Nothing is permanent

Unions, government ministers, employees – all bemoan the ever falling number of “permanent, full time” positions in the economy. For over 30 years the notion of the traditional 9-5 full-time, permanent (and often male) employee has been slowing going the way of the dinosaur. Somehow, this trend is supposed to lead to the downfall of civilisation, increase school truancy rates, a worse sex life and dental cavities. OK I exaggerate about the cavities but you get the idea – less “permanent” employment is supposed to be B.A.D.

Don’t misunderstand – permanent employment (as opposed to being on some form of limited time or limited scope contract) has a whole stack of benefits. These include employment law favouring the employer for ownership of intellectual property (effectively, crudely, the employee is owned). Likewise for the employee a stack of things become no-worry issues: you get paid, your tax was taken out, your compulsory super contributions were made.

But come the first economic downturn, “permanent employment” is an oxymoron. Redundancy or other means are used to get rid of staff all the time. “Permanent” is not very permanent.

I grappled with this idea for years – the idea was to have a safe job which would pay the wages and allow safety, comfort and security. Eventually, the realisation dawned that this is all a fallacy. After over 20 years in a number of different companies where redundancy rounds were used every time the bottom line looked a little sick, the penny finally dropped: If you are not wanted, you will be gone. Permanent employment be damned. As far as I can tell, the only remaining real benefit of “permanent” employment is that it helps convince a banker to give you a housing loan, and the tax is pretty much automatic. Apart from that, its all an illusion pumped up by vested interest groups.

Safety and comfort come from your wits or intelligence. Security… pretty much likewise. As far as employment goes, there isn’t any.

Since leaving “permanent” employment, I have found a few things – kind of obvious really – that for many would be a put-off: doing invoices is a pain (and it’s done in your own time, no payment for that!). Likewise, doing GST and BAS returns is a pain. And chasing up unpaid invoices is an even bigger pain. It’s all possible, none is very difficult, it just consumes valuable time. Being employed makes all this go away. But being employed is not “permanent”.

One Comment

Welcome back Wally!
Agree entirely but am slightly jealous that you can bemoan sending out invoices – I’d love to get to that stage!

Comment by Kath Lockett | January 5th, 2012 4:01 am | Permalink

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