Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm in no doubt about whether I'm one of the New Poor. I'm a fully signed-up member because I am signing on. Yes, I'm on the dole. (Such a forlorn word.)
How did it come to this?
Apart from the halcyon summers of my student youth, circa 1970, I have never needed to step into a social security office. I have always been self-supporting until...the dawn of unemployment. Prior to that, for 10 years, I ran my own PR business. It wasn't a fantastic earner, but I made enough to get by and with time left over to pursue my other interests.
At the heart of my business was one client; everything else was a bit on the side. To rely on one client is stupid, but all I can says is that it suited me. Until...the client hired a new director of communications who, keen to demonstrate the qualities of a big broom, swept me away. It wasn't personal: it was a re-focus of corporate goals.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Welcome to we the new poor

We the New Poor are experiencing a collective amnesia. We're acting like it isn't so. Like we're not living on a breath and a prayer.
The times have changed, but we have not kept up with them. Slowly, my friends, we are being marginalised. We who are making just enough to keep going, we who are on short-term contracts, we who are sole operators of a business that turns a modest profit, we who have been laid-off because we are surplus to requirements. Requirements, let's face it, are youth in a nutshell. Young, avid, able to tolerate long hours and intense pressure, quick minds that dance about the new technology. People who look beautiful (for youth is beauty) and not raddled like us. And another thing, we, admit it, are awkward. In the US we'd be called ornery.
Under-employed, temporarily employed, just getting by, unemployed or let down by a pension promise -- the waters of treachery lap about our feet, skirt our ankles, splash our calves. Watch out!

cote d'ivoire

It's Sunday afternoon in south London and these two young women have taken a break from church.