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Single women seek work-life balance too

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
May 24, 2012

Working moms trying to juggle a good work-life balance aren't the only ones hoping to squeeze more leisure time out of their days. It seems single women are also scaling back on the amount of time they spend in the office.

The Wall Street Journal reports that more single women in their 30s are stepping away from demanding corporate jobs that suck up all their free time, in an effort to better their quality of life and inject a bit of relaxation and fun into their days.

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This isn't news to Jayne Barron, a career development consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"Thirty-somethings, especially in Vancouver — a city that rarely sleeps and with rich opportunities for night life, scenic enjoyments and extreme urban activities (sailing, kayaking, skiing/boarding, hiking, trail riding, hang gliding, bungee jumping, etc.) -- have learned to create a work-life balance," she says.

"Many of my clients are focused more on landing a decent paying position first, because there are less options in the current economy, knowing they can shift that focus to developing a career once they have some stability."

What ends up happening, ultimately, is that dinners with friends, dating the new guy in your building and exploring new hiking trails gets pushed by the wayside. Plus, singles don't have a partner with whom to share household duties like laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning.

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The Wall Street Journal story cites 68 per cent of childless women would choose more free time over more money, compared with 62 per cent of moms.

It continues: "As many young adults delay marriage into their 30s while career demands intensify, many increasingly feel overloaded. Many set high expectations for themselves, dating, staying in shape, doing volunteer work, and helping family — while still getting stellar performance reviews."

But perhaps this paints singledom as a burden. Melissa Jeltsen from the Huffington Post criticizes the story for assuming it is dreary and laden with tedious chores. She points to a recent New York Times piece celebrating singledom as a choice and not an affliction.

Franz Schmidt, Toronto YMCA career planning director, sees other reasons why women may change career paths in their 30s.

"Over the past decade, we've seen a slight increase in women in their late 20s early 30s who have come into the YMCA Career Planning Program," he says. "Many times disagreeable relationships cause them to re-evaluate their current life situation and make the change."

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