I’ve been writing a lot about kindness lately, and I want to keep that theme going, because I think Australia, as a nation is sorely lacking in this most basic human trait.
This is the story of thousands and thousands of people. They could be riding beside you on the bus, living across the road from you or waving their children off to the same school as your children.
The only difference between you and these people is that you’re employed and they are not. But don’t be fooled. I bet dollars to dozens they are trying their utmost best to restore their potions in jobs anywhere, even jobs below their pay grades and with great salary losses.
How do I know? Because I’m one of them. This country still has the ignorant opinion that people out of work are dole bludgers and don’t deserve anything. That guy you sat by on the bus this morning? He probably skipped breakfast, and will more than likely skip lunch as well.
I count my lucky stars every day, that I get to move to a high crime neighbourhood, into a house in bad disrepair, because I will be free of this crippling rent I have been trying to pay for the last year and a half. The women who waved goodbye to her children at your Childs’ school may have only just applied for public housing. The waiting list is long. I live in a small town, the wait is over 3 years. I can’t imagine what it is in a major town or city.
Unless that woman can get a job soon then the rent is going to render her homeless or reduced to living in her car. This is the stark reality for people who are without work at the moment.
I am lucky, I write, tweet and sometimes get my work published for a fee. I also do the odd social consultancy role, which I wish I could do more of, as I enjoy them immensely. What of the thousands of other people trying to juggle electricity, rent and phone bills? I hope they all have working spouses, but we all know this is not the case for many. Because being a single parent in this country is akin to a death knell.
It’s only through the kindness of strangers that I have been able to stay in this house and afford to pay my rent and phone bill, because God knows, a sole parenting payment only allows you to choose one, and all single parents I know will choose a roof over food, clothing, school excursions, phone and even electricity.
The town I live in averages 7 new job positions a week. Half of them are farm hand work. I can’t even fix the hole in my fucking wall, let alone fence a property. The other half are for food service (read McDonalds KFC) and occasionally, an office administration position. Has anyone ever been told they are over qualified for a position? It fucking sux.
Now this is where people say, well why don’t you move then. When was the last time you moved say, to another town or city? And do you remember how much it cost? This is assuming you have somewhere to move to, because the last time I checked, magical cheap units aren’t exactly growing on street corners.
This isn’t to say I’m not applying for positions in Sydney and Melbourne. I am. And if I do manage to land a position I will once again be relying on the kindness of a friends couch until I can get my own place for myself and my children.
Well why aren’t you doing that right now I hear all the people in snug jobs saying, the reason is because I can apply for jobs from here, without having to actually live in Sydney or Melbourne.
This post is to thank everyone who has ever helped me. You have no idea how you have made my life better in a million different ways. I wrote a post on kindness the other day. Kindness can and has changed my world. And when I am back on my feet, all the kindness shown towards me will be paid forward in every way I possibly can. This I promise.
And please, can everyone stop demonising people who are out of work, because with the way this economy is heading, you may wake up tomorrow and find you yourself are the person sitting on the bus having missed breakfast and showing the tell-tale signs of a stomach ulcer growing in your stomach because the worry and desperation is starting to eat you, from the inside out.