Friday, May 13, 2011
The bigger questions that hinder wellness
I am a follower of a fantastic global Linked In group, NESTA based of course out of Europe. We are currently having an interesting discussion arising from an initial post about 'why companies still use pen and paper' to attempt to map innovation.
This is the URL for anyone interested.
What astonishes me so far is how few people have found the time or seen the benefit of engaging in this dialogue. I am also surprised that I appear to be the only woman and one who is not already an ongoing employee of a company or institution.
For me so much of humankind's wellness issues spring from workplace interactions and practices. I particularly take umbridge at Tony Abbott's latest words (and this is not party political... it is content driven) and I am paraphrasing "to allow those on welfare, particularly sole parents and disability recipients, access to the dignity of work.
What a patronising middle class slap in the face. Does all work provide dignity and self-esteem? How does this fit with Australia as a 'knowledge nation' in a globalised economy where work is increasingly casualised and unstable. Does that provide dignity and enhanced self-esteem or work-related stress caused by not knowing what the future holds and the inability to budget for 'aspirational'goals ... you know like keeping a roof over your head and feeding the family?
I heard on talkback the other day a salesman, whinging that because he has chosen to study, pay his education and mortgage debts, chooses to live in an Eastern Melbourne suburb, commuting distance from town, makes sacrifices to send his kids to Private Schools and is able to afford a stay at home wife/partner still whilst earning over $150,000 per annum, why should he be denied access to Federal Government Family Tax Benefits? Is this not middle-class welfare? He saw it as getting something back for his own tax dollar!
Whilst this selfish, non-community spirited middle-class attitude remains pressuring the politicians policy moves, we cannot expect to have a compassionate welfare safety net system where full employment is achievable with everybody able to truly access the dignity of work.
To Paul from Doncaster... I say. I have studied over sixteen years, and worked paid PAYE taxes in an era when there was no superannuation for casual, session or part-time workers, nor sick leave or holiday pay, and have taken on over $70,000 HECS debt as investment in my own future, been privileged enough to be granted nearly $80,00 0 in Federal student stipend, I remain trapped in a poverty cycle of DSP safety net-reliance due to the casualised labor market.
I have as a younger person pulled beers at pubs in London, have swept floors, taken in ironing and done much manual labour, but now as a 50 plus aged woman with a fine education and ability to work cognitively at the highest level, 90% of the time, with only 10% annual illness periods, where is my access to the dignity of work? Doing physical jobs I am over-qualified for, physically unable to do, mentally unchallenged?
I do not want to be on DSP, but until our Corporations and Institutions stop bemoaning a looming skilled labour crisis, and adequately structure their workplaces to accommodate the skills and abilities of the older workforce (remember retirement age is now 67)... how can we as a Country offer dignity of employment or indeed lead the world in innovation and global economic contributions no longer reliant upon the exploitation of natural resources.
Lastly, why after 37 years since the Equal Opportunity Act do women still comprise the bulk of the casualised workforce?
And why in this time of neuro-plasticity and ongoing brain research via MRI's can we still not convince powerbrokers of the usefulness of all workers, male, female, old and young alike. Women are supposedly good communicators and listeners after all.