WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUN. 13, 2015
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The Professional Effects of Being Single

So, you haven’t had human contact for the past three months. You shy away from social gatherings, places of entertainment and anywhere else other humans might gather. But it’s fine: you speak to yourself for company, your teacup Yorkshire Terrier keeps you warm on the coldest nights, and the internet is bottomless of, well, images of human intimacy. You’re doing pretty well for yourself, by yourself, but what if I told you that being single can both help and hurt your professional life? Let’s take a look at some of the professional effects of being single.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Are Still Single

It Depends: Are You Male Or Female?

First, I would like to state that it is not me, your humble and brilliant author, that is sexist, but society and the standards it abides by. If you are a man – especially a married man or at least in a long-term relationship –this could help you on your way to professional success. It shows dedication, loyalty and stability (even if you are having three different affairs and doing “just hand stuff” with your receptionist).

Transversely, though, if you are a woman in a long-term relationship or even married, you can be perceived as money-hungry, selfish and uncompromising. Really? Yup, there are numerous examples all over the internet testifying to this. Just to add insult to sexism, it is also assumed that a married or committed woman will want to procreate, eventually resulting in loss of working days and leaving your position unmanned. Gosh, even the term “unmanned” sounds sexist at this point.

Continued (Unfortunately)

Again, this is not me – don’t shoot the messenger. The job market is a man’s world. The alpha male is dominant and tries to display authority at every given moment. OK, so keep that in mind as I make my next, sad and pitiful point: the possibility of sex for a superior might influence their perception of you. It’s just the promise of intercourse, though; if you actually do have sex, then you’re exposing yourself to a world of hurt, disrespect and even job loss. Great little caveat, isn’t it? As if I could lose any more faith in humanity…

FREEEEEEDOOOOOM!

In the same vein as Mel Gibson’s depiction of William Wallace, being single is absolute freedom. Not having someone to consider when making decisions means that you can freely pursue professional opportunities, and put in the extra hours that’ll help you get noticed and relocated on a moment’s notice. You have no obligation to anyone but yourself. Just as anything in this crazy, mixed up world, though, it’s a double-edged sword. Let’s say you leave sunny Florida for an amazingly well-paid job in the Eurasian Steppe. Sure, you’ll be getting paid three times the amount of money you were making in Florida, living rent-free in a roomy yurt, have medical (in the form of a tribal shaman), and learn Mongolian. At the same time, though, you’ll have to deal with frigid temperatures, little water, and very little human interaction. On the other hand, you’re pretty used to having very minimal human interaction. But because you’re single, you acted on an impulse, and that might blow up in your face.

Being a Lone Wolf Can Further Your Career

There are a few reasons why single people get ahead at a faster pace than people in long-term relationships. Due to their marital status (shouldn’t it be non-martial status?), single people are much more sociable and open to meeting new people. It’s inherent with being single that you ‘got to put yourself out there’, you are ’single and ready to mingle’, and so forth. Well, the funny thing about socializing is that it works just like networking and the funny thing about networking is that it helps you get better jobs, promotions and the nicest stationary in the cubicle farm (thanks Judy *wink, finger guns, tongue click*).

Solitude Helps Creativity and Social Engagement

An NYU researcher, Eric Klingenberg, coined the term ‘restorative solitude’ and observed that individuals that spend time alone actually are engaged more when they go back into society. It’s also immensely important for creativity and as a testament we have a slew of artists, writers and even scientists that forewent human interaction to work on their passion projects. So, maybe if you want to write that book you’ve always been talking about, you might need to lock yourself in a dark room for a few weeks (I wish I had enough faith in you not to state this, but I don’t want to get sued: don’t do that – it might result in some horrible condition as a result of Vitamin D deficiency or something equivalent. Just don’t talk to anyone more than you need to get you fed and outside).

Single People Are Healthier (Or at Least Try to Be)

On average, individuals that tie the knot gain a significant amount of weight in their first four years of marriage. It is also probable that they will forego the gym to the point where over 60 percent of both married men and women don’t even get the minimum 150 minutes of exercise a week. On the other hand, single men and women are much more likely to watch their diets, exercise and generally care about their wellbeing and looks. SWOOOOOSH! That’s the sound of that double-edged sword being swung wildly around by reality again because, on the other hand, people in long-term relationships were found to recover quicker after major surgery, had a more optimistic outlook post-op, and were three times less likely to die. So, yeah.

It’s Not About Quantity But Quality (of the Sexual Type)

As mentioned in another one of my articles, sex is a pretty great activity and, even though single people have less of it compared to their married and relationship-embroiled counterparts, the little they do have is better. Also, the hormones that keep you looking young (testosterone, estrogen and some other cocktails of feel-good stuff the body produces) are higher in a ‘courtship relationship’ opposed to a long-term relationship. So, even though you might think that the dating game is taxing, it’s keeping you looking young, but – SOOOOOSH! There’s that damn sword again. The unfortunate dichotomy here is that single people are at a higher risk for heart disease than individuals that are in a long-term relationship.

See Also: Top 10 Accoutrements of a Young (Single) Professional

I think that most of the information and studies about singledom vs. long-term relationships are general and all-encompassing; every relationship is different and, beyond that, every individual and their experiences are different, too. So, do what you feel is right for you. If you are miserable being single, find someone to make miserable; if you feel that being in a relationship holds you back, just step back and reevaluate. If you would like to add to this topic, feel free to leave your comments in the section below!

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