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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Nothing less than I deserve

With just five days now (three working days) until my departure from work, thoughts are rising to the surface about my imminent departure, what it means, and what the consequences may be for myself and those that choose to remain. Coran and I have been discussing things at length and come to the conclusion that when you leave a job, it is similar to falling in love but in reverse.

When you first meet someone, you go through a phase where everything is seen through rose tinted specs - you see only their good points and none of the bad. Slowly as the boundaries collapse the honeymoon phase ends, and if you are lucky and understand the true purpose of relationships, this is when the love begins to deepen to something much more lasting and ultimately more real.

What I have been experiencing in my journey towards leaving is similar but in reverse, as my reasons for wanting to leave seem somehow less important and I have become aware of the good things once again - the team spirit (it is remarkable really and testament to the staff that there is one at all), and the friendship and support that I have gleaned from those I work more closely with (mostly the rest of the domestic team), and of course the residents. Yet at the same time, I understand that and can see though the veil and know even as I type that this is an illusion, and as I settle into my new role and gradually let it go, I shall see once again that I really did have to leave. It will however be a great loss to both the home and myself.

Most of the residents who are lucid enough to understand have now been informed, but as whether my departure will have any long or short term effect for the staff that choose to stay remains to be seen.  It may be partly ego, but I have noticed over the years that both Coran and I act as catalysts whereby when we depart from a job an awful lot changes within a short space of time. I know that several other staff are considering leaving, and that a pay rise may (and it is a very big may) be in the offing, but we shall see, only I guess that I won't.

To go back though to that pay rise, earlier in the week MP's voted for a three year freeze on certain types of benefit - including those that are paid to the so-called working poor, many of whom I work with. Until recently I was one of them myself, but when I obtained the full time job here, a little under two years ago (is it that long ago), it put me slightly over the threshold of being able to claim, and so Coran and I lost our £88 a month tax credits. I was pleased in some ways as it meant that I was making my own way in the world after what had been an incredibly difficult few years, but not everyone is so lucky, and millions will be affected.

While it is true that the Lib Dems (and this is the Lib Dems and not the Conservative part of the coalition) have introduced significant changes to the tax system that will halve the tax bills of many of the lowest paid, I cannot help feel that politicians and business people in general (what's new) are missing the point. It is the not the fact that benefits have risen more than wages that is the issue, but the fact that wages have not increased to the same level.

Why I ask myself is this? Well, judging from my own experience I hardly need to ask, for to me is is obvious and not exactly rocket science - because the bosses are afraid of losing what they have and ending up like us. But the fact is, that none of these business people could run their businesses without the staff - from the cleaners (arguably at the bottom of the pile, I really need to change my thinking on that one), to the accountants and other so-called professionals at the top. The success of the company depends entirely upon the staff and their willingness to perform their tasks for the salaries that they are offered. I know it is also about market forces and all of that, and those same business people would say that I am being simplistic, but really I am not, for if people are paid fairly and have enough to live on, they do not need to claim benefits, and so the tax bill comes down for everyone. They then have more money to spend on the things that they either need or want, kick starting the economy and creating jobs as the demand for products increases, and so it goes round. As Charlie Chaplin said in this autobiography, the economy is wages driven, and to coin another phrase from one of my friends Facebook feeds "If someone tells you they got rich through hard work, ask them whose".

With the speed with which everything now seems to be changing, I predict that there will be massive unrest as these cuts start to bite and that out of this will be borne not just the concept, but the introduction of a proper living wage that will despite the inevitable protests of both big and small business, not lead to job losses, but instead to all of that mentioned above. It is nice to dream, and quite a few of my dreams have come true lately, although not the one about the ballroom dancing pigs ...

So, to get back to the purpose of this post, five days from now, I shall have left my current job and be looking forward to a future where I am treated with integrity, honesty and respect, by not just my colleagues (all of them) but the bosses as well. It is a noble thing to aspire to, and something which is nothing less than I deserve.

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