Recognize Discrimination Against Single’s
No Spouse. No Kids. No Respect! Does that sound familiar?
In today’s episode, I am going to touch on the touchy subject of Singles Discrimination. I can see some people out there, rolling your eyes, saying “Brooke, that is not a real thing!”
Welcome to “Day In The Life Of Happily Single”. I am your Happily Single host, Brooke Bevan.
You get to do what you want when you want. You do not have to clear it with anybody. Yes, there are some good perks to being single, but there are some issues that people are not aware of, that actually need to be addressed. The ones I am going to talk about today are discrimination in the workplace, in the governments and in society. I am actually going to start with the workplace because this is the one I personally have experienced. I am going to start with a story. Tell me if this does not sound like something you have experienced as a single person. For the people out there, who are listening, who are married and have families, maybe you need to take a look at your workplaces after this and see if you see this.
I am in a workplace and there are four of us. I am the only one who is single. The rest are, either in a relationship or married with kids. We have work partners, and my work partner is married and has two kids. We work shifts. I work at 6:00 a.m., she would end up working at 11:00. The other team would work the opposite days that we would work. We would not see them.
I was a single person, I was expected to pick up the slack, and that does not sound very fair.
My work partner, again married with kids, missed a lot of work. Her kid was sick, she had to go deal with stuff at the school, she had doctor’s appointments. She had all this stuff that would take her away from work, for her children. She, and her husband, would be fighting, and she would not come to work, because they were fighting. She would even come to work and they were fighting. What would end up happening is, I would end up having to do her job, and my job, to get all the work done. I would have to work late, or I would have to cover her shift and my shift because her kids took priority. Because I was a single person, I was expected to pick up the slack, and that does not sound very fair.
I am going to give you an even better example. A few years back, I decided to take a trip to Toronto for a week. Just a holiday, do some stuff out there, and just enjoy my life. The day that I was supposed to get back, I actually had an opening shift at work at 6:00 a.m. I knew if, let’s say, the plane was late or something happened, or I was going to be tired anyway, I asked my workmate to switch shifts with me. I would come in for her later shift, and she would come in for my early shift. I made the arrangements weeks and weeks in advance, so everything was good. I went on my holiday and everything was great.
On the way back, my plane was really late. We were stuck on the tarmac for three extra hours. By the time I got home, it was, I think, 7:00 a.m. I got a call at 7:45, asking that I come into work because my coworker did not show up. So, I shower, I get to work, and I am super pissed by this time because I made arrangements, so this would not happen. For my shift and her shift, she never showed up, never called in, never told anybody. I was rightfully pissed and I told my boss so. This was unfair, this was not fair! Why should I be getting called in at all, because she cannot be bothered to call in or not show up?
The next day, we again have a shift. I show up for my 6:00 a.m., and she walks in the door at 11:00, as nothing has happened. Then the boss says, “Oh, let’s have a talk in the office” and ends up asking, “Why did you not show up for work yesterday?” “Oh, my kid was sick and I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Brooke would cover for me.”
Brooke did not want to cover for you, because Brooke just wanted to come home and have a rest, before coming to work. No disciplinary action whatsoever, but I got shit for being pissed. So that is one of the discriminations that I have had. I had to do so much extra work because she was never there. The excuse, I always got from my boss, was, “Oh, she has kids, so it is to be expected.” It was not fair! I was so happy to leave that job after. Who wants to work two people’s worth of work, while the other person gets all the benefits?
That was the end of me actually working for anyone corporate, after that. I ended up becoming an entrepreneur because I was just done. That is just one example of workplace discrimination for single people. It is really disheartening, because we are seeing that people who are married, with kids, are getting a lot more perks in the workplace, in their health benefits, in their work-life balance, and being able to take time off for their kids, with no penalty.
As a single person, if you want to take time off, you get questioned a lot. “Oh, what do you do? It is not like you have kids to worry about.” It is like your priorities are not as important as someone who has children, or who has married.
