Saturday, 18 May 2013


When I left school many years ago, okay 30 to be exact. I remember the excitement of collecting my first wage packet. Friday lunchtime a little brown square packet with my name and clocking-in number on the front. The thrill of opening it and finding real cash inside and a paper wage slip telling you how much you had been stopped in tax. Not that I took any notice at that age, all I was interested in was the new crisp notes inside. I think if I recall my first wages were £35.00. A fortune to a spotty 16 year old. I would give my parents £10.00 for my board, which actually made them happy to be getting something back after all those years of spending a small fortune on bringing me up. I'd also discovered a whole new world of independence, pubs, smoking and shopping. Suddenly I was a man, pubs served me, I could buy records, clothes and concert tickets. The world was my oyster, I readily indulged in this newly found hedonistic life. I would smoke, go to the pub at least four times a week, every Friday I would go to a rock disco, buy a couple of vinyl LP's every saturday and take in every concert that readily came around. I was having driving lessons and managed to keep a succession of girlfriends happy. All this on 35 quid a week. So have things changed so radically in thirty years? Maybe I was just at the back end of a golden generation. Things seemed to have crumpled around our ears without really noticing. I am old fashioned in my outlook to such things, I believe that the working man is entitled to a pint and a fag after work, it seems to have been the main stay of society for dozens of years, but not any more. Pubs and clubs are not the hub of any community anymore. Where once it was a God given right, now it is a luxury. The present generation are nannied and instead of given that freedom to decide are being told what they can and can't do. All wrapped up in scare tactics and propaganda, we don't hear you can anymore, that has been replaced with you can't! or even worse don't!
Don't drink!
Don't smoke!
Don't socialise!
Don't be young and learn from your mistakes!
Let us decide what you should or shouldn't do, better still lets tell you how to live your life, because we know better!

Over the years, the pound in your pocket is worth less and less, prices have increased ten-fold, every day living expenses, food, housing costs, heating, concert tickets lol. Very few people now work to live most people live to work. 1984 has become 2013 as people work longer and earn just enough to live. The topic of most conversations are 'What's on telly tonight' So most people sit around glued to their ever increasing in size televisions watching even more channels and being brainwashed by subliminal images in more and more soap operas. Just one interesting thought, the government knows where 20 million people are at 7.30 most evenings watching Coronation Street or Eastenders. Be careful of those subliminal images, if Derren Brown can do it then the government certainly can.

Education has taken a huge swing over the years, are we really any brighter now than we were thirty years ago?
When I left school, 75% of kids got a job and 25% went to University, nowadays the figures have reversed. We had careers teachers and apprenticeships. We sat down one to one and were asked what do you want to do when you leave school? My mates became mechanics, engineers, bricklayers, plasterers, electricians, the girls wanted to be nurses, secretaries, nannies.
Ask the majority of kids today what they want to do when they leave school and the answers will probably range from singer and dancer to Simon Cowell and Justin Bieber. Thank you the X-Factor.
Maybe its because the jobs just aren't there anymore. I wanted to be a builder, I remember my careers teacher setting up interviews with building firms, who were offering apprenticeships. I actually ended up in a shoe factory but it was a start I guess.
Now I am not against higher education in the least, I am probably an advocate of it but in the right context. Today our Universities are spilling kids out into the world with degrees in Social Science, psychology and Physiothingymebob. Just a footnote there are actually more students studying Psychology at University then there are actual Psychologists in the country. Makes you think! Maybe that is why we are building so many shopping malls and McDonalds to employ them all.

So where is all this leading? I hear you ask. Well it is a bit of a semi Autobiography I guess, mainly brought about from the fact that as I have gotten older my job opportunities and the money in my pocket have diminished. At my age now which is well in my forties and with no formal qualifications to speak off, my chances of getting any type of a job are really next to zero. Here are a few examples, when I did actually decide to go to University, well into my twenties. I studied and achieved City and Guild qualifications in 'Computer Aided Design' Well done me! I then worked for a few years at various companies on a contract basis producing top notch drawings and designs. My contracts were always short term, maximum 3 months. Then it would be off again to another Company and another short term fix. The last company I was at was great, I loved it, I was there 11 months and one day the boss called me in his office and said that work was short and he was terminating my contract. I was devastated and so on the spot I decided I didn't want to do this any more. I actually did try and get back into it a few years later but by then I was competing against 20 year old fresh from college kids who could tie me in knots, the stress was just too much. I explored various options in the jobs market and came to some pretty startling conclusions. It is near on impossible these days to get any type of job without some kind of qualification or experience, but how do you gain experience if nobody will employ you in the first place. This includes such jobs as shelf stackers, labourers, drivers and anything to do with the care industry. NVQ's are the new by word even for waiting tables in a restaurant.
So over the years the choice of our kids going to University or not isn't actually a choice anymore, if they don't study something or other until they are 20 something means that they will probably get left well behind or end up behind the counter at McDonalds. The small matter of the cost which on average is about £9,000 a year doesn't seem to have been taken into consideration by the law makers at all. At a time when most people are struggling to make ends meet, is it just me or what was once a God given right now seems to be just a luxury.

So anyway back to me. I am probably one of the lucky ones, I work for myself doing what I want to do, I managed to turn my hobbies into my job. I started gardening about 10 years ago and kept it going to the degree that I now maintain a few gardens and cut my elderly neighbours grass for free. (Nice to give something back) I am a habitual writer if such a thing exists, I write novels, short stories and blog posts and now and again get paid for it. I am also an avid collector of books and Vinyl records to the degree that I now buy and sell them in my own online shop, check me out,

The main reason for this post was to highlight how we take so much for granted even when it seems wrong and the figures don't add up.
How I wish for those happy £35.00 a week days again.

No comments:

Post a Comment