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职场上的“单身歧视”真的存在吗?

更新时间:2018-1-12 16:49:57 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How to say no at work when you don't have kids
职场上的“单身歧视”真的存在吗?

Janice Chaka had spent her lunch hour organising a surprise cooking class for a close friend who was visiting from out of town. After getting stuck in traffic on the way back from the venue she ended up back in her office five minutes’ late from her break.

加尼斯·查卡(Janice Chaka)利用午餐时间为一个来自郊区的好友组织了一场临时安排的烹饪课。由于回来的路上堵车,她最终到办公室的时候晚了5分钟。

“I got asked a lot of questions and I had to stay and do extra work,” she says. “But I know if I’d been late back from taking my kid to the doctor, that wouldn’t have even been an issue, in fact I probably could have taken the whole afternoon off.”

"我被问了很多问题,最后只能留下来多干点活。"她说,"但我知道,如果我因为带孩子去看医生而迟到,那根本不是问题,我甚至可能整个下午不来上班都没事。"

That happened a decade ago, when Chaka was working in human resources in Guadalajara, Mexico. But the experience conformed to a pattern that she says was common as she forged a career working for Fortune 100 companies in the US and Mexico throughout her twenties, both as a singleton and while in childless relationships. Colleagues with children were also prioritised when it came to taking their preferred vacation dates, she claims, while fellow single or childless workers struggled to get time off to care for elderly relatives or were asked to go on more frequent business trips.

那是10年前的事情,查卡当时在墨西哥瓜达拉哈拉(Guadalajara)从事人力资源工作。但她表示,当她20几岁的时候,类似的经历在美国和墨西哥的"财富100强"公司中很常见——当时的她要么单身,要么虽有恋爱对象,但还没有孩子。她表示,在选择休假日期的时候,有孩子的同事也能获得优先待遇,而单身或没有孩子的员工却很难请假照顾家中的老人,或者经常被安排出差。

“The assumption is that you can drop everything or that you don’t have a care in the world,” says Chaka. “Actually, as a single, life is more expensive, you have to run all errands yourself and you don’t have someone to fall back on financially if things go wrong.”

"他们的假设是,你可以放弃一切,而且对世界了无牵挂。"查卡说,"实际上,作为单身人士,生活成本更加高昂,你必须独自处理所有事情。一旦出现问题,你在财务上没有人可以依靠。"

While it’s tricky to nail down concrete statistics that prove how much singles might be being indirectly penalised in the workplace, a recent UK study of 25,000 workers found that two thirds of childless women aged 28 to 40 felt that they were expected to work longer hours. Growing numbers of workers, academics and analysts are documenting the issue.

虽然很难通过明确数据来证明单身人士在职场中面临的间接惩罚,但最近针对2.5万名英国员工进行的调查却发现,28至40岁之间且没有孩子的女性中,有三分之二感觉她们的工作时间更长。越来越多的员工、学者和分析师也都在记录这一问题。

Corporate workhorses

职场"老黄牛"

During research for his book Going Solo, Eric Klinenberg, a professor of sociology at New York University interviewed hundreds of single people in Europe and America and discovered “there was widespread perception that singles became the workhorses in corporate offices”.

在为自己的《单飞》(Going Solo)一书进行调研时,纽约大学社会学教授埃里克·克林南伯格(Eric Klinenberg)采访了欧洲和美国的数百名单身人士,发现"人们普遍认为单身人士是公司里任劳任怨的老黄牛。"

“I met countless workers who complained that their managers viewed them as always available for late night and weekend assignments, because they didn't have children or spouses,” he says.

"我见到不计其数的职场人士抱怨说,他们的管理者认为他们在深夜和周末都可以随时接受任务,因为他们没有孩子或配偶。"他说。

“In a few cases, I met women who said that they had been denied raises that they deserved, because their managers believed that they didn't need the extra money as much as colleagues with children,” adds the author.

"我还遇到几个女性说,她们应得的加薪被取消了,原因是管理者认为她们不像同事那么需要多赚钱。"克林南伯格说。

Bella DePaulo, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, explores the phenomenon in her books and studies, and coined the word “singlism” to pin down the stigmatisation, negative stereotyping and discrimination against singles that she believes is widespread in the workplace and society at large. She argues that many employers are missing a trick when it comes to single employees, who, far from being lonely and isolated, are actually more likely to be actively engaged in their communities and have strong relationships with friends who “feel like family, even if they are not family in the traditional sense”.

