I totally get the desire to live alone, but I never have because having roommates/cohabitation always seemed like such an obvious economic decision compared to other ways to reduce living expenses.
The Onion put out a video in 2009 about an economic recovery plan that amounted to boyfriends finally agreeing to move in together with their girlfriends. I've spent a lot of time researching the housing market and macroeconomic reasons for its current distortion from historical norms. That video often pops into my mind when I do. The overall housing stock in the US has more than kept pace with the growth in population, but the reduction of household size and related growth in housing space per person has created a huge amount of incremental demand.
I don't think those are purely bad trends. My parents' generation paired off young and quickly, and the long term effects are easy enough to pick out in divorce statistics. But I do have to wonder how much of the economic woes 20-40 year olds face right now might be alleviated if the pendulum swung back a little in that direction.
Given the cost of marriage and divorce, it makes far more sense to live alone. I've been married twice and I learn this the hard way - twice too many times!
Additionally, the simple fact that is that woman are responsible for 80% of budget decisions which tend NOT be be things men would buy, so if you are a single man, NOT pairing off sudden save/raises your income by 5x if you don't marry.
Of course you are correct that lowered social stigma associated with divorce is also important. This topic must be difficult to study over very long periods of time, because so many things are going on (changing age of first marriage, reduced social stigma associated with divorce, women's liberation, changing religiousity, etc. etc.).
For some problems, this is indeed the absolutely correct decision - but it simply wasn't culturally acceptable in the past.
Musing out loud… I wonder how much TV has to do with the decline of shared households. Perhaps in the 1920s I would have happily lived in a boarding house with other unmarried workers. These days I’d have to really love someone to make myself subject to their choice of television programming, which is generally inescapable in a shared apartment.
This is my concern when parents say they require accommodations (less work and lower expectations of productivity) because they have children (especially when working from home); they implicitly assume that non-parents can and should 'pick up the slack'.
I don't assume that non-parents can or should pick up the slack. I expect all of my coworkers to be protective of their work-life balance and I'm dismayed whenever I see them prioritize work in a detrimental way.
Said differently, if you're upset at parents putting their children's wellbeing before your team's performance, then you should re-evaluate your relationship with work.
Neither is discussing "leaving early", both are discussing "leaving on time".
If you choose to work unpaid extra hours then that's on you.
This all comes back to the fact that everyone should be protective of their time. I’m single but regularly run errands, exercise, go grocery shopping etc in the “middle of the workday”. I get my work done. Nobody complains.
It’s just a matter of knowing and recognizing your own value.
Parents needing such negotiations may be a "hidden cost" that y'all aren't considering. Also, parenting is a ton of work so when I kick off the paid job, I'm still working 'til 9 most nights.
Out of curiosity, was there ever any situation that your manager would reach out and ask for you to put additional time because of an urgent requirement / situation?
Maybe you don't assume that, but the system built around parenting does assume that. A clear example of this is "new parent" time off. At my company, new parents can take 4 months off work (paid). So, if you work on a team of a dozen people, and 10 people on the team have children at some point, that means, at a minimum, 2 people are picking up more of the slack than the others.
No, the real issue here is that everyone is paying for this benefit which only helps a subset of the workers. Ordinary PTO—vacations and holidays—is available to everyone to use as they wish. Sick leave is only for those with medical issues, but statistically most employees will end up using it at some point and they all benefit from having that protection since it's (more or less) a random occurrence. But parental leave is not random; it's specifically tied to the employees choices, and some employees are not in a situation where it would ever benefit them. Logically, then, paid parental leave should be an opt-in benefit which employees pay for, not a default part of the general employee compensation package.
It’s not that parents have more leverage, it’s that everyone knows a parent’s threats are real.
Much more fun to beat up on parents than cancer patients, isn't it?
