Last night I watched the Four Corners episode from Monday. It aired the secret behind America’s economic recovery – cutting full time employees and hiring more people on part time and casual wages. The same is largely true of Australia.
In the documentary we met a man with a wife and family living in a tent on a church parking lot. We followed him walking around the city trying to secure a job for the day.
There was a particular point as he walked away from the final employment office without work that crushed me. Here was a man willing to work and do whatever it took to provide for his family – food, a roof over their heads, anything – and he couldn’t do it. He was stripped of basically all that identifies him.
The despair, humiliation, and anger he must have felt at that moment was hidden pretty well, but I sure felt it! The knowledge that I couldn’t feed my family or house them would be difficult to bear. Adding to that the knowledge that it would take years to even reach a point of relative stability (never mind actually doing well and getting ahead) and I’d be feeling pretty down!
The purpose of today’s blog is to remind that your capacity to work and the availability of work to engage in is something that you should never take for granted! This also goes for the education and circumstances that got you there. You may love or hate your job, but at least you’re able to contribute in a meaningful way to your life and those of your family.
In Australia, the drift towards a similar casualization of the workforce is something that should be closely watched. We are luckier here in that we have a stronger safety net to catch most that find themselves in a slump, but the ability to provide stable, fulfilling work to everyone who wants it should be a hallmark of a successful society.
If you’ve got a spare 45 minutes, give the episode a watch!