Heads you lose…

Often, it is said that we must attend school, from primary, secondary, tertiary to university, and then seek employment. That might have worked in the 80s but things have changed. After achieving my tertiary education, I thought of pursuing my studies in Canada; however, I was unable to pursue that goal in consequence of a lack of finances. Then, I thought of attaining a “manual” skill to assist with satisfying my immediate needs. I was very interested in nail technology and later tiling. Instead, I was met with cries of “why a girl like you want to do something like that”. No one realised my vision. Therefore, I followed instructions to attend university.

Today, I realise that there are numerous educated, unskilled, unemployed Barbadians. I have placed myself in that bracket. I have academic qualifications, work experience, yet I am unemployed; and, I wished that I had that skill to provide the earnings for myself until I gain full time employment. A skill could be developed into a business.

Perhaps, unemployment is at its highest but do we really know what that means? Forget about recession and the several reasons some businesses give to lay-off, severed or terminate individuals. Unemployment is an uneasy experience to endure. I am unable to satisfy my basic needs, uncertain about pursuing my future goals and frustrated with the few creditors who are demanding their money.

I have been paying creditors from my savings and unemployment cheques. Now that all of that is gone, there are arrears on the remaining accounts due. I understand that the creditors need their money. That is the bottom line. However, I would like to advise them to analyse that my payment history has been consistent if not always paid on time. The appreciative amount of money, which I might receive from others, cannot always be paid to the creditors because I prefer to satisfy my basic needs, for example, food.

Waking up to an empty cupboard and heading to bed with a flat stomach where my clothes no longer fit like before, is not a comforting experience. Having to place many of my personal and career goals on hold are disappointing especially when I have had interviews and being directed to return to the classroom to complete the respective course to attain the desired job post.

However, how could I return to the classroom with limited funds and why should I ask for funding from someone when everyone is struggling with their finances? Even, why should I go to a financial institution to assist with my further studies when I am currently unemployed? Why any employer cannot realise that my potential and experience could be shared within their business?

I have applied to entry level positions where it was said but not in so many words, “I am over qualified for the position”. Time and time again, I have voiced my willingness to re-enter the working world with the desire to start at entry level with the mindset to “move up” in the respective organisation. No success.

I have applied for vacancies within the middle level of employment at respectable organisations; thus far, I am told that I am without the specified qualifications despite my work experience. What do they want? Or is it that they are advertising the vacancy because it is necessary of them and they have already had the prospective individual selected? Which is it?

Pride tends to hinder us from asking for help or even applying to a job which may not give us the money we desire. I let go of my pride and worked among agricultural workers to their surprise. With three days in the field, I admired those who work endlessly to attain their pay; and, I have been told that I am not the only one in the fields with academic qualifications and work experience. That was admirable to note yet it was frightening to grasp the true story of unemployment and underemployment in Barbados.

I do not believe that we are the only Caribbean nation that is experiencing such. With such challenges, most would like to start up their own businesses but will every business idea be successful and is everyone established to be an entrepreneur?

I am younger than 30 with no children, but, I would like to be employed to restart the planning of my future. I have been preparing and working diligently for about two years to become a business woman. In the meantime, I would like a sense of security with a job where I could satisfy my pressing needs. I would like to share my skills, knowledge, experience and proactive attitude with an organisation that envisions that.

Starting a business has its challenges; and, I am planning accordingly to ensure creditability and validity in what I set out to do. Unemployment is not just about being without a job but it is a struggle with fear and hope, all mixed in one. The latter, keeps me mindful that someone will view my great potential as attractive to be added to their company.

This is my story, my unemployment story that I write to you to make it known.

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