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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Bare Essentials

The following post is not my usual sarcastic take on my situation as it didn’t seem appropriate and I definitely was not laughing when I wrote it yesterday. I’ve broken it down into two sections as it is quite lengthy. This is not my normal, comfortable writing style and I’m worried it might be a bit boring so I welcome comments with your thoughts.

Last night I watched a programme on Sky 1 called "The Real Full Monty", about a group of men who had been made redundant and decided to put on a show recreating the famous film.

It was interesting watching the dynamics of this team of tradesmen from quite different backgrounds, and their attitudes towards the project. There were a fair few comedy moments thrown in for good measure too. Even Mr G found himself laughing along in places.

There was however, one part of the programme that really struck a chord with me. Tony, the eldest member of "The Bare Essentials", a skinny, grey, bespectacled father of six who had been an electrician for 40 years and served in the armed forces, was asked during an interview his thoughts on being made redundant.

“Normally, there’s always something going on somewhere if you dig deep enough. But I have dug right to the bottom of the barrel and there is nothing out there whatsoever.

I’ve had to resort to doing car boot sales, clearing the garage and the loft out, my workshop. I’ve got bills coming in and no money to pay them. It’s desperate.

I am worried sick that I cannot be a competent father and husband to my children and my wife and provide for them...to look after my wife and family.

I’ve been put in a situation by these arseholes where I can’t provide for my family, and it’s not for the want of trying. I’m a trained, qualified tradesman and there’s nothing I can do about it. I feel so bloody... incompetent. There’s nothing,
nothing I can
do.”

It was so uncomfortable watching this gentleman break down on camera, ashamed that he was not able to pay his way in society and support his family in spite of all his best efforts.
But the story is all too familiar. At the interview I attended today, I met a man whose wife was the sole breadwinner in their household. He was a qualified teacher, struggling to find suitable work, and was almost embarrassed to admit he was a stay at home Dad.

It's a controversial viewpoint but I wonder if men who have previously played a very traditional role in their families are actually finding it harder to cope with the shame of being unemployed than women? I would be very interested to hear from anyone with thoughts on this.

I have to say, having felt sympathetic for Tony last night, I have this evening found myself in the exact same mindset, and really don't know which way to turn...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Un-working Girl,

    I was made reundant at the end of January, from my job as draughtsman / laser programmer. Because most of my working life has been in engineering, which is suffering badly, I am now having to apply for jobs in different fields.
    I am lucky that I live with my fiancee, and we don't have any children. We are coping on her wages and my JSA, so we are getting by, but it doesn't alter the fact that it is depressing at times.
    It's been made worse for me, because for over 3 months I have been ill. I have just gone back to JSA from ESA, so it's been 4 weeks since I last received any money.
    The only thing I can say is keep your chin up. It will get better. I've been made redundant before, and I survived, and I will survive this time. My intention now is to become self-employed, to avoid being at the mercy of someone else in the future. This is the time to do it.

    Best wishes,

    Mike

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