This paper considers the ways in which accounts from Glasgow Catholics diverge from those of Protestants and explores the reasons why people leave jobs, including health grounds. Accounts reveal experiences distinctive to Catholics, of health-threatening stress, obstacles to career progression within (mainly) private-sector organisations, and interactional difficulties which create particular problems for (mainly) middle class men. This narrows the employment options for upwardly mobile Catholics, who may then resort to self-employment or other similarly stressful options. The paper considers whether the competence of Catholics or Catholic cultural factors are implicated in thwarting social mobility among Catholics or, alternatively, whether institutional sectarianism is involved. We conclude that, of these options, theories of institutional sectarianism provide the hypothesis which currently best fits these data. In Glasgow, people of indigenous Irish descent are recognisable from their names and Catholic background and are identified as Catholic by others. Overt historical exclusion of Catholics from middle class employment options now seems to take unrecognised forms in routine assumptions and practices which restrict Catholic employment opportunities. It is argued that younger Catholics use education to overcome the obstacles to mobility faced by older people and circumvent exclusions by recourse to middle class public-sector employment. This paper aims to link historical, structural and sectarian patterns of employment experience to accounts of health and work, and in so doing to contribute to an explanation for the relatively poor health of Catholic Glaswegians with Irish roots.