When my kid is sick, I take a sick day. When school and daycare are both cancelled, I take a vacation day. Everybody at my work gets the same amount of both, only I'm more prone to using up my sick time and using vacation days to cover illness. Single people generally get all their vacation as vacation, and their vacations are breaks from responsibilities. My "vacations" happen on a schedule determined by school, and it's a vacation for my kid, with no real reduction in my responsibilities. "Hidden costs" indeed.
Employee B: I want to go home and relax.
As your co-worker or your boss, why do I care in the slightest whether you're going home to take care of your kid, to smoke a bowl and watch a movie, or because a new video game was released that day?
If A, B, and C are all getting their work done in the time that they are working, I think equally of the three of them, as subordinate, peer, or supervisor.
A, B, and C should all just leave at a regular, reasonable time. And sometimes each of them has reason to leave early, and doesn't need to justify it.
Or, stick it to the parents: go out, meet somebody, have a baby of your own. If that sounds impossible, the problem is almost certainly how you're spending your time. Probably a work/life balance issue.
This isn't a binary issue. Work/life balance is obviously important for everyone, but where that balance point lies varies depending on individual circumstances. Employees with children have all those same obligations plus the additional responsibilities related to their kids. They receive more accommodation, on average, than employees without children. Performance expectations relative to pay should be the same for everyone regardless of their situation outside of work but that isn't always the case. If you need an excuse to claim time off, those with more excuses will tend to get more time.
But does your "need" involve a legal responsibility, as parents have to their children?
Thankfully, reproduction is thoroughly protected constitutional right. You'll thank me when my kid's taxes are paying for your social security and medicare. You're welcome. Because we live in a society.
But weirdly enough? There's a new law in Texas, and copycats coming to a state near you, that will legally oblige women to carry a child to term, even in cases of rape. So, the answer to your question is yes. Fuck.
> Said differently, if you're upset at parents putting their children's wellbeing before your team's performance, then you should re-evaluate your relationship with work.
Who are you arguing with?
If you think it's important to be a team player, show some loyalty to your team and demand better of your management.
> I expect all of my coworkers to be protective of their work-life balance and I'm dismayed whenever I see them prioritize work in a detrimental way.
I agree completely, as a parent. I don't expect non-parents to put in extra time. Kids certainly do give you "real time deadlines" that can't be moved or pushed out of the way, but I don't expect to work any less because of them.
Or at least that is the argument.. but there are a few assumptions here that aren't true. Namely, someone doesn't need to pick up the slack, the work will be there the next day in most cases. Someone else with kids might be around. If your boss is treating you different it's on you to call it out and move on.
It really doesn't. That's only the case in an abusive work environment.
Maybe there is a assumption up thread that it's a tech office job being discussed?
But many jobs, if you had to leave to pickup kids because a bus brokedown, a no-change deadline - and you were working the afternoon shift at a wendys. digging trenches for a sewer line, paving a road, processing a line at an ER - all sorts of jobs - I think there would be no choice but for others to pickup the work being skipped.
So I think it's very job dependent. Even some tech jobs probably can't just be postponed till the next day.
What does "[prioritizing] work in a detrimental way" even mean?
Is the balance not a personal choice? If I consciously choose to have a 90-10 work-life balance, why is that detrimental?
When I was in university, I did the 90/10 thing. When I graduated, I lost almost my entire social network. I don't want you, or the people I work with, to experience that. Non-work hobbies make you a whole person, more pleasant to be around, more interesting to talk to. Please don't spend the prime years of your life pulling for somebody else's dream.
"I expect all of my coworkers to be protective of their work-life balance and I'm dismayed whenever I see them prioritize work in a detrimental way"
I'm keenly aware of the effects of working all the time and that I'm in my "prime", even moreso because I'm remote.
On the other hand, I wouldn't be working a lot if I didn't enjoy it and think I was gaining something valuable from it. Being in my "prime" also means it's a great time to learn and grow because everything compounds.
Btw I'm not working 90% of the time, that was just an extreme example.
