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"The Government doesn’t owe me a dream job, but I owe it to myself to try."

A response to ‘ Dear Job snobs’

A couple of days ago, Mamamia ran a post in response to the Government’s proposal to make unemployed Australians apply for up to 40 jobs a month in order to qualify for welfare payments.

The post was called “A letter to Australia’s job snobs: It’s time to grow up and get a job,” and in it Susie Carling wrote about why she thinks it’s not good enough for people to refuse to apply for jobs that aren’t in their chosen field, or jobs that are seen as “beneath them”. 

At the end of Susie’s post, Mamamia put a call out for stories – from people who agreed with Susie and from people do did not. 

This post is from someone who does not agree. KAREN HARDY is a journalism graduate who thinks people should be picky when it comes to which jobs they will and will not take. 

Over to Karen. 

Dear Susie,

I don’t owe the Government a nightmare lifestyle.

This is not what I wanted to read after working 5.5 hours today and studying for a further 12 to earn my Graduate Diploma of Journalism.

“Retraaaaiiiinnn!” the thought provoking Mammamia blog post screamed at me. “I work, why don’t youuuuu?” A shrill, harping noise delved deep into my ears. This is the new beat of the employment drum. Worthy Aussie Battlers all over Australia clinging to their jobs until their knuckles turn white, their fists angrily shaking in the air. I listen to this speech every day, the Suck it Up Princess Tango and the Get Over it Express regularly come a’knockin, and frankly, I am a little tired. Maybe I need a nap. Maybe I need Centrelink. But what I don’t need is a job I hate.

I have a Bachelor of Writing, am studying for my Graduate Diploma of Journalism, and recently (hooray for me!) got accepted into a Master of Arts next year. While Snivelling Sally does sound a bit whiny, my heart does go out to myself and the other “Artists” (Note: I use the term loosely due to the fact that my poetic ability increases after a few rounds of Reckorderlig) that are starving for a noteworthy cause. I understand that Centrelink is not to be used for horrid, dole bludging Bogans that sit at home playing World of Warcraft all day (I am more of a Sims girl, myself). I assure you – most artists are not doing this. But newsflash: We also don’t really need to spend all day being miserable, either.

All I have ever wanted to be is a writer. I don’t want to be a mother, or a teacher, or social worker, or a pilot, I want to be a writer. In the past 6 years I have had one interview for a newspaper. This is not due to lack of trying. It was for a four week contract. That’s it. That was my one shot. The woman who wrote The Devil Wears Prada clearly has no idea what she is talking about.

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To make it as a journalist I have retrained at your instruction, however my one year of journalism is costing me a staggering $18, 000. While I am doing this I am working part time. Yes – I have a job. While I don’t take any benefits from the government currently nor am I on the dole I also understand how soul crushing it is to be in a position where you genuinely don’t enjoy work. You list a plethora of companies you have worked for after the age of 14 – quite an extensive list. Could it be that you changed jobs so often because you were (gasp!) unhappy with the work you were doing? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal an 82 percent drop in productivity from October to December last year. A survey by Kelly Services Staffing Agency demonstrated that globally in 2013 48% of employees were unhappy in their current jobs.

Karen doesn’t agree.

Your one-size-fits-all mentality that seems to target the creative or “Snobby” types is flawed. To retrain from an “Artist” to a Graphic Designer would set someone back tens of thousands of dollars. Next year, thanks to the Government you wish to protect – this could quadruple.

I believe Australians should pay their own way. But they should also at least have a shot at doing what they like. I am not asking to become the next JK Rowling. It would be nice if I could intern at a newspaper for a day or two, thanks. It would be nice if someone opened up the door I have been banging on for the last six years, screaming until my throat is sore. I resent the fact that because I am continually looking for a job in my profession, I am seen as lazy and Gen Y because I constantly demand better of myself.

I don’t think it’s lazy or foolish to want a job in your preferred field. Yes, I believe you should have a job to pay your way while you look for the answer to your unpaid HECS debt – but I don’t actually know anyone, artists or otherwise, who have slaved away at years of university to then chuck it all in and go on the dole. Artists like myself are constantly networking, expanding their contact lists so that one day God forbid, someone may throw us a freakin’ bone. And if while I am at university and frantically adding attractive journalists on LinkedIn, I chose to not accept a job at $15 an hour crumbing chicken cutlets – I don’t believe I am lazy or stupid.

The Government doesn’t own me a dream job, but I owe it to myself to try.

NOTE: Mamamia is a news and opinion site and this is one opinion. We are always looking for more, particularly from women who have a first hand experience of an issue like this. Do you? Want to tell your story? Email: [email protected]mamamia.com.au

What do you think? Do those who are receiving welfare have the right to pick and choose which jobs they apply for? Or should it be a ‘take whatever job you can get’ situation?

Karen Hardy graduated university with a dream to write her own bio. She us a faithful supporter of all things cheesecake and dreams of a life in the big print. you can follow Karen on twitter @kalouha1.