I’m getting stuck with extra work because I don’t have kids — Ask a Manager

I’m just a little over one year into my job. My manager is great, my coworkers are fine, and the benefits are outstanding. The work-life balance is healthy, and we are encouraged to take our PTO and to have fulfilling lives outside of work. I’m generally happy here, and I like it as much as one can like a job.

The owners of the company take pride when employees get married, buy houses, and have kids. They say making big life changes like that means employees are happy, there’s a good life balance, and pay/benefits are good. I agree with all this, and I’m happy to be part of a company that cares about employees as people, not just what they accomplish during the workday.

However, I’m the youngest person at my company. I also don’t plan on ever having children. A good portion of employees who have joined the “three kids club” and it’s kind of a running joke in the company.

My team is only me, my manager, and a coworker, and this year both of them got pregnant and had back-to-back parental leaves. Out of the 15 months I’ve been here, six months have been holding down the fort during parental leaves. That’s not the problem, I’m glad we have a robust parental leave!

My issue is that it feels like I’m now being asked to handle more out-of-work-hours events, when before they weren’t my responsibility. We have three office locations, in three nearby- but-far-enough-away cities. Each of us on my team is located in one of the three offices, so we each handle events in our respective cities. When my manager was on leave, myself and my teammate both covered her city so that it would be equal and fair. However, I am closer to my manager’s city than my teammate is.

Now that my manager is back, I’m being asked to cover the events in her city because she can’t find childcare. It feels like her lack of childcare is being made my problem. I have a robust social life and have plans most days of the week, whether it’s a weekly obligation, or loose plans to grab dinner with a friend, or maybe I’m caring for a sick relative. It shouldn’t matter what I’m doing; my time outside of work is no less important than anyone else’s just because I don’t have children.

Before my manager had a child, this was not an issue. But it becoming the new norm is not sustainable for me. I like my job and this is not enough for me to leave over. However, I do want to make it clear to my manager that I don’t want to continue to have things pushed off onto me simply because I don’t have kids. But it’s also tough to say, “Hey, I know you can’t get childcare but I have a kickball league that needs me.”

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