Precarious Employment

There’s an article in The Grid this week by Edward Keegan, and he makes some relevant points for those like myself. Especially if you don’t want to have kids until you’ve got a job that can assure you maternity leave – ahem,  me – you might be in for a wake up call about the reality of work these days. And it has got to factor in to how you plan for the future.

Apparently the United Way has published a report that says “only half of workers in the Toronto-Hamilton area have traditional full time stable jobs that offer benefits. The other half of working people – and this is true of the middle class as it is of the poor –  are in freelance, contract, or temporary positions. ”

See, we built our society on the job markets of the past.  Things like unemployment insurance and parental leave benefits are based on the premise that full time continuous work for a single employer is the norm. Dental and prescription medication insurance are assumed to come through an employer.  A decent standard of living in retirement often depends on an employer related pension fund.

How  many  of your personal finance decisions are based on the belief of stable employment? Real or hoped for? I remember learning in high school that a person could expect to have up 7 different careers in there lifetime, and I’ve already finished one career in design at twenty-six.

Even when I had my first job, it soon became part time, and I felt trapped in it until I could find a new one. The fear of losing benefits kept me there longer than was healthy.

My husband has now worked as a contractor for three years. We’ve wanted to move for probably two years now but talk as though the next job will be more permanent, and so we’ re waiting until he has job security. But is that a reasonable thing to expect?

When are you going to have a family? When will you retire? How will you pay for it?

Where will you live if you can’t know how long you’ll be there for? Would you rent instead of buy if you didn’t have job security?