Max Coyle works for the Western Community Centre and almost got into Hamilton Council last election, losing to Siggi Henry by 666 votes. He’s also organised & led protests against the Skynet Bill, Welfare Reforms, Youth Rates, GCSB & TICS Bills and at 10 the Save the Napier Hospital campaign.
When you don’t have: a job, an income, a routine, a car, the internet, a phone, a house, access to hygiene facilities and products, connections, support, whanau, literacy issues, good health or options… life becomes difficult.
Lack of access or difficulty of access to any of these means life is difficult, let alone all of them. The thing is, we all know that life is hard even when things are great, even when you have everything relatively sorted, life can still be a struggle.
Every day people are dealing with life and finding it hard, those finding it hardest are dealing with some of the aforementioned problems and still trying to find work.
Finding work is hard, getting a job is hard.
Getting your CV looking good and writing the greatest cover letter and doing your research and trying to meet the right people and network your way around your chosen industry/industries, it can be a relentless ongoing process full of failure, disappointment and heartache as the rejection letters dribble in, or you never hear back and you spend all those dollars on petrol and printing or bus fare or internet access or whatever it maybe.
And you may be doing a job you hate while you’re doing all this, trying to find something better, a more meaningful existence.
Every day at the Western Community Centre and personally, I help people looking for work.
For some this means trying to find computer access, someone to help them write a CV and show them how to do it, how to access the internet, how to print, how to set up an email, how to get on TradeMe and Seek to search for work, how to apply for jobs through online portals.
All this while many are navigating some of the multiple issues we mentioned at the start.
Another thing many people are dealing with is Work and Income, your job when you don’t have a job.
The beast that needs constant feeding of your bank statements, your personal details, your partners income and how many times they stayed over at your house 3 months ago, copies of your ID, 60 page forms, the shuffling and crushing lines as people are ID’ed and questioned as they dare to ask for the required money to survive for another few days from a system with more than enough to assist them to a life without half these stresses.
‘Get a job you lazy slob!’ ‘Why aren’t you working’ ‘Bloody bludgers’ – These are the insults thrown at people as they struggle at the very bottom of our society every day. Online and in person, from our media personalities and from politicians.
Rather than feeling for the people at the lowest levels of wealth in our society we’ve been conditioned to look down on them from our positions of privilege and scorn them and blame them for societies ills.
We are encouraged to put blame on those with the least power in our country, from those with the most.
Lets start changing the way we feel about our society and start placing the blame for the people crushed by our system on those responsible for it.
Lets start leaving people alone instead of hurling insults at them, in any forum. Lets let them relax too and stop thinking that we own them and their leisure time like slave owners of old.
Help someone with their CV today, help someone set up their email address, help someone find work, and most of all help change they way we treat our fellow kiwis.