Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans – S4 EP9: “It’s Not OK to Be Single at Work”

“It’s Not OK to Be Single at Work” Brief Summary:

Are you single? Are you the one that is typically asked to stay late or work on last minute projects in the workplace, because you are single? Do you feel heavily discriminated against in the workplace because you are single? In this Inspired Action for Imperfect Humans podcast episode Christopher and Kyle tell their stories of being single in the workplace, and why “it’s not ok to be single in the workplace”.

“You know, where we saw this singlism come out fervently in the last two years? During COVID, because there were more exceptions made for people who were working at home with children.”


  • Introduction
  • Being single in the workplace
  • Singlism; what is it?
  • An example of discrimination against a single person
  • The gender wage gap

Calls to Action:

Even before the remote workforce evolution, office culture was inherently fragile. After all, it’s made up of imperfect humans interacting with other imperfect humans. And while perfection isn’t the goal, we all secretly wish for a workplace where people find ways to bring out the best in each other. Unfortunately, that’s not always an intuitive skill. It takes guidance, practice, and then more guidance and practice… but with the right leadership, it’s definitely achievable. How do you enhance your workforce’s ability to engage, collaborate, and adapt in this volatile and uncertain reality? Get the answers to your culture questions when you setup a complimentary Discovery Session with Kyle Kalloo at

Not loving your career? Feel you need a change in your job? Let’s Strategize! Book a complimentary Strategy Session with Christopher Lawrence here:

Tell us your “inspired stories” stories by visiting

Christopher Lawrence LinkedIn:

Kyle Kalloo LinkedIn:

Change My Life Coaching & Change My Business Coaching LinkedIn:

Looking to create a corporate coaching culture? Reach out to Kyle Kalloo: [email protected]


“It’s Not OK to Be Single at Work” Transcript:

[00:00:00] You know, where they saw, um, uh, this, this, um, piece of Singleton single or singleism come out, um, uh, fervently in the last, uh, two years was during COVID because there were more exceptions made for people who were working at home with children. Is the thought of being imperfect, keeping you from taking action.

Welcome to inspired action for imperfect humans. Each week, we give you real life stories and thought provoking research that inspires your soul to live a more fulfilled life through your own actions. From the heart of Calgary Canada. Here are your hosts award winning coaches, Christopher Lawrence and Kyle.

Kalloo good morning to you. My dear.

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. We’re starting. Good morning. [00:01:00] Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, boys, and girls, and anyone in between, or what have you welcome to another exciting week of inspired action for imperfect humans. And that’s kind of what we are. So can we just go back to how you started today’s podcast?

Well, yeah, I want it. I want to talk about this girl because you are single and you’ve been single for a long time. Like your whole life. You’ve had two long-term relationships, both of which were just absolutely miserable for the people involved with them. I was the best they ever had. Like, honestly, are you kidding me?

Are they dead now? Or no, they just can’t have good other, do you know, what’s actually going on. I just completed 13 years of being single.

Isn’t that crazy. You know what? Single looks good on you.

Oh man. Okay. Is everyone ready for today? [00:02:00] Sorry for your mother. Listen. It was my mother’s fault. She warned me and she told me that no one will ever be good enough. She warned me to be independent. She told me to do. To do everything myself. So I’m going to blame my mom on this one, even though that might be a little bit of stretch, but.

I, you know what I’m going to make her listen to this, and then we’re going to come for you because why you got her in this mix up and blenda, your pot, your pot to showing for those that don’t know, Kyle, explain what patois is and then tell them. I said to you. Okay. Um, patois is a, for those, it’s a Jamaican, you know, a dialect ish slang ish.

I think it’s its own language, you know, because it has the structure of all other languages. But anyway, it’s a, it’s interesting how people usually say, you know, it’s broken English or they’ll hear, you know, it’s Crow curl for something it’s, it’s, it’s always, you know, [00:03:00] um, interpreted differently. And what I think is interesting about even that phrase about being broken English, So Latin words can, an English words are derived from Latin, right.

But Jamaican Patois dialect is broken, right? Like, what is that about? But anyway, so it’s a Jamaican dialect. That’s commonly spoken in, uh, Jamaica, um, Patois. We usually refer to it as, um, and what Christopher just said when he says, you know, um, being caught in mix-up and blender, here’s the thing about Patois.

