Unstable Career? 5 Jobs That Fire Employees on a Whim

In past generations, employees stayed at the same jobs for their entire careers and took comfort in knowing their loyalty, dedication, and hard work would secure their employment for years to come. All they had to do was work hard and collect a check.

Times have changed. The current reality of at-will employment means you could be fired for just about any reason. This is true in some types of careers more than others. “An at-will employee can be fired at any time for any reason (except for a few illegal ones). If the employer decides to let you go, that’s the end of your job — and you have very few legal rights to fight your termination,” attorney Lisa Guerin told Nolo.com, a legal information website.

If you’re looking for job security, you’ll want to steer clear of these jobs.

1. Tech startup employee

man sits at a computer while he works, unstable jobs

Make sure you have some cash saved up in the event you get tossed out the door. | iStock.com

If you’re looking to work for a shiny, new startup in the tech industry, make sure you have some cash saved in the event you get tossed out the door unexpectedly. In this digital age, you’d think moving toward a job in the tech field would make the most sense when it comes to seeking job stability. However, this is not always the case.

Dan Lyons, a former employee at software company HubSpot, detailed his experience with working in an environment where workers were seen as disposable. “We were told we were ‘rock stars’ who were ‘inspiring people,’ and ‘changing the world,’ but in truth we were disposable. Many tech companies are proud of this kind of culture,” Lyons wrote for The New York Times.

2. Actor

movie theater seats and popcorn

You might want to find another dream. | Thinkstock

Do you want to be a star? You might be out of luck. If you’ve always dreamed of appearing in television and movies, you might want to find another dream. Those who decide to get into the acting business often find steady work is hard to come by.

If you still decide to go into this industry, just remember TV shows get canceled and sometimes movie production is placed on hold, so you’ll need to make sure you have a solid financial backup plan. With a high unemployment rate for actors, finding a reliable source of employment will take a small miracle.

3. Telemarketer

man on phone

Unless you’re willing to relocate, the telemarketing job scene might not be so kind to you. | iStock.com

Telemarketers have it tough when it comes to employment. A high unemployment rate makes it difficult to enjoy steady work. So if you had hopes of taking on a gig as a telemarketing professional, you might not be able to depend on consistent checks.

The chances of being let go are even higher for positions in this field because many employers have chosen to outsource their services in order to keep costs down. So unless you’re willing to relocate, the telemarketing job scene might not be so kind to you. If you choose this job, expect a pink slip to be handed to you at any moment.

4. Salesperson

Business lady texting and using laptop

As soon as your performance starts to slide, your days with the company are numbered. | iStock.com/DragonImages

When it comes to a commission-based job like sales, your future with the company is always hanging in the balance. If you’re doing well and making money, you can enjoy one more day on the job. But as soon as your performance starts to slide, your days with the company are numbered.

Some employers consider the members of their sales team to be disposable. At most companies, each sales person is required to meet a certain sales target. And if you miss that target, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll be fired. When it comes down to the bottom line, you won’t get much sympathy. The way they see it, if you’re not bringing in the cash, you become a liability.

5. Fast-food worker

fast-food worker

Employers generally don’t work that hard to keep fast-food workers. | iStock.com/lisafx

It’s likely you wouldn’t want to stay long at a job that barely pays minimum wage. However, if you find yourself in a quick-service job, you might end up unemployed quicker than you anticipated. Because fast-food workers are easy to find, employers generally don’t work that hard to keep them.

“Some fast food establishments offer other benefits, such as health insurance and vacation time to workers, including those who are employed part time,” career expert Dawn Rosenberg McKay said in her column for The Balance. “These establishments are the exception to the rule, unfortunately. Many fast food restaurants pay their workers minimum wage and don’t offer benefits to their part-time workers.”

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