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I live in the USA, My wife and I have 4 natural-born children (13, 13, 9, 7 years old). We also are foster parents, and recently took in 2 more young children (2yrs and 6mo old baby) while their mom works out her issues. We also have a relationship with a former foster child, and take in a 7th child (2 years old) like a nephew every month or so for a weekend to give his single dad a break.

I've been reluctant to discuss this arrangement with my work colleagues, as I feel management may look down on me for future career advancement/promotion/bonus/etc. When we meet new people (outside of work), and they find out the size of the family, we'll usually always get comments like "You sure have your hands full", or "You must not have much free time". I don't want these types of thoughts spilling over into my manager's mind when he makes people recommendations to upper management.

Would you, as a manager, think slightly less of an employee having a large family, even if they got their work done and did a great job?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Masked Man, gnat, Retired Codger, Draken, Dukeling Feb 7 '18 at 15:37

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I don't think it matters much on the size of your family but rather your responsibilities and availability. What is your position and what timeline does it require from you outside of the standard 9-5? – Isaiah3015 Feb 7 '18 at 14:47
  • The position is mainly 9-5, with some evening work on rare occasions. Also, it's not like I'm hiding the fact I have kids from them. They most certainly know, but do they need to be reminded every time in casual conversations? – Jay Feb 7 '18 at 14:58
  • Learn how to do a positive career-friendly spin to those comments. "You must not have much free time!" "Oh, you'd be surprised actually. We are super organized and have terrific project management skills, so we end up with as much free time as our friends, really." Not quite that blatant, but that sort of thing. Or "this is our leisure activity. It's no different from being at a competitive level in a sport or hobby, it takes up time, sure, but we're working towards something that's important to us." If you always respond like this, you are controlling what managers think at promotion time. – Kate Gregory Feb 7 '18 at 15:32
  • Data based answer (if only anecdotal): I worked with two people with very large families: bigger than yours. They were almost entire opposites in terms of employee behavior, performance and productivity. So no,I would not think less of anyone with lots of kids, since it doesn't seem to correlate with anything relevant to the work place – Hilmar Feb 7 '18 at 17:15
  • @raterus "do they need to be reminded every time in casual conversations?" ---- No, they do not. If you are required to put more hours than you normally can, explain to them that you are unable to due to outside work hour responsibilities. – Isaiah3015 Feb 8 '18 at 15:22
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If I was a manager, I would not.

I would, instead, consider you as a keeper and a hard worker. Young and single fellows can quit and look for other companies, might be several times a year, with no problem (live off their savings - one person only). In the other hand, you can not since you have responsibilities. This does not mean I will take advantage of you. This only motivates me to try and help you out since we could all be in your situation -> life/work balance.

Now if you take 2 days off every week, because of issues with your family, that would not be good for you nor your employer. But if you do your job, covering what is requested from you and performing well, I will think more of you; with respect.

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From my experience, I would say it would tend to harm your wife's career more than yours because of the perception that she has to take off more time to tend their needs. Of course most women I know who have that many children do not work outside the home. I have not yet seen a man who had a large family discriminated against, I have seen that they often get better raises than their coworkers who do not have children. Companies tend to see family man as more stable and reliable.

However, in a company like a start-up with lots of young singles, it might very well be considered to be a problem as those companies often want people who will work til midnight every day.

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If you think that this knowledge will somehow impede your career, don't reveal said information. However, be aware that it may well come to light when you ask for time off to take one of the kids to the doctor's, or to a game, etc.

If you build a friendly relationship with your coworkers, you'll garner understanding (rather than scorn) when they find out about your particular situation.

However, management does have the company's well-being first and foremost in mind. If they think that you are too likely to take many sick/vacation days, etc. then they won't promote you. The best way to prevent this happening is to prove yourself prior to revealing your family situation.

  • Good answer. Why does your employer need to know details of your personal life? – Mister Positive Feb 7 '18 at 19:29

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