Want a job? Put in the work, and I don’t mean get a degree


Listening to Morning Ireland today as the show’s reporter Cian McCormack travelled the country, I heard the sad, but very familiar, tale of a family where two of three sons were emigrating.

I nodded in agreement and felt a tear come to my eye as I heard the mother, who supports the family singlehandedly, say she had sent them all to college, educated them, done her best by them, only to send them away.

And then I heard the son talk about emigrating. His friends are gone, he said. He and one remaining friend had lost their jobs in factories (both had business degrees) and leaving was the only option they had. I nodded away at the wheel of my car, getting strange looks from drivers in oncoming cars.

Then, McCormack asked him how he would vote if he was still here for the election.

And I stopped nodding. I didn’t have a recording device on me at the time, but the conversation went something like this:

“Sure why would I vote? Which one of them will give me a job, that’s all I want. Sure it’s a joke, the whole thing’s a joke. What’s voting going to do for me?”

I nearly crashed the car.

If you are one of those people with what Max Weber referred to as the Protestant work ethic, if you believe that only your hard work and God’s grace will influence the path of your life, this might be a way of justifying not voting. If you believe that your life is predetermined and that only graft will get you where you want to be, then don’t vote. Fair enough.

If you believe that the world does not owe you anything and that you and only you can change your life, then, sure, what’s the point in voting? Just go and get your job. It’s a fairly Tory way of looking at the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s invalid. I don’t agree with it, but it’s logical. But if you did believe all that, then you’d believe it was your own fault (or God’s will) that you didn’t have a job.

But, if you believe, as this guy clearly did, that the world owes you a job, and that it is someone else’s fault – politicians – that you don’t have one, then surely you have even more of a responsibility to vote? Surely you want to see politicians in power who will prioritise you and your job, rather than leaving your prospects in the control of voters with different priorities to you?

The lack of logic in the guy’s complaint was mind-blowing.

The world doesn’t owe you a job, but in a democratic country you are guaranteed certain human rights – dignity is one of them and the ability to live is another. So you can argue that maybe the world doesn’t owe you a job, but maybe Ireland does, as a citizen of the country.

But in a democratic country there are rights and obligations. There are certain parts of the democratic contract that mean that to get something, you give something.

You have a basic responsibility to do your homework on your local candidates and their policies, if you feel that it’s their fault you don’t have a job.

If you feel that our current circumstances are somehow predetermined and nothing will change them, sure, don’t bother voting.

That way, things are predetermined – by idiots  who refuse to get up and do something about it, and allow the consensus to continue out of a pointless, angry, apathy that serves nobody and nothing.

It’s one thing not voting because you don’t see alternative policies being put forward, or because you don’t have a candidate in your constituency who you feel represents you. But your job as a citizen of a democratic country is to make sure your representatives know you feel that way and not just lie back and take it as if nothing makes a difference.

Want a job? Put in the work – and that doesn’t mean getting a degree.

Edit: I’m not for a minute suggesting the guy wasn’t a hard worker or hadn’t done his best to get a job. But the cause of unemployment in this country is political and economic, and if every person who can’t get a job doesn’t bother voting, then the consensus remains; which is why we have a system here that benefits middle aged high earners. Young people aren’t represented because young people don’t see a connection between their lives and their vote. And that has to change.

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10 comments

  1. I totally agree Dee, and being abroad – and disenfranchised – has heightened my awareness of my peers still at home. My own brother and sister informed me that they will not be voting because it’s too much effort. Apathy at it’s best.

    You get the politicians you deserve, or so they say.

  2. I believe that we have to take control over our own destiny. Voting in the next election is so important as we need to take back the control.

  3. It’s time for a voters tax credit, if you don’t vote and can’t provide a decent reason why not then you don’t get this tax credit and so pay more tax. After all they didn’t care how much tax they paid or where it was spent so why not take more off them?

  4. I totaly agree with you about what can take place in prospect if you don’t take a step in choosing what seems the best for your futur actually it’s no more easier today to make up your mind once you realize that these politicians actors have in the recent past disappointed you therefore you’ve decided not to be represented by these same guys, you’ve driven to forget any politician propangada.
    This is quiet the same thing that we’re living in my country where the majority of the population has been stricken by a certain apahty for polical issues they know that they can not change anything since they’ve been deceived by the very representives they sent at the parlement to fight for their right !
    I agree with you that the right thing to do in a democratic country is not to give up choosing until you pick up the right person who is going to meet your aspiration!

  5. Thanks guys, nice to see there are a few people out there who feel the same way. Dickay, very interesting to see that these problems are not confined to Ireland – we are struggling here at the moment with a terrible sense of disappointment in ourselves as a country so in a way it’s heartening to know we are not the only ones getting it wrong.

  6. Hi Deirdre it’s wonderful find another person who blogs about the importance of voting and good citizenship. I get so angry when then people are pathetically apathetic. Someone once said that we get the leadership we deserve. If we don’t demand better we will always receive worse.

    Anyway fantastic post.

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