Economy / Ross Doody

They tried to make me go to Protest. I said No, No, No!

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I’m a NEET based in the Midlands. Apparently it stands for Not in Education, Employment or Training. So basically it means I’m unemployed. And I’m not alone. For April 2012 the JSA claimant rate for my area was around 7.5%, leaping to 15.6% for people aged 18-241. Although this is slightly down on recent months, it’s still massively unhealthy.

Like anyone in my situation I didn’t plan on being unemployed. In fact I took steps to prevent it. I thought going to university would provide me some guarantee against the volatile job environment around me. I thought a degree would broaden my prospects. At the time I started my studies, I hadn’t really heard of a recession, let alone experienced the effects of one, yet just as I graduated one hit and then everything changed.

Suddenly it was a losing game. I’d tossed my chips in on a draw against the gods. Only just as I was winning they set fire to the rulebook. They spat me out of the security of my education into the ass-end of a downturn. And to top it off they took the job I’d worked to support myself through university leaving me unemployed and unprepared.

It would’ve been easy in this instance to give up, to lament my circumstances and damn the world for tricking me so. I could’ve taken to the streets, protested, rioted…but where would that have gotten me? Yeah, I went through a period of mourning. Being unemployed, it cuts to the deep of what it means to be a man; that evolutionary hard-wiring that predisposes us to provide. The hunter-gatherer instinct coupled with a uniquely human capacity for learning. Being unemployed, I was static. I was frozen. And it took a massive adjustment to overcome.

The world is crocked, it’s corrupt. Life is stacked against those of us born to be the foundation on which better men stand. But the solution isn’t envy. It’s not to tear the fortunate down. It’s about evaluating what we want and deciding what we need to get us there.

I didn’t riot, I didn’t protest, I volunteered. Yeah the Government’s got it all wrong, but what are you doing waiting on them to sort you out anyway? For every success I’ve had there have been ten failures, but by getting out there and introducing myself to opportunity, I’ve stitched together a rugged patchwork of skills that make me a better candidate than had I took up a lighter or a banner in protest.

 Ross Doody

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