions, I'm also quoted. I think the reporter talked to other familiar names as well, though not all of them are quoted.)

The singles sabbatical is not the only potentially controversial matter broached in the article. It will be interesting to track the comments that readers post there once they start accumulating.

[Links to other posts about workplace issues are here.]