By Sylvain Lamoureux of my mind and the world
After reading about the job losses globally, I began to think of the job seekers and their plight. I have always said that looking for a job is the worst part of ‘life’. We are dictated by the ‘free market’ and narrowed choices (therefore not really a choice) of ‘jobs’, (livelihoods) to become a slave in order to ‘live’. We are taught at an early age the importance of jobs and money. Twelve year olds in Montreal get babysitter certificates and little business cards in order to instill ‘business’ into their pliable minds.
If you have lived in the last 40 years or so, then you may have noticed how ‘education / training’ (and I use this because of a Canadian government ad that stated it this way) has changed over the decades. Education used to mean the ability to adapt, to change to learn and to move forward; in a way, to evolve. Now it is the almighty dollar which dictates the professions, therefore the lives of the society through memorize and regurgitate’ certifications. Masses ‘become’ whatever the society needs of them and whatever is profitable. One can specialize in anything these days with certification courses coming out of every orifice of the capitalistic classification system. In Ontario, one needs a certificate to operate a man-lift but not to operate an excavator; does this make sense?
“You’re not qualified”, “you’re over qualified”, “where were you for this time?”, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, “what did you do for work during this time?”, “what are your certifications?”; they want to know everything about you. The questions are designed to ‘characterize’ you within a few minutes; are you honest, will you leave or stay, will you steal from the company, will you flip out and go on a killing spree. They already think the worst of you, now you have to prove them wrong. What a way to live. And we smile through it with combed hair, clean shaved and freshly showered faces politely responding, all the while nodding and smiling and spouting whatever the interviewer may want to hear. We accept that this is the way it is and go on from one job interview to the other.
The public seem to become pilots, nurses, doctors, police persons, builders, engineers and so on, seemingly at whim. “There are shortages” for these professions I have heard and all seemed to have rushed to colleges and technical schools in order to fill these positions. The people then await, with baited breath, on what the next shortage would be in order to ‘move up’ in life for we wanted to ‘do better’ than our parents. We all wanted to ‘specialize’ and make the big bucks. We seemed to ‘focus’ on the prize and adapted by sending ourselves and our children through school (not to learn; to be trained). Teachers are taught to train their students to pass tests or are hired on a ‘performance’ basis. This ‘trained’ generation goes to work and Office 2007 comes out, leaving them staring blankly at a new interface and need re-training; they have forgotten how to explore and learn.
That ‘trained’ mentality did not stop with our ‘specialized’ education; it trickled into our very beings. We seemed to live and drink work, training and ‘the law’, all the while reveling in the material goods, popularity and comfort that it seemed to bring with it. We were intoxicated. We created competitions with our neighbors, our families and our friends and reverted our lives to ‘specializing’ around us and a select few others. We closed ourselves off from new ‘real’ experiences.
While this was going on, the experience and ability to ‘survive’ has also been lost. Were something to happen in this day and age, there would be widespread panic and chaos. Cities are the deathtraps with dependence on the basics such as food and water. Think about the city that you live in right now and how many people live there. Now picture those millions of people in an emergency situation (what ever the cause) without access to food and water. Where do they go, what do they do? Is that 72 hour survival pack going to carry you through? Is that certification going to help you?
We have been collectively taught to survive by being retrained, by learning a trade, by making our hobbies pay off; by adapting to the environment that is manufactured. We have been indoctrinated to believe that any job is better than no job; we have learned to compete, beg and grovel. All this is for the almighty dollar, something that has no value and comes with debt attached to it.
Those that do find jobs are constantly stressed by fears of losing the job, of not performing up to standards, of being replaced by younger hires or technology, of being out-sourced or that the company will go under. They give us yearly ‘evaluations’ which wave expectations and meager increases in front of us, raising the levels of fear by intimidation. They kill off the unions and instead hire through ‘placement’ agencies to which I refer to as the ‘Professional Pimps’; feeding off of the desperation of others. The fears permeate through our entire lives and act as a ‘policing’ element for the society. The feeling of ‘always being watched’ turns into reality and we blindly accept them in our daily lives as ‘security’ devices.
In the end all these ‘job seekers’ will be filling out so many forms and providing so much data in the upcoming years that it will allow the system to better ‘classify’ them and determine strategies. As the unemployment benefits run out, the unions die and the system collapses even more, at least the databases will be able to identify the victims of capitalism.
Sylvain Lamoureux is a Cyrano’s Journal’s Special Editor and Director of IT services. His personal blog area My Mind & the World is located at http://syllamo.bestcyrano.org/ .