Thursday, July 23, 2009

i never let on that i was on a sinking ship

I was on the bus home from work today when I started to get all excited about the fact that College Green is becoming a bus-only zone during rush hour from Monday onwards.

"What crazy capers might I get up to with the extra five minutes or so this should afford me in work?" I wondered, largely quietly.

Then I remembered that, come Monday, I won't be going to work. I've been teaching English to foreign kids for the last four weeks. but tomorrow (Friday) is my last day. Spanish and Italian kids are, understandably enough, not coming over here in anything like the quantities they once were. You'll have noticed that you haven't had to step off the pavement quite so often to get around them. Finding out whether there may be sufficient amounts of them to get me work for August has proven an impossible task.

"We'll give you a buzz if any work comes up" is the standard line my colleagues and I are hearing. There was a time when the only people in Ireland who received such vague promises were the Lithuanians they hired to rub muck onto free-range eggs to make them more expensive. Now it's probably par for the course, whatever industry you're in.

And that's the thing about a recession, it's one hell of a leveller. So many people here got it into their heads that they were special, that they deserved everything they had and that good jobs would always be around. It's perhaps no harm for everyone to get a massive reality check. Because, judging by the national debt figures the government are mentioning, this mess has been a long time coming.

8 comment(s):

Radge said...

I hear ya. The Irish haven't caught on to the idea of a recession.

Recently let go, I jumped at the chance to do a few shifts for the same company on slightly lower pay with the probability of building the business back up to where it once was.

Only three or four of my former colleagues are doing it too. We all got the option but the rest are turning their noses up, probably enjoying the time off too much.

I don't get the Irish.

Darren said...

I'll be honest, I'm one of the people who has their heads firmly wedged underground. Becuase it hasn't directly hit me or my wages packet (too much) yet, I'm just......well, i'm ignoring it in the hope it'll go away.

I work away (being busy trying to be busy) and ignore the falling profits, the cutbacks, the worried looks among the bosses.

The thing is, I'm not sure what else I should be doing.

B said...

It's actually started hitting us pretty bad on my dad's side with drops to the farming grants and whatnot(and when they were at their highest, he got the lowest figures for land/animals possessed for anyone in the country), but, due to some terrible work with a mortgage, we never really witnessed any sort of evidence of the whole economic boom at all.

I think a lot of people on the breadline are being fucked over by their employers big time though and this "aren't you lucky to have a job?" malarkey is nonsense... especially since so many people don't seem to want to work for anything less than wonderful pay.

catherine said...

I was away for the whole Tiger hoo-ha so I'm kinda baffled by the recession hissyfits some people seem to be throwing. Spoilt children.

Hope the work situation improves...

Andrew said...

Radge - Good, I'm delighted you've got some more work out of them.
I upset people when I say this, but i suspect social welfare might just be a little too generous in some cases. My mother works for a state body, who recently laid off some of their part-time staff. One of them now gets a bit more (dole, grants for single mothers, rent allowance, etc)as an unemployed person than she did when she was working for the government.
I don't hold it against people in that kind of position, but i can understand why they wouldn't be rushing out to find another job.

Darren - I don't think you have to do anything, it just helps to be appreciative of the position you're in. Fear of the situation won't get us anywhere, but i suspect it was smugness and complacency that contributed to things getting bad so quickly.

B - Yeah, I can imagine that a lot of employers are taking advantage of the situation and over-working and under-paying their staff. I was saying to someone recently how it doesn't seem right that you can get 200 a week for doing nothing, while other people are out there busting their asses every day for 400 or less. He just said "yeah, I suppose the busting your ass part is for the extra 200." And he's right, I'd rather work hard and get 400 than do absolutely nothing and get 200. And I hope most people would be the same.

Catherine - I remember realising that the situation had gotten ridiculous when I was working in a supermarket at weekends at the age of about 20 or 21 and a guy I barely knew who was a year or two younger than me came up to me and said "Are you not a bit old for this kind of work?"
That was about the peak of the boom and at the time a lot of people considered that kind of job far too menial for them and only fot for an eastern European or a teenager. An awful lot of people of around our age grew accustomed to living off their parents during their college years, rather than imposing any unpleasant part-time work on themselves. So it shows itself in the attitude of people in their mid-twenties now.

B said...

On the basis of the ridiculous staff turnover there is in my place, they wouldn't... and these people are getting the easy jobs!
Just as well, gives me moral superiority, that's worth plenty.

EW said...

Hi, been lurking for a while. Good post "And that's the thing about a recession, it's one hell of a leveller." so true.

Hope something new comes up

Andrew said...

Thanks, EW. I got the aforementioned "there's a bit of work going" call last week, so I've had work for this week and probably all of next. which is something.