Saturday, May 24, 2014

The “job snob” myth

Well, yes, since you ask (I realise you didn't), I am qualified to comment on the “job snob”.

Apart from the things that I would count as my “career” – training in electronics, caring for stadium sound systems, the shift to journalism, six years as an analyst along the way – there have been the things I did merely to eat and pay the rent.

The short job as a general labourer in a theatre, I won't give in any detail. Suffice to say that the person I answered to cared nothing for OH&S, and I quit.

I had a couple of stints as a courier. Why not? I had a car, I know my way around most of Sydney without resorting to street directories or – these days – GPS, and it almost paid the bills.

And there were a couple of years in the 1980s when I was hosing out Luna Park for a living (there was a small premium for someone who will arrive at 4:30am without complaint).

I still think politicians – especially specimens like Tony Abbott (professional career: university to a brief stint as a journalist, then into politics) and Eric Abetz (barrister and solicitor, then politician) – are talking through the wrong end of a long arse when they bang on like this:

People have no right to hold out for the job of their dreams while they are on unemployment benefits.” – Tony Abbott.

Tasmanians … simply don't want to take the jobs that are on offer.” – Eric Abetz.

Abetz went on, in talking to the ABC, to support Abbott's idea that if you can't get a job in Tasmania, you should be applying for jobs on the mainland.

It'd be nice to see a shred of human decency in their vicinity, even if these guys are only carrying it around because it stuck to the bottom of a shoe when they last stomped on a beggar's face. Alas, no.

Look: it takes money to get a job. Let me pick a place in Tasmania, say, Devonport, and put the job interview in Melbourne.

Right now, the best available Jetstar from Launceston to Melbourne is $45 (not including its extras), making the flights a minimum $90.

But you have to get from Devonport to Launceston first – the train that leaves at 8am arrives at 9:15, which lands the flyer outside the typical “hot price” flight times. Oh, the train costs $24.50 return if you're unemployed and therefore on a concession, otherwise the return is $49.

And then there's Tullamarine to Melbourne. Take the Skybus, it's a $30 return.

To make the journey for the interview – let's just skip the business of moving for a minute – is in the order of $170. That's completely out of reach of someone who's unemployed. Especially since there's going to be that dreadful second short-list interview to go through.

Now, the blithely ignorant statements that someone looking for work should “go where the work is”.

That means moving house. You've just spent the last six months on zero benefits at all (the nasty, vicious, nocturnal emission of smug, sleek libertarians), you spent your last four hundred bucks on the interviews, you're borrowing from friends to get over to Melbourne on the weekend so you can start on Monday.

You've got no home sorted out yet, you're just about to leave all your furniture behind, and all that was available anyhow was in fast food, and you're still not sure how many shifts you'll get each week. And you're paying for accommodation in two places because you had to leave the wife and kids behind …

But no worries, you can send for your family and your stuff just as soon as your paltry wage lets you put together a spare thousand or two for the transport.

These guys are out-of-touch in that special way you can only achieve when your body inhabits an ivory tower, and your brain is off chatting to Ayn Rand sitting at the right hand of the almighty.

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