When I started high school in 1967, the principal was a no-nonsense woman named Eugenia DeFazio. Mrs. DeFazio, as we all called her, had already been the principal for 7 years at that point. I think she knew every last student who walked the Dunmore High School hallways until the day she retired at age 67. She had high standards and she enforced them. I admired that, and I admired her.
In my writing about singles, I’ve often pointed to the big ways that singles are targets of discrimination. Singles are discriminated against in the housing market, in ways that are blatant and yet not recognized as wrong. They pay more than their share in taxes. Single men are paid less than comparably-accomplished married men, and both single men and single women have less access to benefits such as health insurance. That’s unequal compensation for the same work. There are more than 1,000 federal laws that benefit married people. And that’s just the beginning. (Other examples are in Chapter 12 of Singled Out.)
As I’ve been working with Wendy Casper on our chapter about singles-friendly workplaces and reading relevant papers, I keep coming across the phrase “work-life balance.” I do realize that for lots of people, work is something that needs to be ‘balanced’ with the rest of life. Still, an uncritical use of the concept seems to neglect something significant: There are some fortunate people who love their work. They see their work as part of their lives, not something to be set against everything else they enjoy.