The decision to have or not to have children is a profoundly intimate one, often impacted by a multitude of factors, and sometimes it’s not a decision within one’s control. It’s critical that such a deeply personal choice does not inadvertently result in professional repercussions or inequalities in the workplace.
For individuals and couples who choose not to have children, or for those who simply can’t, it can already be exasperating enough to contribute to a tax system that predominantly favors traditional nuclear families. However, when the repercussions of this choice or circumstance extend to their careers, the situation transforms from being taxing to downright disconcerting.
On the popular subreddit “unpopular opinion“, Reddit user u/Working_Falcon5384 argued that “employees without children should receive the exact same treatment as those with children.” This post gained rapid traction and quickly became a hot topic of discussion.
Numerous other users of the platform added their voices to the discourse, sharing personal anecdotes and experiences that resonated with this sentiment. As I perused through these narratives, I found myself gritting my teeth, confronted with the poignant reality of these stories.
1. Tired of it.
2. Quit over it
At my old job, the entire team but 2 of us had kids. All of the parents got to take the last 2 weeks off as vacation and the employees without kids had to work. One of the reasons I quit.
3. “No family”
I was once denied time off on Christmas Day that I requested months in advance so I could travel home to my family.
The manager looked me straight in the eyes and said “you don’t need Christmas Day off, you don’t have kids, you don’t have a real family!”
I was 25 and wanted to go home to see my parents and siblings. Not having kids doesn’t mean you don’t have a family. Fuck that mindset.
4. +1 for non-smokers
Agreed. Both parents and non-parents should be able to take time off for their personal lives.
I also think non-smokers should get regular breaks, outside of the current mandatory breaks.
I don’t want to take anything away from anyone. I just want to give everyone the same benefits.
5. Holidays are a nightmare
I was a department supervisor at a large department store and would always be scheduled the closing shift every holiday. I never had any of the major holidays off because I was the only one who didnt have kids. One year I put my foot down and demanded they give me Halloween off. I had to fight with the store manager, it helped I had kept every schedule and could show I closed every holiday for the prior three years. So they gave it to me to be off and when the schedule was posted one of the supes with kids came and asked me to take her shift. I told her no and that I had requested it off and she gave me shit because “I’m going to miss out on taking my kids trick or treating.” I still told her no and left, a bit later I saw the schedule had been changed. That person told the manager I agreed to work for her, when I went to the boss and pointed out I had argued for the day off she told me “it’s just one day….” So they took my off day from me because the “parent” bitched until she got her way. I ended up turning off my phone and not going in, they wrote me up for it but oh well.
6. Fake kid
I’ve had a fake 3 year old at every job. Only been caught once but the boss was such a self centred knob he didn’t realise Brian was 3 for two years.
7. What a terrible job.
I work in the games industry. When we were crunching, my manager (who was also sexually harassing me on the regular) would leave at his usual time because kids. Since I didn’t have a heavy workload, I went home at my usual time one day.
My manager pulled me aside the next day to tell me I couldn’t leave until the end of crunch day (11PM), even if I had no work to do, because it made morale poor. When I asked him why he was leaving early, he said, “Oh well I have kids.”
So I got to work from 9AM-11PM every day for months while my boss peaced out at the usual time every day. This was also while I was on immunosuppressants, which made me fatigued on a good day. I remember my boyfriend telling me one night, while I was crying from pain of sitting in a chair all day as well as lack of sleep, that my job was going to kill me. I think that’s about when I hit a breaking point.
Oh, and did I mention we worked for shit salary and most salaried tech workers aren’t owed overtime pay?
I quit a few months later.
8. It’s not an expectation
Absolutely agreed. I volunteer to cover Christmas and Easter mornings so that my coworkers who are parents can spend those mornings with their children, but the second it becomes expected of me just because I don’t have kids, that’s a no-show.
9. Punch in. Punch out.
I just say I have kids . Its no ones fuckn business. You’re there to do your 8 and that’s it. I’m not a person who wants to be friends at work, I wanna be able to come in , not feel like I have to punch you in the face, work good as a team and punch out. Anytime I’ve ever disclosed I’m a childless single female I’ve always been stuck on later shifts or being last. F that.
10. LOL ?
Me – “ I need to leave right at 5pm today I have a previous engagement to get too”
Employer – “ oh yeah? Did you buy a new video game? Lol “
Me – “you let Chris leave early yesterday, I just need to be out the door right at 5pm, not even early”
Employer – “ He had to pick his kids up from school, you can wait 30 minutes…”
Every job I’ve ever worked has cut SO much slack for parents, and the single and childless staff have had to suck it up – it so bullshit. Whenever there is a snow day every parent calls in sick, and if a single person happens to call in that day they get accused of being hungover or faking. Not cool bro.
11. Some compassion
I’d like an employer that understands staffs needs, being kids, pets, extended family, passionate hobbies, moderately dependent friends or whatever else. If there is no understanding of staff with kids needing a little priority with scheduling, it’s nearly always the women who are expected to deal with it. That’s part of why women earn less, and have more trouble climbing the ladder.
At the same time, other staffs needs needs to be treated with similar importance, so that they are rewarded for helping out for their colleagues, as well as their needs unrelated to children are heard and catered for.
12. They still have family
I am an essential employee and it’s always so frustrating to here people complain about so and so taking Christmas off because they don’t have kids. They still have family and regardless, if it’s their turn to get Christmas off they don’t need to justify it to anybody. They can sit at home by themselves if they want.
You won’t get any disagreements from me. I’ve had bosses use the “but you don’t have kids” excuse on me too many times when they wanted to wring extra time out of me
14. Don’t single childless people actually have MORE on their plates?
Yup, it was super annoying at my old place seeing boss give holiday and time off priority to employees with kids, like we all have things to do and responsibilities to take care of, kids or not.
In my opinion, it just shows that the work place is miss managed and there are not enough people to cover shit so they pray on the younger or child less employees. Thank god I changed jobs and now have a boss and manager that know how to organise work load so that we can take time off pretty much whenever we want.
15. No one is safe!
At a former job I worked with two nurses. My supervisor was always fair about rotating who got to take the week off between Xmas and NY. Butt that didn’t stop one of them complaining to me every third year when it was mine to take off. I would point out that I also had kids, but that didn’t fly, because her son was in daycare, and they were closed that week. My kids weren’t. I never let her browbeat me into giving it up, because I knew she would want it off every time.
Honestly I don’t think it’s fair to make anyone work major holidays unless you work somewhere it’s a necessity. Like Old Navy does not need to be open on holidays but the Hospital does.
17. Sick leave
Years ago, as a childless employee I was not permitted to use a week of my earned sick leave (I had hundred of hours bc I was never sick) to go home and care for my mother who had had surgery. Yet employees with a kid were allowed to use their sick leave to take their kid to a doctor anytime it sneezed. I’m still bitter about that.