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Here's how your marital status can affect you at work

Catherine Donaldson-Evans

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Catherine Donaldson-Evans

Catherine Donaldson-Evans is a journalist, mom, and Wonder Woman wannabe. Most recently, she was senior lifestyle editor and blogger at CafeMom’s The Stir and has written for numerous other publications during her career. She also chases...

Studies show it does matter if you're married vs. single when it comes to your career

Many single women fear that people will judge them for not having a husband, even at work.

It's not just women who worry about marital status affecting how they're perceived at the office. Men think about it too. And for good reason. Marriage is everything!

Only kidding. But studies have shown that married employees often make more money, are thought of more favorably and get more perks than their unmarried counterparts. Married women actually earn 4 percent more than single women do and married men earn 7 percent more than single men, according to research from the University of Michigan.

I knew there was a reason I walked down the aisle.

"From a purely financial perspective, those who say I do really do come out ahead," writes Forbes contributor J. Maureen Henderson in a piece on whether being married helps women in the workplace.

What's more, 21 percent of workers who have never been married think their companies favor married employees over unmarried ones, while 30 percent believe colleagues who have tied the knot have more flexibility than single employees, a survey by CareerBuilder found.

Guess Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was onto something when she famously said that "the most important career choice you'll make is who you marry."

And the fact that many married employees also have kids only seems to make it better for them on the job. At least, that's how their single, childless coworkers see it.

"Several years ago with a previous employer, employees with children received four hours of [personal time off] per month to attend school plays and functions," Jennifer Wakefield, director of public relations for the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, told CareerBuilder. "However, as an employee without children, I was not allocated time to see my nephew in school plays and functions."

Sometimes, it might just be "vibes" singles are giving off at work without even realizing it.

"They unknowingly give out messages that they're not OK and then their colleagues treat them as if they're not OK," licensed marriage therapist Dr. Jeanette Raymond, author of Now You Want Me, Now You Don't, tells SheKnows. "We give out vibes that we're not comfortable with our marital status and then people might view us through a stereotypical lens."

She said women tend to worry more about their work reputation if they're single or divorced than men. But guys care too ... sometimes.

"Women do feel treated differently because their colleagues are married, particularly in an office setting — they're talking about their family and kids, planning to go out as couples," says Raymond. "Men are a little less sensitive to it, but it depends on their age. Men over 30 might feel it too."

The irony is that sometimes marrieds and singles are envied by coworkers in the opposite situation rather than looked down on.

"The single men idealize the married men, and the married men idealize the single men," Raymond says.

She advises those who are single to mingle with the married set and not worry so much that they don't have a "plus one."

"If they can join the lives of the married or cohabitating folks, then they won't be excluded," she says. "It's less about being single or not and more about having a group of people at work you feel companionable with."

More dating and relationships

The Best & worst cities for singles
How to keep boundaries with your work husband
What men say vs. what women hear

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