It's detrimental because it's unhealthy for you (c.f. consciously choosing to smoke tobacco products) and it's also unhealthy for your peers--because your employers will always prefer the person who devotes himself to service of the employer over balanced individuals who don't, forcing them to adjust toward the unhealthy end.
Only to you. Someone else may feel that 90-10 is a good balance for them at that particular time.
> It's detrimental because it's unhealthy for you
Working a lot isn't inherently unhealthy. You can be physically and mentally healthy while working a lot.
> forcing them to adjust toward the unhealthy end
Only if they want to keep up. I don't think about working more as "service of [my] employer", it's about faster personal growth. I don't expect other people to also work more, but I'm also not going to slow down for them.
Just as other people will take 2 hour lunch breaks every day to exercice or leave early for months to go find a new home etc.
To your point, these arrangements usually go both ways, and are compensated for instance by starting earlier or bringing some work home. But it’s far from being limited to parents.
I'm confused. What authority do you have to say that something has become part of a social contract involving your coworkers when those same coworkers had no input on the process?
By definition they get to say what is part of the contract, on behalf of your coworkers. They can still complain after the fact, but will need to convince your manager(s) to reverse the decision. If your manager doesn’t have that authority you need to deal with HR or whoever had it, but by definition there will be someone holding that role in your company.
Of course consulting coworkers on important arrangements makes thing go smoother, but it’s only consulting, the chain of authority doesn’t disappear.
If you're delivering on schedule and performing comparable to expectations then it shouldn't matter what hours you work.
I don’t expect them to pick up slack. I expect the employer to properly staff and schedule.
If they have not learned to stand up for themselves, that’s not on me. And if they choose to work extra (like I did when I was a newbie) then that’s their freedom to.
You can call them "suckers" if you will, or you can call them "nice people forced in a situations where all options suck in some way".
Some employers are better in managing this than others. I've been at one small company where I was just a bit too often the "go to guy" because I don't want to be the asshole causing my coworkers to miss out on family time; or that's how it felt anyway if I had said "no".
Some employers will consciously emotionally blackmail employees like this (although it wasn't conscious in my case).
This scenario seems like bad manager working with an insecure-overachiever.
It-least in software it shouldn't be hard to say no. Most of the time they don't "really need to get X finished today". If its so important why are they telling you last minute?
If you want to be needed at work, then great! Keep doing that. But if you resent being the go to guy on a regular basis, start by changing that which is easiest to change: your own behavior.
Easy way out here: schedule something after the typical end of the workday, even if it’s meeting friends at a bar.
I was actually fired for declining some night shifts at a different job once; and that was actually because I had obligations as a scout leader. These people were right assholes though for this and various other reasons (but I did manage to hack the barcode scanning machine there so I could program some toy programs on that when there was nothing to do during the night, hah!)
This is probably some context I should have added to my previous post.
> Easy way out here: schedule something after the typical end of the workday, even if it’s meeting friends at a bar.
So becoming alcoholic is the solution? haha
Either the company compensates you for working overtime and you want to do extra hours, or you say no and they can hire more staff or descope features.
There's no need to be scheduling events for excuses, just say no, its none of their business why you say no and you will get more respect by having boundaries.
From my experience management see people who go above and beyond as compliant suckers and will lowball them on compensation and bonuses.
Why is it hard? It shouldn’t be.
You say, "No, I'm tired and I've already worked a full day." And without waiting for a response, you stand up and walk away.
It's managements job to maintain expectations for delivery dates, not your job to work extra hours.
I've seen these people get much more work done than their peers (sometimes) and get compensated with higher salary and promotions. They might be suckers, or they might be prioritizing money or experience while they still have a lifestyle that can support it.
So passing judgment by calling them "suckers" seems kind of ignorant IMO.
I can totally understand this for someone that is paid hourly and wants to get overtime pay to have enough money to fix their car. But our context here is usually highly paid, salaried tech jobs.