There were a lot of times where I ended up working the extra hours, like the weekends, the holidays, because all my coworkers were married with kids. They automatically assumed I did not want to spend the holidays with my family and that really sucked. I spent a lot of years not having to go home for a lot of holidays. I was able to press Christmas, and that was pretty much it. It really sucked! Even wanting time off, I would get, “Oh, but we might need you because of this or that”. This just really sucked!
Then you would also have these big family events, through corporations, that were really uncomfortable to go to, as a single person, with all these people who are married with kids, asking, “Oh, you don’t want to come? Why not?” It is not my idea of a really good time, is to hang out with someone else’s kids, like truly.
We are seeing that it is not even thought of. Your human resources do not even consider giving any perks to the people who are single. Everything is made for the people who are married with kids. I know that they spent a lot of years getting those perks. I do not want them to take perks away from people who are married with kids. I just want you to give some perks to those people who are not married with kids, to give them the same benefit. “Oh, so-and-so gets 10 extra hours a month to go take care of the children’s stuff.” Maybe you should give 10 extra hours, no questions asked, to your single person to give them some perks. Come on, think of that. It is like, we are treated as second class citizens, at the workplace, and it really sucks! I am really hoping that changes, and we get to start opening some eyes that this stuff is happening.
The other one, I want to talk about, is in government. People say, “But government programs happen for everybody?” No, they do not. As a single, no kids, girl, I can tell you, there are no tax breaks for me. The only tax breaks I get are as a business, but other than that, there are no tax breaks. None, there is nothing out there.
When you think of a married couple, if one of those people decides not to work, they can split their income between the two of them, so they are paying less tax. If they have kids, there is usually a child tax, that they are getting a whole bunch of money back. They get all this funding for programs. As a single person, we do not get any of that. Nobody looks at that and we pay full price for everything. It gets really frustrating when I see people getting a huge amount of tax breaks, and I get nothing. People are like, “Oh, stop your bitching.” I am going to bitch. I pay my share, thank you, more than most. It gets a little condescending, sometimes, because I work really hard for my money.
Unlike a married couple, I do not get to split my expenses with somebody else. I have to pay for all my own housing. I have to pay all my own utilities. I have to pay all my own food bills and my insurances. All that, I am paying as an individual, but as a married couple, you get to split the cost of living. You get to split the cost of groceries and utilities, that is split 50/50. If I want to be able to afford to live, I have to either make a huge amount of money, and be able to live by myself, or I have to find a roommate situation.
Just to give you an idea of discrimination here, to live in the city that I am living in, I had to move in with a male, that I met for less than an hour, to be able to afford to live in this city. Is that a little bit mind-blowing? You see all these programs out there, especially housing from the government, for people who are disabled, for those single parents, for low-income families, for those with addictions, but there are absolutely no programs out there for single people to help cover costs. There is nothing. I tried to bring it up once, in a meeting, and I got to, “Oh, there are plenty of living arrangements out there for single people. You just have to get a roommate.” Again, you are asking us to move in with strangers, to be able to live in the city. How is that fair? How is that safe?
I am very lucky, I am a great judge of character, and my roommate is fantastic. I will put that out there. I have a fantastic roommate, but I would not have the opportunity I have, any other way. I had to move in with a strange guy in order to live, again not fair.
A couple of years ago, they had made available to families, food discount programs. You pay this much and you get to pick up all these groceries. As a single person, I could not apply for that, because I was not a family. I could have used help with the groceries at that time because things were really tough. We are seeing a lot where single people are not even registering on these government program’s minds, we are not even a thought. There are a lot of single people who are struggling out there, who need help. If you look at most single people, they are under the working poverty line, but because they are single, they do not qualify for any programs, because they are not a family and are not married.
I would really like to see that change. I would love our governments to consider these people, consider myself because it really sucked when I was really struggling. I was lucky I had a really good family. I had really good friends and I got through that way, but just the thought that the government doesn’t even think of us. We are not even a thought. No afterthought even, like nothing. I would love to see that change, discrimination in society.
