Freeing the Wage Slaves

Every summer we take on a few university students here at the office. It’s a boring summer job, but it pays a lot better than most summer jobs students can get. One guy has come back every summer throughout his entire university career.

His passion is sports and he took a degree program in some sort of sports psychology thing. He plays a lot of sports and had volunteered his sports psychology services to a lot of athletes over the years. He graduated this spring, with his master’s.

And now ….. he’s being bridged in as a permanent federal public servant in our unit.

“Are you crazy?” I asked him. “What happened to your passion? All that work you put into the sports psychology thing? Your dream job of helping athletes achieve their maximum potential?”

“Ya,” he said sheepishly. “I talked to my parents (who are both public servants) and decided that it would be too difficult to find a job in my field.

I’m very disappointed. He was such a bright lad. So full of life. Such a brilliant future ahead of him. So much potential. And now…..pfft!

XUP Jr. has never had the slightest interest in the federal public service — or in any kind of office job. I’m glad. She wants to be an entrepreneur; be her own boss. I’m thrilled. Probably that makes me an irresponsible parent for not at least trying to guide my child into a safe, secure career choice. I don’t know.

Self-employment is very risky and there’s no pension or security of any kind.. But I think the time to take risks is when you’re young. And if she starts now to sock away a bit of her income every month, she’ll have a tidy sum when she gets older.

Anyway, I think the whole environment of the public service and all those other so-called secure workplaces is going to change drastically over the next 10 to 20 years. It’s just not sustainable with an ever-aging population.

This year, the government took away our severance pay this year and the union let them. This will mean big savings in the long run. I think our pensions are next. They’ll start chipping away at the pensions – increase employee contributions, increase years-of-service eligibility. At the same time, the public service will continue to be reduced until there are only a few administrators left in each department and all the work will be done by independent contractors.

And I think a lot of other businesses will have to follow suit. Keeping employees on payroll, contributing to their benefits and paying them a pension after they retire is really expensive.  Not to mention all the headaches associated with a stable of full-time, permanent employees.

So, it seems to me that being self-employed is the way to go. And, as more and more of the population becomes self-employed, more organizations will have to spring up to afford group medical and dental benefits to the self-employed – maybe even group pension schemes and income insurance. Who knows?

I’ve known several people who were made redundant from their safe, secure jobs.  When they weren’t able to find another job, they ended up creating their own jobs in order to earn a living. Now they all say that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to them.

So, I think if I was a young person today just starting out, I’d risk it, wouldn’t you?