A letter to Australia's job snobs: It's time to grow up and get a job.


The government doesn’t owe you your dream job.

It was not what I wanted to read after coming home from work at the end of a 12 hour day. A friend of a friend called Sally* was ranting on Facebook about how the federal government would next year require her to actively look for a job. Gasp!
Here’s what she said:

“F$%^ the Abbott government. I can hardly get by each week and there are no jobs for artists out there. How is anyone supposed to apply for 10 jobs a week and do community work? What am I supposed to do?”

So I said, “I know! Maybe get a job. Any job. Instead of living off the dole. Of course there are no jobs for artists – so you need to find another job and PAY YOUR WAY. Go get a teaching qualification and teach art. Be a tutor. Get into graphic design. But stop sitting at home on your arse expecting ME to pay for you”

Annnnnnnnnd as you can expect a fight ensued.

But while I sound cold and possibly unsympathetic, I stand by my opinion. If you are able to work, you should be working in whatever job you can get. Living off welfare is not a career option.

You see, I have had a job since I was 14.

Before I left university in the 1990s with a sizeable HECS debt I’d worked at a 7-11, KFC, Woolies, Sportsgirl and babysat for what felt like every family within a 25km radius. Did I enjoy all those jobs? Not particularly but I needed money and there was no such things as Youth Allowance – so I worked.

After I left university I worked in a range of jobs. Some that I loved. And some that made me feel like I’d sold my soul to the devil.
What I was told by my parents was that in life you are expected to work. And if you can’t find a job that you love – too bad, too sad – you take whatever job you can get.

Which is why I personally do not have a problem with the new reforms being brought in by the federal government next year.

Treasurer Joe Hockey wants Australians to pay their own way,

From 1st July 2015, unemployed Australians will be required to apply for up to 40 jobs a month (that’s two jobs per working day) and perform up to 25 hours of community service work per week.

Is that outrageous? No, it’s not.

Because if you are physically capable of working – you need to get off your arse and get a job instead of expecting every other Australian to carry you.

A job. Not your dream job. A JOB.


Now I get it. There are job seekers who are genuinely trying to get work and struggling to do so. Yep, I totally accept and understand that. There are also people who for physical or emotional reasons are unable to work – of course I accept that to.
As a society I truly believe we have a responsibility to look after and care for those who are in need. That’s what being a civil society is built on – that we protect and care for the most vulnerable.

But you not wanting to work at Kmart or Myer because you’d rather spend your days playing World of Warcraft living off the dole just doesn’t fly with me. And the same goes for people who can’t find a job in their profession. So you’re a music teacher and there are no jobs? Then you start working as a tutor or in a music store or wherever until your ideal job comes up. Or you retrain as something else.

“If you don’t have a job – why don’t you start looking?”

“Oh my God stop saying that all unemployed people are dole bludgers!” – that’s what the critics are yelling.

So let me clarify: I do not think that all unemployed people are dole bludgers. I like to think the majority of Australians are actively looking for work when they become unemployed.

But can we stop pretending that there aren’t thousands of Australians rorting the system? Can we? Because you and I both know there are.

I knew them when I was at university. I know them now.

Newsflash: The government doesn’t owe you your DREAM job.

And sitting at home unemployed for months on end does nothing for your self-esteem and your self-confidence. Ask any employment agency and they’ll tell you the same thing. The more jobs you apply for, the more likely you’ll get a job. And the community service work is designed to keep up your skills. Skills like getting to work on time, looking presentable and feeling like you are contributing to society.

So to Sally I say this: suck it up. The gravy train has come to the end of the line. It’s time to grow up and get a job.

*Not her real name

Here are some celebrities who started out NOT in their dream jobs:

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]