If you’re going to whine to the paper, helps to get some facts straight

June 16, 2009 — 16 Comments

How Gen-Xers became has-beens

Let me start by saying I’m not having a go at News.com.au here, but the “job seeker” Michael Gowers who wrote the article.

Lets look beyond the intellectual snobbery this guy offers first, because there’s two really weird quotes in the article (well, there’s more, but these one stands out.)

Along with many of my friends, I never paid much mind to the idea that one day I might be unemployed. For my generation, who are used to a permanently strong economy, it was just never going to happen.

For myself and the rest of the Generation Xers who grew up in a time where work was plentiful, this experience is one that crushes one’s sense of self-worth and leads to an every day battle to maintain hope and keep up the momentum of searching for work.

Now I’m a member of Gen X, and I fit the definition of a young Gen Xer as well because I was born towards the end of the accepted time frame for Gen X (depending on the source, Gen X is anywhere from 1965 through to 1980, although some put the end date earlier at 1975, the year I was born).

Here’s the thing: I didn’t grow up in a time where work was always plentiful. Indeed, when I finished high school in 1993, it was so hard to get a job that entry marks into Universities hit record highs. But maybe my memory is faulty, so lets get some figures.

According to the ABS, unemployment in Australia in August 1993 was 10.7%, but significantly higher again in states like Victoria and Tasmania. It peaked that year at 10.9% after several years above 10%. Although things did turn, by 1997 the figure was only down to 8.7%. Notable is that “youth unemployment” has always been significantly higher than the general rate.

The quotes from Michael Gowers are bullshit. We’ve had a good run from maybe the turn of the century, but the 90’s weren’t a cake walk. What I can’t work out is why use the lines: they aren’t lines that make him a sympathetic character, but an entitled one. As some of the comments note, boo-ho.

Here’s another line that made me laugh:

That is my reality in 2009 now that I am a fulltime unemployed professional jobseeker.

note the “professional jobseeker” part. That’s not meant to imply that he’s a professional at seeking jobs, but he’s looking for a professional job. And here in lies the problem, he’s a job snob.

Don’t get me wrong. Australia has a fantastic system that provides benefits and assistance to those in need. It is not, however, designed to cope with highly qualified individuals who have found themselves out of work

So what he means is that he’s somehow better than others who are unemployed but don’t have three degrees? give me a break.

Everyday I continue with my full-time job of looking for a job, a process that just keeps reminding me of our economic conditions. I am unable to get some jobs because I am now over-qualified and employers feel that I’d simply be taking a job just to have one and would leave as soon as the market picks up.

So how is it that given 5-10 minutes I could find this guy work in a supermarket stacking shelves or at a shop delivering pizzas then, because the local Woolworths still has a sign out saying they are looking for people…oh, and the unemployment rate today is 5.7%.

It does suck to have to go back to doing base work when you’ve had high ranking positions, but society doesn’t owe you a living. As recently as 3 years ago I worked part time in a bottle shop to help pay the bills despite my whoopdy-do degree, and previous roles in marketing and management, some somewhat senior, because that’s what I had to do (that, and b5media wasn’t making money at the time.)

Michael Gowers: get off your fat, lazy, entitled arse and go and take any job you can get.