If you thought that your marital status had nothing to do with how well you do your work — or even how you interact with your co-workers — think again. Sooner or later, the fact that you are the only free person in a sea of shackled employees is going to become disturbingly apparent, and in some cases, it might even mean more work or less status for you. And if you’re looking for the workplace to be your dating pool, there are even more dangers.
It’s not the end of the world, but it can be pretty annoying. With that in mind, it’s probably better to know what you’re dealing with, right?
Here are a few signs you’re the only single person in the office.
1. Happy Hour = Sappy Hour
What would a workspace be like if its employees didn’t cut loose from time to time and go get blasted at the local bar? That still happens with a married crowd, but instead of spending your time scoping out the possibilities — or perhaps even dancing — with the other patrons, you spend your evenings helping your co-workers through their latest relationship crises. And when they’re not crying into their beers about how bad they have it at home, they’re telling you about their ridiculously boring sex lives, or worse, showing off endless pictures of their kids. Take note here: If you’re spending your free time with a bunch of non-single people, you really have to find a better way to spend your evenings.
2. Dinner Party Invites? Nope
One of the worst parts about being single is the fact that often, married and coupled people think you’re an evil pariah out to steal their significant others. Sadly, that often also means you’re the odd person out when it comes to social gatherings. For some people, it’s all just too uncomfortable to handle, so they just choose not to invite you to said gatherings. If you hear rumblings around the office about a dinner party that everyone seems to be invited to, but you have yet to receive your invitation, there’s a good chance that you’ve become a victim of singledom. In other words, your co-workers feel too uncomfortable laying out an odd number of place settings at the dinner table. And they’re worried you’ll steal their spouse.
3. Your Dog Photos Get no Mileage
You love your pooches. It’s obvious that you do, by the elaborate photo shoots you’ve put them through, and the Christmas card you send out, with them posing in Santa hats. But look around you. Does anyone else even have one single photo of their dogs populating their cubicles? No? Oh yeah, that’s because the other people in the office are populating their cubicles with photos of other people. Meaning they have someone to go home to. Someone that actually talks.
4. You’ve Got Stuff to Do
Then again, as a single person you might have a lot more going on your social calendar than the rest of the workforce. If the rest of your co-workers are looking forward to that next happy hour as if it’s a royal ball that happens only once every five years, it might be that they don’t get a chance to get out much. If you start to suspect that you’re the only single person around, try not to rub it in that that happy hour was just a prelude to the fun and excitement of later in the evening. (Not that they do have stuff to do, but it just might not involve exciting parties.)
5. You Actually Give a Crap About Your Appearance
Do you pride yourself on being the smartest-dressed person in the office? If you’re the type who actually spends time styling your hair, coordinating your outfits and perhaps even pressing them to make them look as good as possible, good on you for making the effort. Looking good is a way to show your bosses you care about your reputation and that you’re upwardly mobile.
But wait — why doesn’t anyone else around you seem to get the memo about looking good, equaling feeling good? There’s a good chance they’re married. Read: They’ve given up. When you have the “old ball and chain” to rely on, you no longer have to worry as much about whether those brown shoes go with a black suit, or whether your hair was in dire need of a cutting last quarter. Someone loves you and is legally bound to stick by your side, so why bother with silly things like caring about one’s appearance? But fear not, dear single one. On this front, you’re definitely in the right camp. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
6. You Can’t Take the Family Pass
Having a hard time getting your boss to approve that time off? Denied the chance to skate out early to catch your nephew’s soccer game? As a single person surrounded by people who have their own kids and their own spouses to worry about, there’s a good chance you’re getting absolutely no sympathy when it comes to letting your personal life invade your professional one. Married people — especially those with kids — just tend to get hassled less when it comes to needing additional time off. I think the theory there is that they didn’t get sympathy or any special passes when they were young and single, so why should you get them now.
7. You’re the Only One Hungover
If you are indeed the only one with a full social calendar, then you may also be the only one phoning it in at work on the days following a big event. As is the case with most hangovers, it’s best to hide the ugly truth to the best of your abilities. You’re not going to get any sympathy with this crowd.
8. You Get the Extra Work
Oh yeah — speaking of not getting any sympathy when it comes to time off…it can get worse. Not only you might not be able to get time off for every little thing, like the parents in your workplace, but you might also have to cover for those parents when they are able to take time off to attend little Johnny’s soccer game. If you find yourself being targeted for all kinds of extra work that seems way out of your original job description, it could once again be a sign that your bosses see you as the easy target who has nothing better to do with their life. Because as a single person, what else do you have to do besides be a slave to your employer?
9. You’re the Target of Frequent Setups
If there’s one thing that married people like to do more than go to happy hour and complain about their spouses, it’s setting up their single friends. They may no longer be able to play the field themselves, but they can certainly shop you around to every sad single person they know! If you’re the only single person in the workplace, chances are your co-workers are not even going to be subtle about it. They’ll be on such a serious mission to get you hitched that they may even come to you with a list of pros and cons for their various candidates. Since they’re so miserably hitched, certainly you’re willing to take nearly anyone to end your stint in the single world, right?
Being single is not the end of the world, and for lots of people, it’s the preferred way to be. It’s just that in some workplaces, you’re going to be the odd person out.