How To Dramatically Increase Your Job Security For Life!

A fantastic topic came up over dinner one day regarding how to increase job security in today’s highly volatile economy.  The usual tips came up, such as: be invaluable, develop strong internal relationships, and never call in sick on a Friday (slacker).  All tips were logical, but the more we drank, the more out of the box we thought until we reached the best employment insurance strategy of them all: Make babies and start a family!

Starting a family could be the #1 way to ensure long term employment.  With a family, your employer must not only consider your situation, but the situation of every single person you support.  The more kids you have, the more bullet proof you become!  Imagine a scenario where your boss is faced with firing 10 employees out of 100, or 10%.  How do you think she chooses?

HOW MANAGERS THINK BEFORE FIRING YOU

The first exercise a manager will conduct is comparing the cost of each employee with the benefits (revenue) generated by the employee.  The second stage of evaluation is figuring out who are the manager’s friends (aka cronyism).  The friend of the manager can truly be a friend, or someone who makes the manager look so good, it’s impossible to let that person go.  The third step a manager must think about is what will happen if business revives and she needs to rehire the person let go.  The more difficult he or she is to replace, the lower the chance he or she will be let go.  Finally, given most people are not heartless robots, the manager will consider the firing repercussions of not only the at risk employee, but all who depend on him or her.

If there are two equally mediocre candidates, one who is a single woman with no family to feed, and another who is a widowed mother of three children in day care, who do you think the manager will let go?  There’s very little doubt in my mind that if you have a family to take care of, you are at a tremendous advantage in terms of employment security compared to your single or non-married peers.  With a family, your boss tests her soul, and goes with the decision that provides the least amount of guilt.

CONCLUSION

So how about it folks?  If you’re petrified about losing your job, you might want to tell your boss you’re pregnant, or are working on starting one big happy family of your own.  Once your boss knows, unless she’s the Devil herself, you’ll never be considered a candidate for the chopping block ever again!

Readers, what are your thoughts about employees with families and whether or not they are less fire-able than those without?

Should we try and start a family to protect our careers?

Do you think it’s fair if companies discriminate against single people when it comes to pay and employment?

Follow up post: “Don’t Have Kids If You Can’t Take Care Of Yourself”

Regards,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”


Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    You know, now that I think about it, I’ve never heard of someone that’s pregnant getting laid off. Since I’ve been employed there, over 60% of the employees have been laid off either in the last recession “Tech bubble” or the current recession.

    I don’t think it’s discrimination, I think it’s common sense and having compassion for another human being!

    I have seen the mother of young families (1 or 2 year old children) get laid off though…
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..Dr. Phil Drops the Ball on Bad Kids in School =-.

  2. Geek says

    The manager would let go the widowed mother, duh. However, for men, this tip is fairly accurate. Remember, women take off their wedding rings before interviews, men get fake ones.
    I could be wrong though – the widow with children may already be paid less (there is a children vs. no children pay gap among women) and so this hypothetical situation (all things equal inside work) could be very hard to come by. It is more likely the widow is more qualified and being paid less, or that she’s not even in such a job in the first place.

    Once again, perfect advice for men, but women make up nearly half the work force and your advice is invalid for them.

    http://www.pay-equity.org/info.html (general pay numbers)
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/019487.html (mothers earn less than women w/o children)

    • says

      Huh? The manager would obviously fire the single woman over the mother with three kids in day care. It’s a great assumption and the right one!

      Perfect advice for me? Last time I checked, only women can get pregnant, and both sexes can state to their manager that they can start a family. In fact, since only women can get pregnant, I think this is even better advice for women!
      .-= Powell´s last blog ..‘Eco-village’ to serve as model of sustainability on campus, beyond =-.

      • Geek says

        Oh, wait, you’re right, gender-based discrimination in the workplace has completely disappeared, and women with children (especially single women with children) get and keep the best of jobs. Silly me! Those studies that women are underpaid and discriminated against probably have no validity at all.

        Samurai-sensei, do you have any numbers to back up this assumption that “kindness”/”sympathy” discrimination is real, and works for women as well as men? I would hope a company would keep the better worker and if that’s the woman with kids, that’s fine, but I have a feeling that even if she were the better worker, she’d be going… based on pay, etc.

