Work/Life Balance as a Single Adult without Children

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Work-Life Balance as a Single Adult without Children

It’s 4:45 PM and another workday is coming to a close.  Or at least it appears that the workday is about to end until your boss calls you and Bill into his office. There is an important meeting with a potential customer the next morning and he needs one of you to stay late to help put together the presentation.  Bill is married with a family and quickly explains that he needs to go to his son’s baseball game tonight. You are single without children, but you do have a friend coming in from out of town that you were planning to meet for dinner. Guess who your boss is going to nominate to stay late?

Research supports the perception that single adults without children do not receive the same support in trying to achieve a work-life balance. In a study performed by The Aucklander, 52% of parents felt they were achieving an above average work/life balance compared with 42% of non-parents.  The study also showed that 37% of parents said they experienced above average levels of job burnout compared with 48% of non-parents. A study performed by ResearchGate found that 32% of single adults felt their supervisor was supportive of their non-work issues compared with 41% of married adults.

In my own experience, I observed an inequality in the work-life balance between singles and married adults.  After graduating college as a single adult, I began to work for a large public accounting firm. The hours were long for everyone in the firm, whether single or married.  However, most of the assignments that involved frequent travel went to those who were single rather than those who were married and starting to have families. The firm also encouraged flexible work schedules, but in practice only those with families ever seemed to take advantage of this flexibility.

Perhaps, as a single adult, you are sensing an inequality in the work-life between yourself and your married colleagues.  How should you respond?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • If you haven’t done so already, talk to your supervisor.  He/she may turn out to be supportive of your activities outside of work and be willing to provide the same flexibility given to your married colleagues.

  • If your supervisor is not supportive of your need for a work-life balance, keep a positive attitude and maintain a good work ethic. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states that we should do everything for the glory of God. Having a sour attitude or not giving our best at work does not bring glory to God or lead others to Him.

  • If the problem persists, prayerfully consider looking for another job. Remember that as a single adult, you may have the opportunity to act quicker on a new job than your married counterparts. When I left the large public accounting firm, I was able to accept another position with a company 1,000 miles away. That would have been significantly harder to do if I had been married or had children at the time.

Dating is Way Too Serious

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Dating is Way Too Serious

I attended a Christian college. I lived with a roommate attending seminary. I’ve been a part of a large singles group. Basically, I’ve been in a number of Christian circles. And within each circle I’ve noticed a common thread: Dating is way too serious.

Maybe you can relate? After a date or two, a couple is considered to be dating. After a month, it’s a serious relationship. Within a few months, it’s time to start talking about marriage. (This is a slight exaggeration–but not by much.) It’s easy to see how one or two dates leads to high expectations in a potential dating partner. Every prospective date needs to be evaluated for marriage compatibility right away.

As a result, dating within a Christian group can become stifled. Some choose to date in secret until their relationship is serious. Others choose to date someone outside of the group to avoid the high level of scrutiny. Finally, some choose to avoid dating altogether unless they think someone is the perfect match.

I would venture to guess that most of us wish Christian dating wasn’t like this. Guys are tired of being turned down. Girls are tired of not being asked out. Why can’t dating be more relaxed and transparent? How can the dating culture be changed? Let me share some advice given to me that I believe will help with this dilemma.

Guys, the advice for you is very simple. If she is available and on your mind, ask her out on a date! Don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out if she is interested in you. Even if she does turn you down for a date, the rejection probably won’t be nearly as bad as you think. (And, if you are rejected in an awful way, she probably wasn’t going to be good dating material!) Don’t spend time researching every aspect of her life. You will get much better answers if you ask questions during a date. You can’t expect dating to be relaxed and transparent if you only ask out girls you’re ready to marry.

Girls, the advice for you is a little more unconventional. If he asks you out on a date, say yes! (This comes with a few caveats, of course. If he is clearly not living for Christ or you don’t trust him, it’s okay to say no. If he’s separated but married, say no.) Don’t worry about compatibility. The best way to find out if you are compatible is on a date. Even if things don’t work out, you still come away with a free meal and a boost of confidence. Also, like it or not, guys have egos. If they have been turned down several times in a row or believe you are going to say no, they may just avoid asking you out in order to avoid rejection.

Singles can’t expect dating to be relaxed and transparent if we’re only saying yes to someone we’re ready to marry.