I know I spend a lot of time lamenting the drawbacks of being single, however, today I recognized one of the benefits of being single in a work world where I am surrounded by married individuals. My boss pulled me into his office because he was looking for some insight. As the resident young single, I can offer a perspective my coworkers can’t. I represent a different target demographic and have the time to experience more things in the community, giving me a professional advantage in a sense.
We often look at people who have sacrificed family for career and pity them. I think we can learn from them. We don’t have to necessarily give up getting married and having children if that’s what we want, but why not embrace the opportunities we have before we settle down? I have the time to be a part of professional organizations and volunteer on committees that will give me the experience I need to further my career. Through these activities I also meet people who may play a role in helping me find future job opportunities.
Married people can do these things as well (as my young professionals organization illustrates) but being single makes it easier. I also, very humbly, feel that single people tend to be more interesting in professional environments. We all know how often parents talk about their kids. I don’t blame them necessarily; your children should be a very important part of your life. However, there is a time and place for discussions of potty training and temper tantrums and a legislative panel breakfast or a business mixer is not that time.
I used to think that married people were better at engaging their colleagues than parents, but I have discovered that is not the case. Instead of discussing their kids, married people without children are fixated on their spouses, their weddings and their future plans for having children. I will admit there are plenty of married couples who can have intelligent conversations outside of these topics, but the number who can’t astounds me. Even people who I respected for their level of independence and individuality are now updating their Facebook statuses solely with tales of how their spouse has made them happy on that particular day.
But I digress. My point here is: make the most of the time you have when you are single. Use this time to focus on your career and cultivate your individual worth. Because chances are, someday you too will become one of those annoying married people who professionals do not want to be around.