What a time it must have been! Nineteen seventy-something. I’m not referring to the music – although it was terrific, especially for Australian artists. I’m not referring to the fashion, because the platform shoes and the real chance of tripping over your flared trousers are nothing short of an accident waiting to happen. I’m referring to the job market. The adage which has been regurgitated so many times, I’m going to give it a whole line to itself:
“You could walk out of one job, and straight into another”.
Amen, say the baby boomers. And now a hearty endorsement is given to the phrase from the millennials.
Not with a sense of appreciation, mind you. Not even close. Beneath that agreement with those from another generation lies a festering pool of resentment for some, one so big that it makes Ronnie Biggs look like a pick-pocket. And Bob Hawke will have a double lemon squash.
It is shattering to think that there was a time where life was much simpler. But was it? In this day and age, we don’t have to pore through 256 installments of Funk and Wagnall’s to find a 1/24th-page article on the spotted hyena. Communication – when was the last time you sent a letter or left a message on someone’s home answering machine? News? I still remember my grandfather bemoaning that there would no longer be an afternoon edition of the Daily Mirror. Now it’s online within milliseconds of occurring.
The balance has shifted. But yes, it can be hard to find another job. But what are we willing to do?
The answer is – something.
We can’t always have the jobs that are fitting to our qualifications, our background or our starry-eyed ambitions. And nobody owes us a living. We owe it to ourselves to make do and to progress in any way that we possibly can. I can only reflect on my own experiences in radio, where there have been no jobs available – I’ve had to bow down and do things that weren’t my first choice (cleaning toilets, making beds and emptying waste cartridges from caravans to name but a few), but I had commitments. I had repayments. I had to eat. Take all those things into consideration, and there is no room left for feeling that any task is beneath me.
Work hard, even if it isn’t the work we envisioned. And keep at it. Nothing ever came out of moaning about how there are no jobs available, and there’s no point in applying because we’d just get rejected anyway. That’s like sitting down in the lounge room, then demanding that we be in the kitchen – without ever actually getting up and walking into the kitchen.
And in time, people get sick of listening to the moan. Unemployed, complaining and prospects fading with every passing day. It’s only a stepping stone, and it keeps us fed and clothed until something else comes along. Hell, isn’t this a better alternative than having time to dwell on how life sucks because we can’t find something that we want to do?
Do something. It beats bleating “I heard that in the seventies, you could walk out of one job and straight into another . . . ".
Probably more effective too.