I am extremely fortunate in that I have a job and it is one that, on the whole, I really enjoy.
It has its moments of course. I have been known to want to become a lollipop lady or a binman from time to time but that is usually only when it comes to chairing meetings or getting through paperwork – not my strong point!
Even as a student I was almost never in the situation where I did not have the chance to earn a living for myself. I worked in a bookshop one summer and in an electronic engineering factory the next.
Then for the following four years, during term and the holidays, I worked in a residential care home for the elderly as a domestic, as a kitchen assistant and then as a care assistant.
School leavers do not have the same luxury these days. Work is hard to find both up here and in the cities.
I have personal experience of that, as child number two is filling out applications for any and every job she can and is not having much joy in having those applications even acknowledged.
The situation is even worse for people who have a disability of any kind.
I have one friend who has just such a disability but he has just been given a wee part-time job locally and what a difference it has made to him.
I asked him how he was getting on and he took such pride in telling me he is now a worker. It has given him a new sense of identity and purpose. He is so pleased to be useful.
While I know there are probably always going to be some people who are not exactly eager to work, there are, I am even more certain, many more who would like nothing better than to be able to moan about a boss or the length of a coffee break but who do not have that opportunity.
It must be soul destroying to try again and again for work and to find yourself continually being rejected. It must sap a person’s confidence and morale and self-esteem not to be wanted by any workforce.
Then on top of all that there is the practical aspect of not always having the cash to pay bills or to do anything other than cover the basic necessities of life.
Writing this has made me realise that even on the toughest days, when I have a mountain of paperwork to get through and a whole host of meetings to survive, I am still very, very fortunate.
I need to spare a lot more thought for those who would love to have any work at all.
Perhaps if we all did that, such empathy might make a difference to how the unemployed see themselves – Susan Brown.