If I work more hours I can also get more done. I don't want to though and that has nothing to do with children or family. I've never in my life worked more for free. I sometimes work more when something needs doing but then I take extra time off somewhere else. So far no issues with promotions or anything else like that.
All my bosses understood that this is a money transaction. They give me flexibility to come in late, leave early, have a dentist appointment in the middle of the day etc and I'm flexible too. Production is burning at 5pm? Of course I don't leave even if I have a date later that night.
EDIT for clarity: if someone takes a 40h job for 100k and works 80h weeks they have now effectively lowered the market rate and their own salary to 50k. Why anyone would do that is beyond me especially since I see the same people complain about "H1Bs undercutting them" .
"free work" is a really weird way to word what I would consider as learning.
They will be provided by all the children many parents including your colleagues are busy raising while having a job(or more than one job). We will all benefit from this one way or another, it's vital for any nation to maintain a healthy birthrate(2.3 per couple) for the same reason.
Ask yourself how you would respond as a manager, on a gut level to two different scenarios. One is a subordinate comes and says “I need to leave early today, my daughter’s the lead in her school play.” The other says, “I’m gonna dip out mid-afternoon. Tryna make the 4-20 celebration at Mission Dolores later”.
We can argue till we’re blue about whether this is fair or not, or the burden and benefit of making people for the next generation, and entitlement and so on. But at the end of the day, none of it will matter. You can’t change human nature, and people who care for young children will always be given a certain unique level of respect and accommodation in any society. Period.
"And you tell me now?"
> “I’m gonna dip out mid-afternoon. Tryna make the 4-20 celebration at Mission Dolores later”.
"Yeah, no you're not gonna dip out."
Note how you phrased "I need to leave early today" vs "I'm gonna dip out". Semantically they mean different things. It's also just bad form to dump these kinds of things on your manager on the day itself.
Not accurate. I expect management to “pick up the slack”. If the work can’t be finished in a normal work week then that’s not my problem (and it wasn’t before I had kids either)
However what you suggest is the exception rather than the rule. Instead one or both of the parents tend to work very hard and struggle to juggle career and domestic obligations, often to the detriment of raising their children. It's worse the lower the socioeconomic ladder one goes, too, because of the extreme physical and psychological pressures that build.
Single people benefit from having parents make the sacrifices and do the work of raising those human beings. They benefit substantially. And then complain about property taxes and supposed 'special treatment' parents get. It's petty and ignorant of them.
The only basis for saying that the parents deserve compensation for the kids' economic activity would assume that parents own their kids (and thus the fruits of their kids' labor) and can force them to work for the parents' benefit, but that sort of slavery is out of vogue in modern society.
"The only basis for saying that the parents deserve compensation for the kids' economic activity would assume that parents own their kids..."
That's an interesting perspective that is completely divorced from the context of this conversation--it's entirely irrelevant and non-responsive to anything, in fact.
It's still the kids' choice and the kids' labor. They deserve the credit for doing the work, and receive that credit through their wages. Society doesn't present bad (or merely unfortunate) parents with a bill when they raise kids who end up being a burden; the flip side of that is that they don't get a prize when their kids turn out to be over-achievers.
Most kids, over the course of their lifetimes, will end up consuming about as much as they produce, which means bringing them into society is not some grand favor to the human race on the part of the parents. Unfortunately, the rare cases where the balance strongly favors production over consumption (i.e. gaining wealth) tend to invite more suspicion than appreciation.
> That's an interesting perspective that is completely divorced from the context of this conversation--it's entirely irrelevant and non-responsive to anything, in fact.
The only thing "completely divorced from the context of this conversation" is this nonsense I just quoted. You claimed that parents subsidize the lives of single people by having and raising kids who then go on to produce things for single people. I responded, completely relevantly and on-topic, by pointing out that considering the fruits of the kids' labor to be a subsidy paid by their parents presumes that the parents own their kids and the fruits of their kids' labor, a situation most commonly known as "slavery". If they don't own the labor (and they do not—it's the kids' labor, not theirs) then they aren't subsidizing anything. Their efforts as parents are a gift to their children alone, not to society.