It’s such a very descriptive and funny word because it’s like metaphors and words jammed together almost. So the, the direct translation, when you say to someone, you know, I’m not into any mixed up on blender, you’re saying I’m not into. Anything that’s mixed, you know, like it’s mixed with different things, but they have to add the descriptive, um, thing about a blender, because when you look at a blender, what does it do?

It makes it right. [00:04:00] So if you’re in a mix up in blender, then basically you’re in a bunch of drama. Yeah, exactly. You’re caught up in this mix up in this blender. I love it. I just it’s. So sometimes I have to laugh at it, but anyway, speak, I can mix next week. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll teach you what mad puss piss means.

Oh, that one reminds me of your grandma. Oh, she loved when you said that, like I remember the first time you said it, we were in. At the time. Yeah. We’re at banff having lunch and like most things, you know, when you say hello and you know, how do you say hi? You know how to say hi, when you say hi to someone, what else comes right after?

Tell me, nah, tell him enough. Right? So it’s like, what’s up? Tell me what’s happening. Right. That’s the, like the direct translation and she giggled when you said that she was like, oh, because your pronunciation’s actually pretty good. Right. So, which is great. And you didn’t even actually even know. Trick to my [00:05:00] aunt a couple of times, because when you answered my phone, she thought it was me just by the hug.

You said it. So I thought it was great, but no, she and she got upset because cause, uh, cause she she’s like, I’m like what? And tell me now. And she starts going off about something and I’m like, why are you bothering me for sure.

She was like what? She was like, excuse me. She was not happy. It’s just like,

if you want to hear Christopher speak and learn more patois, . Please send us a comment. Let us know that that would be your weekly inspired action is to hear him speak. And that’s a given. To finish the conversation. And so when we were in banff having lunch, and you said, you know, something, you reacted to me, like your timing was impeccable.

It wasn’t, oh, here’s a new word. I learned you deliberately set it [00:06:00] in reference to something I said to you, I don’t even know what I said to you. And you’re like, you’re taking Matt drink. Mud was pissed. And she went off like she shopped. So I think we took a picture of that moment. Yep. I had to take a picture of that moment because she laughed so hard.

You know, that laughter when your eyes are closed and you’re just holding yourself and your face is literally just pulling apart in laughter. That’s what, uh, that’s what she did. So it’s a good memory. Yeah, it’s an interesting slide. Let’s go back to your epic single life because actually, okay. So I want to know grow.

I’m like right into it now. I can’t stop thinking about it. I was, I was actually thinking about this and in the workplace and, and granted, I haven’t been single for some time. Uh, now I’m entering year 10 of, uh, uh, being in a relationship. And, uh, I was thinking about this and actually I think actually being single in [00:07:00] the workplace is harder.

Being single in the workplace is harder.
Being single in the workplace is harder.

Uh, interesting then than not. Yeah. Why don’t you tell us you’re a single person in the workplace aren’t you? No, I think that’s interesting because I wasn’t remembering cause for most of my life I had been single. I would say, I think I would honestly say for most of my life, of course. Well, it’s not just, it’s not just you it’s like God, Jesus, the universe, and everybody else would say for most of your life, you’ve been single.

You know what he does in gentlemen, he is undateable. And that’s a, that’s another story, but I want people to know it was a, it’s a, it’s a decision. It’s a decision to, to be single. And I mean, I think, and I often say to people, if you only know, it’s not like it’s an effort to stay single because there’s a lot of times you can get really caught up.

At least from my perspective, you can get caught up in that. But I was thinking about. You know my career and in the workforce. No, obviously he’s a little bit different, you know, own their own business and stuff like that. But in the workforce, I [00:08:00] think about when I was at McDonald’s, when I was at WestJet, when I was at all these companies, you know, there was always this hidden, you know, sometimes there were.

Um, expectations around, you know, you had to do more, right? Like meaning, you know, when someone says, Hey, I noticed you got Christmas off, like for whatever, how the schedule may have worked, or what have you, when I was doing kind of shift work, that would be like, well, I noticed you have Christmas off. Like, um, you’re single, you can work Christmas.

