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Fired for Being a Father

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Did my husband lose his job because he's a hands-on dad?

dad feeding baby while on the phone with job

Momlogic's Jackie: I have the best husband around. He does parent/toddler classes, doctor appointments, and grocery shopping -- sometimes with all three kids in tow. He's a true partner in every sense of the word.

He has to be.

We're a dual-income family, working opposite shifts in order for one of us to always be there for the kids. It's difficult -- we sacrifice our time as a family unit and, most of all, time as a couple. But we do what we need to do, just like millions of other parents.

Sometimes, my husband works overtime, leaving me scrambling to work from home to keep our family running smoothly. Other times, it's my job that requires more, forcing him to step up to cover for me.

On the rare occasion my husband has to stay home to help take care of a sick kid, or is late to work because of a school event, I've urged him to keep the reason a secret. Because let's be honest: while being an available dad is a good thing for our kids, employers are less than impressed when a guy chooses his family over the job -- especially the single guy running the joint.

My husband is great at what he does; I would even go so far as to say he's one of the best. And I should know -- I was working closely with him when we first got together. He's smart, detailed, and stays cool under pressure.

But that only gets you so far these days. My hard-working hubby has spent many a day shaking his leg to remove the young, single guys snipping at his heels like hungry puppies. When the boss says jump, these guys are already three feet in the air. Experience is no longer the important thing -- being cheap and willing to put in 80-hour weeks is what wins out.

I'm not oblivious to the fact that this economy sucks. Over two million people have already lost their jobs this year. I get it. But it seems like parents are the first to go. Could it be because they've been in the workforce longer and make more money? Or do home responsibilities make us less desirable employees?

Tell Jackie what you think in the momlogic community!

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jodi April 30, 2009, 4:02 PM

Substitute the word wife/mom for husband/dad and you could describe working mothers’ lives since women entered the work force in large numbers. May I suggest that since men run most large businesses, it’s about time that their jobs were equally vulnerable when there’s work/family conflict. Better yet, how ‘bout making the workplace more family-friendly for everyone? Sadly, the best compensated employees, male or female, will always be the easiest targets in a recession.

Lisa LeMone April 30, 2009, 5:20 PM

OH NO, Jackie! Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s not fair, is it. Makes we wonder if those who do the firing think past their noses and take into consideration ethics (do I fire the expensive employee with the family) or money (do I keep the young cheap kid). I think we know what the answer is. That totally stinks!

Bec Thomas April 30, 2009, 7:01 PM

When it comes to lay off they always go for those that might not fit the mold there company prefers. This give them the chance to get rid of the people they can not legally fire. Involved parents often take more time off from work or try to re-work there schedules more so unless you work for a company that is down for that then they let you go.

Real Tech Mom May 1, 2009, 12:34 AM

Wow… So true… people who are cheap and willing to put in 80+ hours each week win out vs the family guy. Sad to realize that I didn’t understand this until I became a parent.

The Mad Mom May 1, 2009, 10:19 AM

Unbelievable - so sorry to hear it. My husband CrackBerries 24/7 in exchange for being at home in time for dinner, or covering for me if I go to a conference. We’re expendable if we aren’t at work 24/7 - our kids suffer if we aren’t with them as often as we can — it’s a double standard that sucks, sucks, sucks.

Anonymous May 1, 2009, 10:45 AM

This just happened to my husband, too.

Anon May 1, 2009, 12:53 PM

My ex-husband gets grief for taking off work when our daughter is sick. What’s worse is, he’s not competing against a bunch of singles - he works for his own family. They believe that it’s the woman who should take care of the child. His sister doesn’t get any static when she has to take off work to care for her son. The other men in the family at his job have either grown children, or a stay-at-home mom for a wife. The burden always falls on ME when that happens, and eventually, that will hurt MY job. I think that a lot of businesses and bosses feel the same way as his does, though - they’re just not as open about it.

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