Surely that sort of information is need-to-know at work?
It's a tough balance, because if you don't allow the same perks to your childless employees, they end up being "suckers", working extra hours for no extra benefit. Conversely, if you were to eg pay them more, even for working more hours and being extra contactable outside of regular hours, it could be seen as discrimination.
It's not "hiding" anything, it's keeping personal things personal. I don't talk about my medical issues at work either. It's not hiding, it's just not need-to-know.
Show up and do your job, and then go home.
A few months later he and I were hanging out at a bar, the time gets away from us and I go "hey man don't let me keep you out here away from your family all night, it's cool if you gotta go".
He looks at me and asks "what family?" I am confused.
That's when he drops it on me: he's been at this company 5 years lying about having a family because it gets him out of doing off-hours work and nobody asked any questions, they'd just assign work to someone else. Whereas when some of the younger, childless, and more impressionable workers try to protect the boundaries of their off-time...well you see where this is going (if not: they would get talked into doing it anyway)
It's a kind of malingering that I found...honestly....kind of brilliant in a bastard kind of way.
It doesn't require lying.
- nobody being a parent
- parents being bad parents so they can be good workers
- any work dropped on the floor due to parents stays on the floor until they're back
Options 1 and 2 lead to worse societies and therefore decreased efficiency in the slightly longer run.
I guess the last option would work the best?
Overall it should be blindingly obvious to everyone that parents work way more than non-parents, at least for the first ~7 years of their kid's life.
Note that where I live, things like this will usually be compensated 1:1 (sometimes better).
Alternatively, you can vow to never take any service/product/support/technology from anyone of a younger generation. Then it would be fair.
Also, think of this from the employer's perspective: if parent's output is smaller than childless people it's in their incentive to hire childless people over people with families.
Everything else is freeloading.
Childless people already subsidize parents by paying taxes to public education and other children's services that they will never make use of. By your logic, parents should stop freeloading off the taxes of childless people and shoulder the entire burden of these services.
What you do now is to say ‘I pay the cab driver, and of course I expect someone else to provide the car free of charge so that I can take advantage of it. I assume it just falls from the sky’.
I don’t know where you get the impression that it’s for the fun of parents that kids get an education. Maybe it didn’t occur to you, but parents pay taxes, as do their children.
2. They will be compensated for the ass-wipings.
3. The majority of the children's service will be to their parents, not me.
So why should I give others a pass and do their share of the work so they are free to produce a series of systems to take care of them and not me?
So if you agree that ass wipers need to be compensated, you will surely agree that the producers of ass wipers need to be compensated?
But sure, as I outlined above, if you vow to never use a service/invention/technology/etc from anyone younger than you are, by all means, then you are indeed not a freeloader. How’s that working out so far (unless you’re 20)?
Everything is else is you freeloading and relying on someone else to do the work for you.
The unspoken assumption here is that people without kids aren't doing anything outside of their work that might be considered "work". They just choose to spend their time on different things.
Parents really aren't special.
Gosh this has got to be one of the most entitled attitudes I've come across in a long while.
But you didn’t answer my question: what is your grandiose contribution to this world? What do you do for others, without which humanity would go extinct within 100 years? Some open source project to organize your music collection?
And ironically, I actually spent many years volunteering as a scout leader and some youth computer initiatives shrug
On the other hand smaller food packages, for example, require more packaging material, more shipping weight per portion, some fixed organizational overhead per item, etc. Two people sharing a bedroom, kitchen and a bathroom is always going to be more cost efficient than one person in the same bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. Two people sharing a car is more efficient than two single people each buying their own. A family phone plan is more efficient to manage cost-wise for a phone provider since they only need to manage one account.
Well, it is the default, so it's completely reasonable for society to assume that. It's the default for historical reasons, but it's also currently reflective of the vast majority of people's experiences. If the options are "single household or not single household" and only 28% of households are single, that's not even close to parity.