I mean, I’ve got kids and I’ve got a family, right. Or, Hey, who wants to be on call? Cause sometimes I was in a certain role that we had to be on call like for after hours type of stuff. And it was always looked upon me to, to take the calls right. To be the available person, um, because their rationale as well, you know, I have a family and I want to spend time with your family.

And I was just, and for the beginning, I just did it because I’m like, I start to believe that as being single, I should be the one that was kinda my experience with it. You know, it’s really [00:09:00]interesting actually, when I was single, it was, it was. Uh, very much the same, like I would be in a meeting and maybe Jennifer Thomas would say, you know, fake names, but Jennifer Thomas would, you know, it’s like, okay, like, like we need someone to do this.

It’s got to happen tonight. There’s a board meeting tomorrow. Or, you know, this is what it is. And they’d be like, oh, like my kid’s got soccer or, um, You know, or, or whatever. Right. And, and, um, and then they’d kind of look at me with this sort of like desperate, passive, aggressive look saying Christopher, as a question, like, will you do this?

Like, we know that you’re single. And so I do like, like it’s, it’s actually pretty amazing to me. I think there’s a lot of unfairness in the workplace and I think it’s natural that we would do this as human beings. Um, but actually Kyle there’s an interesting article here that I came across. Um, and, and it’s called the many ways single people are treated [00:10:00] unfairly at work and it’s by Bella DePaulo.

And so she sort of coined this term. Singlism. Oh, um, and, and sort of there’s unfair expectation. So, so this comes in all sorts of, you know, like it comes in all sorts of forms, but I think what people need to understand, and it’s like, like discrimination and, and, and discrimination bias and all this stuff that exists wherever you go, smokers, get more breaks than non-smokers.

Smokers get more breaks than non-smokers.
Smokers get more breaks than non-smokers.

Yeah, right. They do. And, and so it’s like, non-smokers should take more breaks, you know, like that’s the solution to this, right? Some, some places in the world, although you don’t get it in Canada, because it would be an additional form of discrimination. Um, although it’s kind of like, well, which way are you discriminating?

Right? Like smokers get more breaks. But, um, uh, but in other countries they’re giving smokers an extra day off. Or, sorry, non-smokers an extra day. Like, like someone went and calculated. This is how much time off, uh, non-smokers should get. So they get a couple of extra [00:11:00] days or something because that’s how much smokers would take on average throughout the year in terms of breaks.

And so in Canada, that would be considered a form of discrimination against a smoker, whereas. Country. It’s a form of discrimination against a non-smoker if you don’t give them the break the extra time. So, so, so I think when we look at singleism, it’s important to look at this both ways, but certainly, um, there’s some really obvious things.

So, so a single people do cover for for other people at work who are not single or who don’t have kids or a spouse. Right. Like what I was saying, right. The whole vacation. Exactly. So. This has been shown, um, and, and. So, so here’s what she says. Uh, DePaulo says what’s interesting about this is that in the 21st century, people will ask it totally unselfconsciously and unapologetically for a single person to stay and work.

Um, and that includes the most progressive and open-minded people, people in [00:12:00] the intellectual Vanguard who would never in a million years see themselves as being unfair to other people, but we are doing it. Right. So it is a form of prejudice. One of the things that she suggests, Kyle actually is replace the word, um, uh, in your mind.

Um, you know, if, if you’re not saying it out loud, replace the word single with the word gay and, and then see how it lands. Yeah. It’s like, it’s like, well, well, like, Hey, you’re gay. Um, why don’t you come in tonight? Um, So, so my nice hetero employees can go home early. Um, you know, you’re gay, so, so, um, you don’t need to be paid as much.

And actually this is one of the ways that singledom is being, is being treated as that. Um, Is that they’re, they they’re seeing that, that single that, okay, this is suspected. It’s not for sure, [00:13:00]but there’s, there’s a marriage bias where people with kids require more. And so, um, and so the replacing of the word.

For an awareness piece. Sorry, can we go back to that? Yeah, that’s exactly it it’s like, it’s like, if you don’t think you’re being unfair, replace that thought you’re having about the single person with something like gay or because you’re pregnant or because you’re a woman replace it with something like, or because you’re black or Asian replaced single with that and then see if it still lands.

