I heard that a new report by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is bemoaning that there are literally swathes of men in the South West who have to – gasp! – take part-time work in order to have any job at all. This is being termed ‘under employment’.
The report lightly smacks of misogyny. It points out that:
…the number of men doing involuntary part-time work has rocketed by 77% to 40,778, while for women the figures are 58,593 – a rise of 47%.
I wonder. How many of the men who are currently ‘under-employed’ were happy to enjoy full-time employment in the past whilst arranging for dear ‘ole wifey to stay at home to look after the kids? And just how many of these men were happy to lord it over a wife who ‘only’ had a part-time job as she simultaneously took care of his children and the household?
Perhaps there are a few more men out there who are learning that juggling a part-time role with family responsibilities is not as easy as it can look. Hopefully there are thousands of partners who are getting more support from fathers who now have no excuse not to pick the kids up from school and cook them an evening meal a few days a week.
In all seriousness. It’s not hard to sympathise with those who are feeling genuine economic hardship after being made redundant, or who are being asked to take a pay cut, who are on benefits, or who are working a part-time role when they would prefer to work full-time – simply from personal experience. However, it’s easy to disagree with the TUC who believe that “proper jobs growth” (because part-time work isn’t a “proper” job?) must be the Government’s top priority.
If there is to be growth at all, it must be sustainable growth. Even the TUC cannot fail to have realised that exalting growth at the expense of everything else is not sustainable. An economy that grows based on massive debt, false accounting or illusionary profits is headed for disaster. At some point, the books must be balanced.
It’s been no secret that there is no longer such a thing as a job for life. More than ever we must take responsibility for our own ongoing professional development. This includes asking current employers to pay for training (and if they don’t agree it’s time to consider changing employer), or perhaps paying for our own training to gain new or advanced skills.
Life is generally not plotted on a steadily upward curve. Occasionally we must take steps back as individuals and not assume that government will have all the answers if the worst happens.
Unless you are a misogynistic dinosaur, taking on a part-time job is no negative thing. Perhaps through it you can learn new skills and make new contacts which in turn could lead to a job that is closer to what you want. And that might take time, but sustainable economies do not grow overnight.