    • says

      Umm no. Unless the manager was a heartless snake, unfortunately, all things being equal, the single woman with nobody to care for would get the axe. Of course, the manager will never ADMIT to why she fired her, but we’re humans.

      Big or small organization, it doesn’t matter. Hiring and firing comes down to one or two people, and it is a VERY personal decision. Managers have nightmares firing people, and that’s why the more guilt you create for them the more protected you are.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Over The Hill At 40 – Age Discrimination In The Workplace =-.

  3. says

    That is WAY outside the box! But I absolutely agree with you, and have seen it. I am buddies with the partner here (or at least I like to think I am) and have had conversations where he literally said he couldn’t fire the guy because he wasn’t sure what would happen to his family.

    I am going to put this out there to the Wife for us to “try” more LOL
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Asset Aggregation May Be Just as Important as Asset Diversification or Allocation =-.

  4. says

    I think not firing someone because they have a family is one of the most unethical business practices I’ve ever heard of. If your family is depending on you, the burden should be on YOU to DO YOUR F-ING JOB so you can support them. Having a family is a choice, NOT a right and NOT something you should get special privileges out of.

    One of my coworkers was fired 2 or 3 weeks ago. His wife is a stay at home mom who has no marketable job skills and cannot drive, and they have 3 children under 6, two of whom are special needs. I am sure he is worried about how he will support them all (he did get a severance package through the end of June) but he had been having productivity and quality of work issues since he started here. If he really cared about his family, he would have done a good job instead of (as he admitted) refusing to do things that were his responsibility because they weren’t things he enjoyed doing.
    .-= Honey´s last blog ..I Can Download Porn At Work, Can You? =-.

    • says

      That is a great debate, and something I plan on addressing next week as a segway to this post. Why is the gov’t giving tax CREDITS to families? The more people there are on this earth, the bigger the strain on the environment and energy/resources needed. Population control with additional taxes sounds like a good idea. Heck, we’re taxing everybody like crazy anyway, why not more folks!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Play Games To Save Money And Achieve Your Goals! =-.

  5. says

    Wow! I love reading this blog because it reminds me how skewed my mentality has become while working in education. When the budget draws a deficit, the state (CA) anyway, lays off teachers based on seniority. Not on how effective you are, how ‘valuable’ you are, how much you cost, or if you have kids.

    Whether or not you get tenure, however, can be much more . . .subjective, let’s say. But tenure is a problem even in a good economy. The school admins know that they will have trouble firing you after you get tenure, so they ‘let go’ anyone mediocre after a year, two years etc.

    The fact that such human considerations would be part of the decision (or even that job performance could be part of the decision!) in the private sector, just raises my disgust with our education system that much more ;)
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..How do you chose a ‘new’ car? =-.

  6. says

    Sam,

    The situation you describe above of taking into account someone’s personal situation is likely to occur more with a small privately owned business. The owners know their employees personally and have an emotional connection.

    I remember my dad used to tell me that I need to stay later and collect more receivables so that our family get paid because we pay our employees first. I was always aware that we had 36 people with families that we had to support before us.

    For a large or public firm, it’s going to depend on the manager and the relationship that an individual has with them. I can tell you that personal hardship means diddly squat. I know someone who was laid off as soon as he finished his cancer treatment. Once he was deemed healthy, it was no longer a legal risk for the company to lay him off. Mind you, he worked full time through his entire cancer treatment and only took the allotted vacation and sick time to handle surgeries.

    I hate to say this but brow-nosing the boss is still the best job security. I’ve seen many qualified people laid off or fired while incompetent workers gets retained because they are the boss’ drinking buddy. Life is not fair.
    .-= Money andRisk´s last blog ..Maximizing Your Giving =-.

  7. says

    Oops, I just finished rereading your blog again and missed the paragraph about the two works. According to your example, the mother of 3 would actually have been eliminated already based on the first consideration, cost. The cost of her benefits and health care subsidies by the employer outweigh the cost of the single worker.

    Age discrimination is quite prevalent these days as well in the analysis because of the pension and retirement cost of an older worker vs a younger one.
    .-= Money andRisk´s last blog ..Maximizing Your Giving =-.

  8. says

    Job security is overrated. Without fear, there’s less incentive to earn more, save more, invest more. Change often is when opportunity reveals itself. I certainly would not purposely add more expenses and commitments in my life just to improve my odds of being able to commute to a cubicle every day to repeat the same activities over-and-over.
    .-= MossySF´s last blog ..I hate mosquitoes =-.