Okay. Um, um, but actually they, they are seeing it, um, Uh, or, or they think they’re seeing it. So there’s more research that needs to be done, but they think they’re seeing it in pay as well, where there is a marriage and child bias where people who have kids, um, are sometimes getting paid more, uh, to cover home costs.

Right. That’s interesting. That’s an interesting point. Cause I I’d be curious how many people factor that in. So if you were that person, either recruiting HR [00:14:00] or that senior leader, when you look at your team, do you factor that in? Do you say, well, this guy has more, you know, um, Income or, you know, things to do other things.

Right. And then although, or this guy has 3, 4, 5 kids. Do you factor that in or he has a stay-at-home wife or a stay at home husband or what have you, do you actually factor that in or do you just look at the pay scale for the sake of the pay scale? Well, well, and that’s what they should be doing, but we know that sometimes it’s happening sometimes it’s not like there are people who argue with.

Women are paid less than men.
Women are paid less than men.

The, um, the gender wage gap right now. And actually there’s a lot of proof and social research that suggests that the edge edger, the, the gender wage gap does not exist, but we know literally on paper, women are paid less than men. What they’re, what they’re attributing it to is. Leave the workforce to have children, right.

Or maybe take care of a parent or whatever. Um, when you look at the comparison, women are about where this is the argument. I’m not saying it’s [00:15:00] my argument, but women are actually paid fairly for their experience. So if you took a two year break, you would be paid the same as a woman was. But to me, That’s still a gender wage gap because the only people who can have children are women.

So it doesn’t, it doesn’t make sense. Like it doesn’t make sense to look at your executives. The very few that are, that are female are not paid the same in a lot of cases. So any way to meet this is the same. Like I think I would be interested to see more research on the, on the, on the salary, um, you know, where they saw, um, Uh, this, this, um, piece of Singleton Singleton or singlism come out, um, uh, fervently in the last, uh, two years was during COVID because there were more exceptions made for people who are working at home with children.

And I’m not saying we shouldn’t have made the exceptions. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have made [00:16:00] the exceptions, but, but it’s like, you could see this going both ways. It’s like, so should the single person get a higher bonus because they worked more should. And it’s like, should they work more? Like, I, I, I don’t know how we make this fair.

I don’t know how we make it fair, but I think there is something about being conscious to. You know, be aware of it. Yeah. Like most things I think like we’ve been talking even from a previous podcast with Dede, uh, about, you know, our, um, the subconscious, the biases that we do, you know, the policies we have.

And I think like most of the. We’re not saying these things should never happen. We just seen for the most part, are you even mindful of it? Right? Because like I said, every time I would see a schedule before and whatever reason it’s because they’re usually saying, well, Kyle has worked like four or five Christmases in a row.

So someone along the line says, Hey, let’s give him a break. But then like clockwork, as soon as that gets posted or published, or it’s aware like four or five of those folks who have families say, [00:17:00] Hey, right. And I know there, I, and I know it’s not that. They don’t necessarily care. At least I’d like to think it’s not that they don’t care about me.

All this other stuff I understand from their perspective is like sure would be great for us to kind of have that together and also travel travel is the other thing. I was always expected to travel away for business right. More. I was usually asked first, Hey, do you mind going to that meeting? Hey, do you mind go checking that up?

Hey, right. And sometimes that can, I think, answer issues, other people who. That I either favoritism agree. I was just going to say, I think that puts people who are married with children, uh, at risk for being discriminated against too, because some of them want that travel. Like, I don’t know. I don’t know that there’s a way to make it fair, but I think we need to be conscious of it.

So as we kind of look to wrap up here, Kyle, I think one of the things. I say as an imperfect inspired action, as I think as a leader or as an employer, this is something that you need to bring to your attention and [00:18:00] maybe try to Paulo’s um, uh, tactic here of replace. It was replaced. What you’re saying was something else and see if you feel gross about it, in which case, you know, you may be discriminating.

