Waiting in the wings

Spain’s unemployment just surpassed 5 million. That’s more than the population of my country. As Europe struggles economically many in the front line taking the blows are the masses of qualified-yet-not-working-youngish-folk like me. And qualified we are. A lack of work sends young smart things back to university in their drones, another masters here, a PhD there, the result? Intelligent & unemployable. Friends of mine with PhDs are getting entry level internships; double masters’ getting a foot in the door as something like a receptionist. Now we’ve got a highly educated populace with many machines and technology doing the work instead – be that here or where we’ve outsourced it to in Asian or African countries for a smidgen of the cost (with equally smart and employable people doing the job there and with just as much gusto).
Quite a conundrum. And like a fender being banged between a dock and yacht, I seem to fit squarely into that category… or perhaps a mariner doing the splits: one foot on dry land; one towards the unstable yet somewhat luring great wide ocean. The latter seems to be the case for a certain bunch of us seeking these elusive Green Jobs. So where on ‘There is No Planet B’ are they?!
As Rio +20 gets set to rock the world in June, and no doubt will be one of those times that we reflect on: how few environmental policies we’ve achieved; again reaffirm our commitment to some such cure of a certain Millenium Development Goal; once more express our regret at the loss of biodiversity; and whatever else we feel we must preface our global agreements with to make us feel better about our failures as a human race.  One thing that is on the table once more is that we need to curb unemployment and simultaneously create ‘green’ jobs.
Whooo hoo! we cry. High 5s! we smack! Bring it on! we yelp. We are qualified. We are smart. Yes we are ready. It seems that while governments have largely ignored this need, tertiary institutions haven’t: with a rampant increase in the number of graduate programmes available on something or rather to do with sustainability (and admittedly, not all are what they are cracked up to be, in a Degrees for Everyone (Bob Jones’ book) kinda way). So while they churn out qualified and ambitious change agents: someone’s got to ask if it’s all a waste of time? Are these institutions just setting us up to be run off a cliff like green lemmings instead?
Well, I for one refuse. And hope patience will see me through. Like my very own Find a Green Job petri dish experiment I continue the daily incessant filtration of job websites and application procedures, simultaneously breathing in and out like a fender, as my hopes go up at sending off of an application and then deplete again with the polite responses informing me that one of the other 600 applicants made it.
Happy to relocate most places and a dream employee, I sit patiently and wait in the wings, but well aware that time is running out, not just for me as unemployed, but for our planet that we are supposed to be saving. The likely result? Creating something new and innovative myself that is not one of these mythical green jobs.

2 thoughts on “Waiting in the wings

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