加州大学圣芭芭拉分校心理学教授贝拉·德保罗(Bella DePaulo)在她的著作和研究中研究了这个现象,并用"单身歧视"(singlism)来定义这种针对单身人士的侮辱、成见和歧视。她认为,这种现象在职场和整个社会都很普遍。她表示,很多雇主在对待单身员工时都忽视了一个问题,这些人远不像他们认为的那么孤僻,反而更有可能积极地活跃在自己的社区,而且与朋友建立了紧密的关系,"尽管并不是传统意义上的家庭,但依然很有家庭的感觉。"

So, what should single workers do if they feel they’re being singled out because of their personal life choices or situation, yet don’t want to jeopardise their careers and reputations?

那么,如果感觉自己因为个人的生活选择或现状而遭到排挤,单身人士应该如何才能在不影响自己的职业和声誉的情况下加以应对?

“Don’t bitch and moan about your particular circumstances,” is the first advice dished out by UK-based business mentor David Carter.

"不要对你所在的环境发牢骚。"这是英国商业导师大卫·卡特(David Carter)给出的第一条建议。

He argues that “the answer is in the crowd.” Single colleagues should consider clubbing together, he says, to identify and propose changes to company practices that might benefit the organisation more widely, while at the same time demonstrating their own problem-solving skills.

他表示,"答案就在人群里"。单身同事应该考虑联合起来向公司确认和提出改革措施,给整个组织带来利益,同时证明他们具备解决问题的能力。

That may be easier to do than ever, as unprecedented numbers of us are settling down later in life or not at all. A 2014 Pew Report study estimated that one in four young adults in the US will have never married by the time they turn 50, while the most common type of household in the European Union in 2016 was that of a single person, according to the EU’s number-crunching agency Eurostat.

由于选择晚婚甚至不结婚的人达到了空前的数量,这可能比以往任何时候都更容易实现。皮尤2014年发布的一份研究估计,大约四分之一的美国年轻成年人到了50岁时都没有结过婚。而根据欧盟统计局(Eurostat)的数据,欧盟2016年最常见的家庭类型就是单身。

One technique favoured by Carter is a kind of sharing economy points system, tracked digitally or even using physical items like buttons, giving employees the chance to swap hours or tasks, and help others out in return. By making sure no-one goes more than five points into credit or debit, no-one should end up unfairly disadvantaged.

卡特推崇的一种方式是共享经济积分制度,通过数字化追踪甚至实体按钮来实现,从而为员工提供交换时间或任务的机会,还可以在帮助他人时换取回报。只要确保没有人能够获得超过5个点的积分,最终就不会有人获得不公平的优势。

“It’s not about what you’re going to use your time off to do — whether it’s bungee jumping, Christmas shopping, a date or taking your children to the school play — it’s just about being able to work your 40 hours a week when it suits you,” he says.

"关键不再于你如何利用休息时间——无论是蹦极、购物、约会还是带孩子参加学校的活动——而在于能在适合自己的时候每周工作40小时。"他说。

Carter, who allows his own own employees to work “wherever or whenever they want as long as they get the job done” accepts that the points system he recommends may appear tougher for larger corporations to implement. However, he insists that companies that fail to find ways to improve flexibility for all workers will ultimately lose out on talent.

卡特允许自己的员工"随时随地工作,只要能把任务完成即可"。但他也承认,他所推荐的积分系统对于规模较大的公司来说,可能比较难以实施。但他也坚称,那些无法为所有员工提升灵活性的公司最终将会失去人才。

“The dinosaurs died out for a reason. Unless you adapt and start to embrace flexibility — which is part of the millennial mindset — in terms of the recruitment and retention of talent, you will go the way of the dinosaurs,” he says.