And w and I think just being conscious to it, it’s like, you know, it’s like, I don’t want to ask this person first because they’re single. Am I asking them first? Because they’re single, right. Um, or vice versa. I might ask him because they’re married with kids or am I giving a higher exception because they have kids at home, you know, which negates the mental health issues of somebody who’s literally been isolating for nearly two years with no contact.

Because they don’t live with anybody. Like, like, you know, they don’t actually have a family to have support with there’s nobody in their house supporting them. So, so the other thing I would say is if you are that single person, I think you need to decide what kind of life you want to have. So, so don’t say, well, I’m single and I can get.

If you’re [00:19:00] uncomfortable doing it, your appointment to go to yoga or to your doctors, or to just sit on your butt and watch TV, if that’s what your appointment is, is just as important. And, and certainly in our country, we’re lucky enough that you do not have to disclose. You can just simply say it won’t be possible for me.

I have an appointment this evening. Yeah. And that’s just the nature of it. Yeah. And the thing, the third thing I would add to that and a final comment is just engage the other person. Right. Just find out what do you usually like to do and hopefully before you need them. Right. So it’s one of those things where if you’re engaged in this conversation before Christmas, so by June, July, or whatever you’re saying to someone, Hey, I’m actually curious, what do you usually do for your holidays?

Like understand that because they may say, oh my God, the summers are all it for me. And for you, you may be like, wow, I, I don’t actually, I prefer to work in the summer. So then you could maybe work on a trade off, so to speak that’s valuable instead of starting the conversation, Hey, you don’t have [00:20:00] a family.

Um, you know, because think about how that sounds too, like you were saying, right? It’s like, yeah, I don’t need to be reminded that I’m single or I may not need me to remind you that we’ll have a family cause I love being single, but for some people they may struggle with. No, the thing is though, Kyle, I think that it’s more passive than that.

I think it’s, it’s unconscious bias and people don’t realize that they’re actually making decisions based off of somebody’s marital status. Like, I really do believe that like, like I, I think it’s unconscious. I really do. Um, you know, it’s just like, and, and then the question is like, do you answer the question?

Like if you’re having a casual conversation with somebody and they’re like, oh, do you have kids, Christopher? It’s like, Well, no, but I don’t know that. I want to tell you that like, like, you know, cause it’s like, what are you going to do with that information once, you know, like, you know, I know, I know most of the time it’s, it’s, it’s innocent.

Right? I know most of the time it’s innocent, but, but you, you know, every piece of information starts to create form a picture [00:21:00] in somebody’s mind and people form. Like, like everybody on here, if you want to know what this is, like you ever been in that position with your parents, where they still think you’re that teenager, because you’re responding to something in a certain way and they feel like they have to parent or whatever, this is exactly it.

Your parents have an unconscious bias. Yeah, because they saw you growing up, you also have an unconscious bias about them because who they were when you were a teenager or a child. Right. And, and so this is the same thing. Everything we know about, someone starts to form a picture and we create unconscious bias.

So I think it’s just really important to speak up for yourself and find those words and just, you know, and, and I think simple is better, right? It’s just like, no, I won’t be able to commit to that tonight. I have plans, um, You know, or I won’t, you know, it’s like, I won’t be able to, um, like it won’t be possible for me.

I’ve got an appointment and that’s, it, it won’t be [00:22:00] possible. So folks, I thank you for listening to another exciting week. We’re always curious about hearing about your imperfect inspired action. So use our social media, you know, we’re really trying to focus this year on building a community and a following.

So share like subscribe, do what you need to do and just followers 10,000. That’s exactly the goal. 10,000 downloads. Yeah. 10,000 downloads we want for this year. So we’ll see you next week. Take care. Bye. We need to give them up. Uh, we’re close 38, 25. I’m going to have to cut you off there. We’re out of time.

It’s our goal to build a global community of inspired action takers, and we can only do that with your help. So if you love inspired action, please leave a review on your favorite podcasting app and share us on your socials you’ve heard from us. Now we want to hear from you go to inspired action and tell us what is the inspired action.

This week, [00:23:00] next week on inspired action. If I do humans, when it comes to culture, I think often, um, and employees forget, the role that they play in contributing to that culture. And if you’re complaining about it and you’re not kind of leading the way with it, then you’re, you’re as much a part of the problem as your leadership.

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