The title should suffice, to tell the truth, but I’ve thought for some time that it’s necessary to confront the idea that being jobless equals laziness. Seeing the rhetoric of various political parties, and Readers’ Comments all over the place has been very tiresome and disheartening, especially when discussing this topic. I’ve shared my thoughts about this on my Twitter page in the past, and felt I could have something on my blog, this time without character limits. This post is a response I wrote on Facebook to a friend’s status declaring people in employment ‘hard-working/earning class’, and those without ‘lazy’, ‘work shy’, ‘freeloaders’ etc. – while expressing faux concerns about the society’s less fortunate/have-nots in the same breath (this confused me, too…). By the way, the thought of people writing vile comments about ‘laziness’ on social media sites during their own work hours often leaves me taking very slow sips of cocoa…
Except you’re falling into the same trap of stigmatising people without work, and making grand and gross presumptions about their lives. I would confront the idea that unemployed = ‘work shy/laziness’. It doesn’t at all, and it certainly isn’t a starting point. In fact, I would consider them to be the less fortunate due to the fact that they don’t have the privilege of having a job and being able to earn an income!! Looking for work IS work, and a paycheque doesn’t validate anybody as ‘hard-working’. You can apply for numerous jobs without receiving any feedback from prospective employers – But the fact that someone has no job or paycheque makes him/her ‘work shy and lazy’, and they’re ‘freeloaders’ for having any form of social security? Meanwhile, many members of management, who are PAID to send feedback, get no sanctions whatsoever for failing to respond to applications for jobs they advertised in agencies and ‘Job Centres’. You can find them pissing about, probably on sites like this, and writing some bullshit about the unemployed. Really, who is being ‘lazy’ there?
Still, I wouldn’t be so outraged at people who might come across as lazy – It’s the path of cowardice, because it’s easy to pick on them and claim some sort of moral superiority, rather than address the deeper-rooted issues. Has anybody considered that governments of the day use them as a distraction, and often? Has anybody ever stopped to ask what these people were born into, where they came from, grew up, had a family in work, or whether the odds of them finding stability and prosperity in work, and breaking a vicious cycle were against them to start with? Has anybody considered that even in the event that they may try to find a way out, they may be met with discourage? How about the emotional hurdles presented by numerous rejections, and the fact that over many weeks, months and even years, it can become harder to pick one’s self up again? That isn’t laziness, it’s a degree of resignation – both are very different, with the latter being born out of a place of darkness, despair and disillusion. Then there’s the fact that the more that happens, and the longer they’re out of work, the harder it becomes to get into work. It’s far too easy to point fingers and antagonise, and in that moment, forget to show some sympathy, understanding and compassion. It’s easy to forget or become oblivious to the social barriers and dehumanisations that such people face. Truthfully, we don’t know HOW they arrived there, and we don’t know their circumstances.
All of that, before we even mention racism, sexism, disabilities, the bullying tactics of numerous ‘Job Centres’, and reports that more people have been facing sanctions – By the way, when somebody gets a sanction, they’re classed as ‘economically inactive’, not unemployed; some might call it a convenient way of manipulating employment statistics. I realise that, at this point, few people or nobody might care to consider everything in this comment, but a lot of people in vulnerable positions are feeling rather emotional, and I believe that a reassessment is in order. Thanks for reading. I’ll leave it here. Enjoy your afternoon. xJ
x Love J