Monday, October 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Mindsets

Well, there went my last excuse for pizza in 2014. My five week stint presenting in communication and change leadership for some of the best and brightest at Monash University Engineering has wrapped up for another year.

I think about this bright hard working group of young people making the best of their talents and putting their hands up voluntarily for even more contact hours, more late lecture nights and more carbohydrates. Of course it’s good résumé capital, but I know just how engaged they are. You can’t fake that.

Then this morning I read an article in which a Williamstown ship builder expressed concern about the potential for a so-called "valley of death" if the federal government follows through on its intention to build two naval ships in either Spain or South Korea.  It's either political folly or a gutsy yet unpopular move when a government, at a time of record unemployment in this state, is unabashed about the need to go overseas because of "under capacity and poor labour productivity" in any sector.

Before you condemn me for “class-ism”, juxtaposing the ship builders and the university career builders is not a tacky commentary on white vs blue collar workers or a belief we should exploit anyone.  And governments do have a responsibility to create opportunities and not leave it all to big business. It is certainly not a crack at decent unionists and their important representative role, particularly when keeping companies honest on OH&S safety and workplace justice. It is a lament about the difference in opportunity and outcomes as a function of our preparedness to work hard and not aspire to the bare minimum acceptable to keeping our jobs (or less whilst hoping not to get caught).

We reap what we sow. We all bring different gifts and perspectives to our work but let's make the most of our opportunities. To remain the lucky country perhaps we have to make some of our own luck. Doing a reasonable day's work for a reasonable day's pay is a fair ask.