In my previous post I tried to unload some of the initial shock of discovering I might soon be jobless on to my blog. This time around I want to try and analyse the implications this potential future has in store for me. I want to do so because I think these implications show more than just what my future might be: they tell us a lot of where our society is heading for.
The most extreme post-losing-job future is one of long term unemployment. Although the job marketplace does not look stellar, that particular possible future remains unlikely. There are various mitigation options there, ranging from taking the opportunity to flip some burgers to taking personal business initiatives I wouldn’t otherwise take being the risk averse person I am. The latter come with high risk, but offers high potential for job satisfaction and could just be financially viable. The opportunity to move my career towards greener pastures could mean that losing my job might be a blessing in disguise.
The more likely alternative has me finding short term contract work. This is where the market is heading at the moment: with government being the largest employer, and with government cutting down permanent positions and running under policies forbidding new positions to be established, the entire job market is heading down that path. This is classic Liberal Party policy that, in classic Liberal Party fashion, can lead to significantly higher financial rewards. However, it comes at a price: while contract work usually pays more than permanent work, it lacks the ability to take one’s employment for granted. One is essentially always on the job hunt.
Superficially, always being on the job hunt doesn’t sound too bad. It can lead to better performances from people always seeking to impress their employers. However, it also means one has to spend significant energies securing a work spot, energies that come off capacity that might have been used on the job itself instead. To the contractor, the potential for higher rewards comes at the price of higher uncertainty. Me, I hate uncertainty.
Uncertainty can hit you when you least expect it. It can come in the form of personal health problems; it can come in the shape of health issues for the people you care about the most; and it can materialise in the demands of parenthood, which do not always align with one’s career plans. Me, I have experienced all of the above; I suspect that you, being human and all, have experience at least some of them. The point is, I do not want to have to worry about my income at a time when I’m hit with a surprise tumour (to name but one example); I suspect that neither do you. You may not worry about these things in your twenties, perhaps not even in your thirties, but life does catch up. Sooner or later you will.
To me, the loss of my current job is almost certain to imply the end of an era where I could take my job for granted and be able to focus on life as long as I am out of the office. Losing this ability is the thing I’m afraid of the most when I consider the prospect of losing my current job. However, losing this ability will only be putting me in the same playing field most people are at, especially the younger generation: this is the world we have established for ourselves in the past two decades.
Me, I’m a conservative. I want to live in the past.