Also, check my math, but: if 28% of households are occupied by people living alone, doesn't that mean that closer to 20% of people are living alone? That's assuming all non-single households have exactly 2 people, which of course is wrong: on average they have more.
Not saying it's unfair, just that it kind of sucks.
With 2 people you need to have a separate bedroom in case only one person is sleeping, a living room to have guests (we also use ours for exercise, which has on occasion prevented me from exercising when it was occupied, so ideally we'd need a gym room too), then you need an office for each person in case someone else is in the living (or in case both are working and need space), suddenly it's a whole 3-bedroom house and it feels more confined than a studio did.
The elephant in the room is that most societies actively want to penalize people living alone.
It’s not hidden in any way, the centuries old rhetoric is people are supposed to get into cis-gendered couples and have kids. There is cultural lag on allowing LGBTQ to get the same status, but our society will always pay lip service to helping single people, and strongly push for building families, whether it still makes sense or not from the population perspective (I have no idea about that).
Single elderly people are tougher problem, but old farts will just blame them for not having kids caring for them (physically or financially).
I mean, society ceases to exist if enough people don't reproduce.
From a pure evolutionary perspective the society and culture that prioritizes having kids is going to expand and grow compared to cultures that don't. There are tons of anti-natalist groups that existed and died off because the entire group died off and there wasn't anybody to replace them
This rings very true for me.
Where I live, and likely many other places, one bedroom apartments and studio apartments have a huge overlap in rent. Both are way too high, but it's absolutely bonkers that studio apartments are almost every bit as expensive. This is not a large city/tech hub/anything notable.
> The elephant in the room is that most societies actively want to penalize people living alone.
Overall I think people refusing to build families is less on the expectations (though it has a role, I concur) than the overall economic situation where being poor/"middle class" is just so bad, anyone that's not dreaming of having kids just understands it's a bag of hurt all the way down.
Now try to imagine a society B where everyone with a kid is penalized. Let's make it as clear-cut as possible: death penalty.
Which one do you think will continue to exist after a few generations?
Obviously it's not as straightforward for LGBTQ+, but it turns out - if not denied the right by an oppressive society - many are happy to adopt or find other arrangements to take care of and raise children. Win-win.
Only if everybody in the household is in paid employment.
Ask a sole breadwinner if living alone is 28 percent more expensive...
Where I am - I spend more on rent than some of my peers spend in their entire month. I’m not living in a lavish place either - just a 400sqft inlaw unit in the backyard of a 4000sqft lot. This is due to the lack of housing for single people and communities built around it. Unfortunately, many developers out there aren’t interested. After all - why go after a bunch of individual customers when you can target groups of customers just as easily? (Cost is effectively same to get a group of four to purchase than an individual - but now you can sell 4x more) These could be addressed but I don’t think our capitalistic society is willing to do such because the incentive structure isn’t there. They’re always seeking maximum profit and single people will continue to be pointless to cater to - especially since single people often will buy the group thing because there are no other options. So you can now sell 4x the product to just an individual - huge win. Rig the market further and support this fucked up system as much as possible. No reason to ever change this structure because it maximizes draining bank accounts. So while it makes sense for the companies - it completely fucks the consumers. This is where capitalism fails so often in the real world and deserves all of its criticism.
The most capital efficient kind of construction is actually the large wooden house designed as a fourplex. You also get more total rent & $$$ sold from multi-units than you do from a single family house, because multi-units are more land efficient. If developers were not limited, you would see a lot more of them.
I agree to some extent. In the end - I blame developers and the political climate of demanding that your house always appreciates in value... Which is beneficial for existing homeowners who choose to not move and for developers. However, it's not beneficial to those who do not own.
I think capitalism, a lack of social safety net, and people looking for anyway to get even a small win in our horrible system is why we see such unjust dynamics in the market.