Who ends up usually taking care of elderly parents? The single child in the family, the one who is not married. Talk about putting an extra burden on somebody. I knew a lady, who was older. All her siblings were married with kids and she was single, but because her siblings had families of their own, she was expected to take care of her father, and financially she could not do it. She had to take a ton of time off work, to take him to his medical appointments and all this. She actually had to, in the end, put him as a dependent, just to be able to get the time off work and the health care costs. It was a huge burden. She had no life and that really sucks. Why do her siblings get to go out and have a life and she does not? It drove me nuts.
It really made me think about preparing for the future. Of how, with my own family, who is going to take care of my parents? I said, straight out, “It is not going to be me.” Truly my siblings and I, had to sit down and say, “What are we doing?” Are my parents going to go live with one of them? Are they going to live in a home? What are we going to do? That is a private conversation, but a conversation we actually had to have, because I am not going to tie the elder years of my life to looking after my parents and not having a life. I do not care if you guys say that as selfish, I really do not, because why do my siblings get to be selfish and enjoy their life and not help with the parents? I have to give up everything. No, that is not going to happen.
We are seeing a lot of discrimination in certain areas that people just are not thinking of. It is really heartbreaking because we are asked to give and give and give, and not to be selfish, but everyone is selfish. I am trying to break the stereotype that being selfish is bad. Everyone makes selfish decisions, but I think everyone needs to stop and think. Discrimination in any form is bad, like across the board, for the racism, the sexism, the sexual orientation.
There is real serious discrimination for those, who are not married people, who are not getting anything. I would just like to see some equalization there. I do not want you to take anything away from families and married people. I do not. I just want to get our fair share and to be treated equally. That is all I want, across the board.
Just to give you an idea. I have been reading a lot of articles online, and some of them are older. This one says, “Singles Backlash”. It was in 1996, where this one woman had to make up a fake family at her new job so that she can get fair treatment. Who should have to do that? Then another one, in 2007, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”, was about two single, straight firefighters, who go into a domestic partnership, just to get the tax benefits.
This stuff is insane!
Even knowing that there is a word, for discrimination of single people, called Singlism. The big part of all of this is financial and work-life balance. Why are we not allowed to have these, when every married person with a kid gets it? We just want our fair share.
Another one is “The Dark Side of Being Single” from Psychology Today. Discrimination in the legal code, but it does not seem to apply to single people. How insane is that? Singles are being discriminated against and it is not okay. This is another one from 2019, “The Price of Being Single”, and this one is from 2015. I have even found research. Let’s see what this one says, this one is from 2017. So nothing really new is being talked about.
Even in this pandemic, single people really took a hit. When the pandemic first happened, they said, “Oh, you can only get in contact with people within your household”. Other than my roommate, that meant I could not go near my parents’ house. I could not go to my siblings’ house. I could not go to my friend’s house. That becomes a very lonely existence when it is just you. They had to change the rules somewhere to say, “Oh, now you can go to your parents’ place”. They had to change that rule. It was ridiculous, but again, single people are the ones asking just for fair treatment but make sacrifices a lot.
I would love to hear your stories, like the other single people out there. What discrimination have you faced? That is what I would really like to know because I know my own experiences and it sucked! Then to be treated even worse, after, when you bring it up. I would like to know anyway, and from the people who are in relationships, who are with kids. Have you seen singles discrimination in your workplaces or around in your life? If you have, I would like to hear. If you have not, maybe you need to start looking, because we do not want you to lose anything. We just want our fair shake.
I am going to end it on that because I could talk about these topics forever. I will tag some of these articles in the blog post. If you want to check them out, but yes, maybe it is time for some advocacy, so that we can open people’s eyes to how we are treated. Again, we just want to be treated the same as everybody else. We want some perks and benefits because right now we do not have any at all.
You guys have a great day and I will see you in the next episode of Day In The Life Of Happily Single.