Q: It's almost summer, which in my company means family picnics and other such outings. Unfortunately, I work at a company which does not allow singles to invite a plus one unless they are married. While I want to attend the festivities and realize it’s important for my career, I cannot tolerate another corporate affair on my own. How can I overcome these unfair family-friendly policies?
You are not alone with your feelings of being underappreciated as a single employee in an overly family friendly work environment. Unfortunately, this is common but many companies are working on creating work/life programs that meet the needs of both single and married with family employees. Despite your feelings of resentment, there are steps you can take to make changes in your workplace.
I would encourage you to think about a strategy for suggesting events that are geared towards single employees. There are low or no cost event ideas that you can present that will help to create a single friendly work culture. Start to talk to other single co-workers about ideas that would be appealing. Some companies sponsor co-ed intramural sport teams. Another idea could be to plan a lecture series followed by a networking event. It’s probably not a great career move to boycott the next family friendly company event. A better option is to continue to attend the family centric events, as this is a great way to network with colleagues and senior management, and simultaneously take the lead and enthusiastically start to plan events that are geared towards singles.