      • says

        Aren’t we being overly melodramatic? Job loss happens to everyone and will continue to happen. It’s not like we’re living in an African country where rebels burn your farm down and kill your family. With all the social nets in place, losing your job in a developed country is comparatively a minor blip in life. Sure, it might hurt to temporarily lose your lifestyle/possessions/image but overall what’s the real difference? The millions of people who lost their jobs will find a new level of living where they spend every dime they receive (whether UI, welfare or a new job). Psychologically, they’ll suffer greatly if they continue to compare themselves to the scenario if they kept going on their former trajectory but in today’s mercenary economy, that was always a fantasy anyways.

        And yes, I’ve lost jobs before. For me, it was motivation to never depend on job security ever again. Anybody who slips back into old lifestyles is doomed to repeat the same cycles over and over.
        .-= MossySF´s last blog ..I hate mosquitoes =-.

  9. says

    As a guy I actually had my job saved at least partially because my wife and I had just had a baby. Five positions were being eliminated, and I was low man on the totem pole, but my job was spared.

    Later, my boss told me that my job was also saved because of my performance, but there’s no doubt my family status figured into the decision.

    Also, I have to agree with MossySF about job security being overrated. We need to focus more on career or income security than on job security. It doesn’t seem that true job security is even attainable any more, so it might be better to invest our time and resources on preparing for the bigger picture.
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..OutOfYourRut Friday Personal Finance Round Up #3 =-.

    • says

      Hey Kevin, sorry to hear about your five other colleagues, but good to hear some good came out of your newly born baby! Now that you’ve been given a renewed chance at your job, do your darndest to make yourself invaluable!

      Also, don’t forget to bring baby pictures into the office, so when your boss walks by, his guilt-meter will rise if he ever thinks about firing you!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..The Katana: Spring Cleaning and Moving Forward =-.

  10. says

    Seriously, I thought this was a joke when I read it: have kids to avoid getting fired. However, the more I think about it, the more I believe it the theory may have some validity. It probably depends on the boss though. Nonetheless, all things being equal, I can certainly see a boss favoring the widow with dependents in many cases.
    .-= Roshawn @ Watson Inc´s last blog ..It’s Tax Time, Are You Ready? =-.

  11. says

    Sam, this made me chuckle a little bit. But you’re right, there is a ‘guilt’ and ‘psychological’ advantage to those with families I believe. If nothing else, guilt alone is enough for the increased security – guilt in whoever will be laying you off.

    what are your thoughts about employees with families and whether or not they are less fire-able than those without?
    – For bottom line, they are no less, no more valuable than any other employee given equal skill and reliability. But the human equation I think makes them less fire-able. Unless you have a cut throat manager who doesn’t care about emotion all too much.

    Should we try and start a family to protect our careers?
    – Yes! Get married and have kids – if nothing else for the new perspective and meaning to life. Forget protecting your career. Just see how caring for an infant changes your approach to doing more in life.

    Do you think it’s fair if companies discriminate against single people when it comes to pay and employment?
    – No, there is no law that says you have to or not have to have a family. Therefore it is discrimination if there is any adjustment to decision based on being single. Still, I believe it happens.
    .-= Jeremy Johnson´s last blog ..Approach Motivation and Avoidance Motivation =-.

  12. says

    That’s a hell of a gambit. If you are wrong, not only will you go hungry, but your children will go hungry too.

    Last time I was laid off, it was indeed in front of a co-worker with a family, whose work was unquestionably inferior to my own. I think they kept him because he earned less though, not just because of his family.

    Maybe the real secret is to work for cheap? To make them think, they’ll never find a sucker like you again?
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..Seagal Under Siege by Disgruntled Sex Slave Kayden Nguyen =-.

    • says

      It is indeed quite a gambit if all goes wrong, hence, my recommendation is somewhat tongue in cheek. You don’t HAVE to have the family… you can make it known to your boss you are trying to start one. You don’t have to be pregnant, but you can so you are trying to get pregnant as a female.

      If they think you’re the cheap sucker, they are never going to pay you what you’re worth.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Riding Rocketships For Greater Success =-.

