There was a time when people started in a job straight from school and stayed in it untill they retired. People liked the stability, knowing what they were going to be doing from one day to the next. Following a routine gave some kind of security and they took comfort in the fact that they knew exactly what was expected of them. The friendly faces they would see every morning became like a second family, as strong friendships were forged.
Today things are very different, the 'Jobs for Life' culture is shrinking all the time as companies move into short term contract work. Due to the competitive nature of business, firms are looking for flexibility, they want to be able to move staff on if they are no longer performing productively. All this uncertainty creates worry for those who have jobs, the pressure to perform can tip people over the edge so they have to seek medical advice for the anxieties and depression they are experiencing. Not a good situation to be in, but there's not a lot we can do about it. It's a global issue which can't be remedied by one country alone. There's a world wide market out there and we have to compete, adjustments have to be made.
It's a shame that these changes are happening but they are and there's no getting away from it. The man who was expecting to follow in his fathers footsteps and work for 50 years in the steel works will have to look further afield for his employment. Learning just one trade, and expecting to be still in that trade many years down the line probably won't happen.
I feel for those people who are experiencing their first redundancy, after giving many years service to their employer. They will be the ones who are feeling emotionally drained, and will be at an utter loss as to what to do next. At first their hopes will be quite high for gaining another job. Some may be lucky, but as the months pass by and there is no sign of further employment, those left behind will be faced with the reality of retraining. At middle age they will find they are expected to learn another skill. Some will embrace this challenge with gusto, but sadly some will fall into despair because they can't see where they should go next.
Have a go at anything has always been my mantra. I didn't train for any specific career, I just had a go at what I thought I might like to do. I suppose I was lucky really that I didn't have any academic qualifications. I didn't study to become anything, I was just me, Jill of all trades, master of none. I got into the habit of trying something, and moving on when I stopped enjoying it and it all became too boring. Change has never bothered me, and this is what some people are struggling with now when they lose their job. It's the prospect of trying something new which is so daunting.
I've always kept a list of the jobs I have done, mainly for the purpose of filling out application forms, the bit where they ask what was your previous employment. There was never enough boxes for me as I struggled to fit it all in. I now believe my attitude to work was definately right for me, I never expected a job for life, nor did I want one.
I certainly had a lot of variety.....
First was shop work. I worked at a small leather shop for all of five days, I soon realised I didn't like spending all day in a box, too claustrophobic. Then I went to Woolworths, I liked that, big store, lots going on. Next Melias, a grocery store, I liked that, friendly workmates and a variety of work to do.
Then I wanted a job with better wages, and factory work paid well. I went to work at Roberts and Birch, a factory which made meat products out of dead pigs. Well I was young, this was probably the first time I started thinking about becoming a veggie. I had to leave there because it was making me feel sick. From there I went to work in a toilet roll factory.
Next came my move to Blackpool where I took a job in a cafe. I also worked on Central Pier, and on the Pleasure Beach selling hot dogs and donuts. In the winter I went to Empire Pools, the football coupon place, where I worked in a big office.
Then I was alternating between my summer job and winter job, and also went back home for a few months to work back at Woolies. Next was Tesco, then I got a job selling car parts for a Chrysler Garage. I found a lot of customers and built up a round from nothing. Next I was a driving instructor, then a lorry driver, then a bus driver. I was also a part time bar maid in a pub, and worked behind the bar at a night club.
For 32 years I was a lorry driver, but even then I choppped and changed whenever the fancy took me. I was self employed for seven of those years as a freelance driver. I did just about every job you can think of, delivered everything and anything.
What else? I did a job fundraising for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, which involved going into schools and doing presentations to the kids, getting them to fundraise for us. I have run two small businesses, one was an Introduction Agency, and the other was a mobile shop which sold fancy goods with a cat theme. Both lasted three years.
I did party plan for The Body Shop, wasn't too keen on that. There were a lot of little part time jobs which I did to earn a bit more dosh. I worked for a metal detector company assembling headphones, I was a dab hand with a soldering iron. I did a bit for a funeral director. I went to funerals and stood outside the church or crematorium, taking the names of the mourners for the newspaper. I was the church scrubber in my village, ha ha, I cleaned the church. I did gardening jobs, mowing, hedge trimming tidying up etc.
All in all, being flexible has held me in good stead. I know I will survive (ooh, that's a song), no matter what life throws at me. It doesn't do to put all your eggs in one basket these days, spread yourself around a bit that's what I say. Don't be afraid to experiment with new jobs, don't say, 'oh I don't think I can do that', give it a try.
If I ever become set in my ways, please give me a kick up the backside. Toodle pip.
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