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I always get stuck with the worst assignments – am I being punished for being single?

I always get stuck with the worst assignments – am I being punished for being single?

Q. Whenever my boss needs someone to work holidays or weekends, it’s always me. He says it’s because I’m single and don’t have the same family obligations. I feel as if I’m being punished for being unmarried – is there anything I can do?

A. Those bells you hear ringing in your head probably aren’t wedding bells – they are warning bells that you need to make yourself heard. Your gut instinct is right, sometimes people perceive those who are married with children to have more important commitments. It’s up to you to communicate your needs to your supervisor.

Sometimes, the problem can be easily resolved because your boss may not realize that the workload is becoming an issue with your commitment to the organization. Or, it could run deeper into the company culture. If that is the case, you may need to do some soul-searching to determine your priorities and if you can work with the inequities.

There are a few things you can do to determine if this is a solution you can work with, or if it is out of your control:

• Talk with your supervisor. He may not realize the toll the long hours are having on your morale. He could naturally hand the overtime over to you because you send signals that read, “Hey, I’m not doing anything tonight.” Don’t expect him to be a mind reader. Along those lines, though you aren’t married or have children, it doesn’t mean that you do not have significant commitments to family and other groups. Speak up!

• Unite with others. Find others who have had similar experiences to see how they have handled the situation.

• Depending on your state, marital status may not be a protected condition of employment; it is not at the federal level. Therefore, it is legal for an employer to structure work assignments and other benefits as they see fit. Demographic trends indicate that fewer Americans are getting married and having families. With fewer people marrying, it would behoove your employer – and all employers – to start looking at workplace policies that equalized the playing field for workers who are married and non-married, and those with and without children.

As Jesus calls each of us to analyze our life and how we are called to live it: some are called to marry; some are called to a vocation of service in the church; some are called to single life. Whatever your calling, it is important to live it in the light of Christ.

May your job bring you joy.