  13. says

    Hmm… I must say I’ve never heard of someone getting laid off while pregnant or out on maternity leave, but that condition only lasts for a small portion of a woman’s career. In general, I don’t think layoff decisions are very emotional or compassionate. I think the upper brass brings in consultants and relies on HR to help make decisions, carry out the deed, distance themselves from it, make it the fault of “the economy” or “commitments we made to the street” or whatever and they start chopping. family, no family, whatever. If you’re in a research department that’s not producing, whole department – bye-bye. If you’re in IT and they decide to outsource IT functions (very common these days), bye-bye.

    Anecdotaly, there’s a trade-off. In hard-core positions like front line production supervision where you’re expected to work 70-100 hours per week and take calls at all hours of the night, I often found the family guys to be the least “dedicated” if you will. Guys like me had to pick up all the slack, work all the nights and weekends and the family guys always happened to have a dead battery in their pager when the shit hit the fan. Frankly, now that I’m a Dad, I can see why. It’s only a job. But if I had to pick for those types of functions, if I were discriminating (which is illegal, but you posed the question), I’d probably seek out non-family types all other things being equal. For more corporate positions and normal work hours, probably indifferent.

    Just my 2 cents.

    The biggest way to avoid a layoff – family or not – is to stay relevant. Jump through many different roles, even different companies if needed to get multi-functional experience. Get an MBA. Get top ratings. You’ll be spared above others.

    • says

      Staying relevant is indeed the key, but it’s much harder than just telling your boss, “Hi Boss, just wanted to let you know that we’re trying to start a family, and moving to a larger house.” That conversation is easy, whereas trying to stay relevant is hard.

      I do agree with you on front line positions and what happens come weekends. Hence, the topic we discuss in “Over The Hill At 40″.

      Cheers, Sam
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Over The Hill At 40 – Age Discrimination In The Workplace =-.

  14. says

    I think I agree that the best approach to keeping your job is excellence. That said there is also the likeability factor at work, whether because of kids or past fraternity kinship and it’s impossible to battle that, usually. I agree also with Honey, above that rewarding large families with tax credits is backward.
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Eco Fraud Friday: Is It A Vegan Conspiracy? =-.

  15. says

    Interesting take, Sam. I think it might have to do with who your boss is, and how big your company is that you work for. Your boss will have more sympathy for you if he has something in common with you. So your theory works best if your boss also has kids, especially if they are the same ages as yours.

    Also in big companies that do large scale layoffs, this matters a lot less. I had a buddy who was laid off 3 days before his 2nd child was born – at the end of the month so the birth wasn’t covered under his health plan w/o COBRA because baby was born in a new month. The boss asked to see him, and he was never allowed back to his desk. Gotta love corporate!

  16. says

    “If there are two equally mediocre candidates”

    Maybe you should try and not be a mediocre candidate, then you won’t have to worry about making your boss feel guilty about potentially firing you. I hate to say it but I think this is a terrible idea. There are plenty of good reasons to get married and have kids, I don’t think this is one of them.

    If you make your company money, you will keep your job. If you lose the company money, you should lose your job, whether you have a wife and kids or not.

    If you are a bad worker and get fired anyways, now you have a wife and kids to feed as well. Not good.
    .-= Derek Clark´s last blog ..5 Reasons to Get Netflix and Cut the Cable =-.

    • Charlie says

      There is this thing called the “bell curve”, or “normal distribution curve.” By definition, only the top 20% can be outstanding. You look pretty young from your picture, but tell us if you are outstanding? Because I’ll tell you right now, chances are you are not, and that you are very mediocre.

      Welcome to the real world Derek.

    • says

      Derek, I’m obviously not being 100% serious when I write people should start a family JUST for job security. What I’m trying to highlight is that there’s a very personal human element to the workplace, and once you understand this element, you’ll be well on your way.

      Would love to hear what you do for a living and understand more about your background. From your last comments, I have some assumptions, but don’t want to assume until I hear more from you.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..The Benefits of Debit Cards Over Cash and Credit Cards =-.

  17. says

    Hey,
    I’ve always been of the school of thought that the best way to ensure you won’t be fired is to be your own boss. Find something you’re passionate about and work at it tirelessly part-time until you can justify quitting your full time job. You’ll not only have yourself as a boss that hopefully won’t fire them self, but you also have the satisfaction knowing you’re building a business of your own and not that of someone else.
    Good Luck,
    Guy
    .-= Guy G.´s last blog ..Grocery Saving Tips – Tips on Budgeting =-.

