Kirsten my "waiter" son.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

EARN WHILE YOU LEARN

Once, an old woman came across a little girl selling lemonade at a street corner. She walked up to the girl, patted her on the head and asked her for a glass of the refreshing liquid. When she had finished drinking, the woman dug into her purse to fetch out a coin to pay the little girl but she could not find the exact amount. Shyly, the girl told her, “Ma’am, don’t trouble yourself to pay now. You can pay me tomorrow when you come again.” What a businesswoman this girl is going to be when she grows up!

Unemployment in young people is a growing trend with downsizing at corporate level due to several reasons. Fact is, once you enter the world of work, armed with the required degree or diploma, you find yourself fighting for few jobs with an army of similar people like you. Then you have to take what you are given or pay for a job you want. Many adopt the latter means and then spend all their time trying to recover what they had shelled out - and more.

College students in many foreign countries pay their way by doing unskilled jobs during their free time. Therefore, a Harvard student could be waiting tables at a local restaurant or helping you choose an outfit at the mall. Some baby-sit for regular customers, while others tutor older children for a handsome fee. Since there is dignity of labor in these countries, there is no shame in doing these seemingly ‘lowly’ jobs in order to pay exorbitant University fees.

Things must change here in Goa too. Instead of parents slogging away to pay exorbitant fees, students can feel pride in paying their way through college. A budding photographer can work with a professional one to learn as well as earn a bit as his assistant. He can then take up contracts at small functions, charging less than the usual fee in order to build up his clientele. Then, when he has finished his studies, he can launch himself with ease.
A person interested in teaching can spend her free time tutoring school kids to earn pocket money and to hone her skills. Someone having the gift of convincing others could take up a job as a salesperson. Another with great service skills can be a waiter at a restaurant. A plus point of doing these jobs after college hours and during the vacations is you get to meet professionals and can make contacts for future use. Sometimes, a person impressed with you, could recommend you to others so that when you are ready, a job will already be waiting for you.

The present Government in its manifesto had promised Rs. 2000 to every unemployed youth. In my humble opinion, this could be a grave mistake. The money could be squandered on vices and we will all be the losers. Instead, youth must be encouraged to earn while they learn and, for those who are unemployed, temporary jobs in the service sector can be given until they get suitable jobs. Once the unemployed youth get used to getting sops, they will not want to work. However, once they begin working, their self-esteem will be high and they will not need sops anymore. The Government in collusion with colleges can bring about this much needed change, enhance the economy and provide a lasting impact on the sorry state of youth unemployment.

On a personal note, my eldest son took a sabbatical this year. A month ago, he joined a restaurant as a waiter. I am sure this has caused quite a stir among our friends and relatives, but I am glad to note that his self-esteem has grown immensely. Now he is ready to continue college during the day and work at night to pay his own way. He has decided that he is going to ‘earn while he learns’

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