Sitting here looking out my window I can understand people with SAD, seasonal affective disorder. The vista is grey, the wind whistles its discordant tune and I sit here. I have rejoined the thousands of casual workers in New Zealand, I am a relief teacher. Some of my work is pre-booked but other days one sits waiting for that text. No text, no work, no pay, very simple and it is the dilemma that many people face. I have an advantage that my hourly rate is somewhat better than most casual workers however part of that is because I can only earn 40 weeks of the year. I hope that my sojourn back into this kind of employment is brief but the reality is that it may be this way for a long time. I am focussed on staying away from state assistance, there is however a high price to pay for independence and I have to consider my children in amongst that and they come first in my life.
I have started the merry go round of applying for jobs again. The reality for me is that teaching is where my future lies, not that I won’t do other work is just that I know there are many things I can do, but not for a long time. My body is just not up to it any more. I have been reflecting on this as I gaze around different places and look at the work force. I see more and more people whom I would call elderly doing relatively physical work. Some of them look clearly up to it but some of them I feel absolutely sorry for. I have spoken to a number of them and for some it is a life style choice, they are happy to be in the work force and others are their because of necessity.
For me I need the intellectual stimulation of work. I have a somewhat high flicker rate and boredom can set in relatively quickly, I need challenge and change in my workplace. I need to be creative and I enjoy working with people. However I also need balance and work with my hands brings balance so I enjoy the opportunity to do some construction, cooking or other creative things when I get the chance.
I guess this is a long winded way of saying I have choice, the reasons that I have choice are many, they start with the fact that I had parents who chose to feed, clothe , house and educate me to the best of their ability. We never went hungry that I can ever remember. We were certainly never well off and had to share often but we were loved. We were loved because our parents put us first.
I love my children and although there are many things in my life that frustrate me at the moment I know that I will put them first, sometimes that will mean that I need some out time, some time to myself but it comes down to this every decision I make gets run through a filter and the first pass in the end needs to be my children. As a sole parent it has to be that way, as much as I would like to at times think that I am an independent care free bohemian that only works for when I am asleep.
So here is the rub, we have an economy and society that is didactic in its approach to individualism, user pays, private good, consumerism all have their root in the belief of the supremacy of the individual. Market forces, neo liberal thought all have the notion of individualism as supreme and that is what is wrong with society. It means that we are able to dehumanise and demonise all things and people that have the potential to impinge on our personal liberty, that is those things and people in society that have the temerity to impact on our ability to get the latest house, car, holiday or other bauble that we may desire. We all know the consequence of having a disengaged and alienated underclass. Do we want that?