Single women are scaling back their careers in their 30s -- not because they are bogged down raising families -- but because, well, they just feel like it.
At least that's the claim Sue Shellenbarger made in a recent Wall Street Journal article. According to Shellenbarger, overworked career-focused singles want time to go to the gym, to have long dinners with friends, to be able to do laundry and wash the dishes and still get a good night's sleep.
The article references a recent study on women who were planning on leaving their companies in the next few years. Interestingly, mothers and non-mothers offered the same common reason: Both groups wanted to gain more control over their schedules.
It's not exactly a mind-blowing observation that women with children aren't the only ones who choose to slow pedal their careers during mid-adulthood. Some single people also just want to chill out and have healthy work life balance. You know, be human.
The article falters when it attempts to paint the single life as a difficult, unmanageable existence, where one is forced to live in filth and eat frozen dinners because there's no one around to help share household tasks.
Living alone is actually pretty great, lots of recent research indicates. Singletons go out more and are more likely to spend time with friends and family and do fun things like take an art class. They are also growing in number. Living solo is more common now than at any other time in history. There are many reasons why -- young people are delaying marriage. Many are choosing not to marry at all. More people can afford to live alone.
There are, of course, some people who live alone for the convenience, or because they looked for but couldn't find a partner. But, for the majority of singletons, they are living alone by choice. In other words, they just like it.
What Shellenbarger misses is that many singles aren't scaling back their work life because they can't cope. They're doing it because they've built a great life for themselves; now they want to enjoy it.
Speaking of enjoying the single life...
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