"恐龙灭亡是有原因的。除非你能在招聘和挽留人才方面适应并拥抱灵活性——这符合千禧一代的思维——否则就会重蹈恐龙的覆辙。"他说。

Singled out

选择

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg makes a similar, much-quoted assessment in her book Lean In, sharing the story of a single woman who felt that going to a party should be considered just as legitimate a reason to leave work on time as a kids’ soccer game, since she needed to meet new people in order to eventually start a family and have kids of her own. “Make sure single employees know that they, too, have every right to a full life,” Sandberg advises managers.

Facebook首席运营官雪莉·桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg)在她出版的《向前一步》(Lean In)一书中也表达了类似的观点,并被广泛引用。她分享了一个单身女性的故事,她认为,参加聚会应该跟参加孩子的足球比赛一样,成为按时下班的合理理由,因为她需要认识一些新朋友才能最终组建家庭,拥有自己的孩子。"一定要让员工知道,他们也可以享受完整生活的所有权利。"桑德伯格对管理者建议道。

Other business leaders argue that offering equal latitude to all employees in terms of work schedules is easier said than done.

其他企业领导者则认为,要在工作安排上对所有员工一视同仁,只是说起来容易做起来难。

“There’s a difference in perspective between people who are parents and people who aren't. If you aren't a parent, you really can't see how that changes your life and your priorities,” says Jonas Almeling, a former entrepreneur turned Head of Innovation for a Sweden’s export and trade agency, who is a father-of-one.

"有的员工为人父母,有的还没有孩子,他们的观念存在差异。如果你没有孩子,其实就看不到这对你的生活和重点带来了哪些变化。"乔纳斯·阿尔梅灵(Jonas Almeling)说。他曾经是创业者,目前在瑞典的一家出口和贸易代理公司担任创新主管,他也是一个孩子的父亲。

“I would definitely not have the same flexibility for someone saying ‘oh sorry I am off kayaking’ compared to someone doing a pick-up from kindergarten,” he argues.

"一个人下班后要去划皮划艇,另一个人要去幼儿园接孩子,他们之间的灵活性肯定不同。"他说。

“But on the other hand, a valuable employee is someone who has a high quality of life as a whole, no matter what choices they’ve made. So, there might be a need for a wider perspective.”

"但另一方面,一个有价值的员工也应该拥有品质较高的生活,无论他们做出何种选择。所以或许有必要拓宽视野。"

Ten years on from that cooking class she organised, Janice Chaka is now a successful business coach, consultant and podcaster. She admits that she felt guilty, previously, for asking for time off when other colleagues might want that time to spend with their kids. She sometimes even felt the need to exaggerate her reasons for leaving the office on time, to avoid coming across as someone who didn’t care about other people’s families. But, having since quit the corporate world to work for herself, she advises her clients to avoid that approach.

那次烹饪课已经过去10年,加尼斯·查卡现在成了一名成功的商业教练、咨询师和播客播主。她承认,如果她在其他同事想要陪孩子的时候请假,就会感觉内疚。她有时甚至感觉应该夸大自己按时下班的原因,避免让人以为她是一个不在乎别人家庭的人。但自从离职创业后,她建议客户不要采取这种方法。

“You shouldn’t feel threatened or bad for having a work-life balance, regardless of whether you’ve got kids or no kids,” she argues.

"无论你有没有孩子,都不应该感觉自己在工作与生活之间的平衡受到威胁或不利影响。"她说。

Her advice is to thoroughly research any business you’re interviewed by, to find out its culture and policies in advance. More practically, once in the job, she advocates not befriending work colleagues on social media. That way, they’re not given the opportunity to judge photos of the activities that were important to you on a night you needed to leave promptly or a time you wanted to take a day’s vacation.

她的建议是对你应聘的企业展开全面的研究,事先了解他们的文化和政策。从更实际的角度来看,一旦入职,她建议不要在社交媒体上与工作中的同事成为好友。这样一来,当你需要赶紧下班,或者想要享受一天的假期时,他们就没有机会评议那些在你很看重的活动中拍摄的照片。

“Find a company that doesn’t ask – or doesn’t care – why you need time off. You can still get that promotion, not by working harder or longer, but by working smarter.”

"找一家不过问或者不在乎你为什么要请假的公司。你仍然可以得到晋升,但工作上不需要更加努力,也不需要付出更长时间,只是要在方式上更聪明一点。"

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