  18. says

    I would say that in the grand scheme of things family size wouldn’t come into play. However, when it is a decision between distinct individuals, definitely. What I mean is that companies often make decisions to cut a department or trim off so many percentages of employees in a certain section. Then as you said there are some criteria that managers go through and I think most (not all) of these decisions are done regardless of family situation. Finally, it comes down to the individual level. Now you have specific people, names and family situations that come into play on make a decision.
    What I’m saying is for most firing decisions this wouldn’t affect the grand scheme. For the last dozen or so that have to go this would definitely come into play. Maybe you need to stay away from the bubble?
    .-= Evolution Of Wealth´s last blog ..5 More Ways Group Disability Insurance Disappoints =-.

    • says

      But hiring and firing always comes down to the individual manager’s decision. When a dept head is asked to fire X number of people, s/he isn’t usually instructed by the higher ups to fire Bob, Sally, and Sanjay. S/he’s just given a number.

      The more personal the subordinate can make his/her situation, the more secure. It’d be great to stay away from the bubble, but we’re all delusional into thinking we’re better than average.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Riding Rocketships For Greater Success =-.

  19. Sandy L says

    I agree with the premise but would propose a totally different reason for it. One of my first managers told me that companies love it when you have a family to support, a mortgage payment, and lots of bills to pay. He said those types of employees are much less of a flight risk than someone who is freerer to take other jobs, can move easily, etc.

    My experience with a large company..there has not been that type of discrimination. I’ve seen people of ages, creeds, races, and marital status laid off.

  20. says

    Folks, I know LOTS of women who have been laid off while on maternity leave. If they’ve hired or moved someone to cover the work, she’s been proven replaceable, if not she’s been proven dispensable. And it is assumed that if – c’mon, WHEN the baby gets sick she’ll take time off, so she won’t be ‘reliable’ any more.

    And if the business is paying some percentage of the costs for health insurance – not a set amount, but a percentage of the whole – the larger the family the more the cost for the business. Firing the person with the biggest family, thus biggest insurance tab for the business, is going to make the most financial sense.

      • Meg says

        The reason you don’t see more lawsuits is (1) suing someone is expensive, (2) it’s career suicide, and (3) there’s always a chance you won’t win even if the facts on your side. As a lawyer, I’m so tired of people saying, “So why don’t they sue?” in this or other similar situations. The fact is, life is not fair, and most wrongs are never redressed. I’ve worked with lawyeres in law firms who do egregiously sexist things and get away with it because the emotional and financial cost of suing simply isn’t worth the bother.

        • says

          Hi Meg, very good points… especially about career suicide, b/c you might not win! I wish more lawyers would do pro bono work. And you’re right, it’s easy to say “why not sue” b/c our culture has taught us it’s OK to sue for anything.

        • Meg says

          It can be career suicide even if you DO win. By filing a lawsuit, you’ve branded yourself as a high-maintenance, high-risk employee. If you’re willing to sue your previous employer, what’s to stop you from suing another one? Most people are not willing to risk their future paychecks just to be “right.” You might win the job battle, but lose the career war.

  21. Derek Clark says

    Just to be clear I’m not suggesting this isn’t true, I’ve seen it in practice. But I’ve also seen people with families lose their jobs. In fact both of my inlaws lost their jobs the same week, two weeks before my wedding. Having a family for this purpose is risky and a little silly.

    As for me im a bit older than the picture indicates, it is a few years old. I am a software designer for a company that tests jet engines. I don’t claim to be spectacular, but I’ve gotten 2 very significant raises and a promotion in the last 9 months while we have 10% unemployment. This isn’t to bragg, it is to say that working hard and doing the little things is a better course of action.

    As for the bell curve, I think everyone is capable of excelling at something. If you are mediocre at your current job, maybe you should be doing something else. Find something you love and work hard at it and you won’t be mediocre.
    .-= Derek Clark´s last blog ..5 Reasons to Get Netflix and Cut the Cable =-.

  22. Charlie says

    I can see your point. Not every manager will have a soft spot, but I imagine there are definitely people out there that that will have thoughts like that when making a tough decision about who to let go. Hopefully our economy will keep getting better so we don’t have to have so many layoffs anymore!

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