[Radical Change, 622 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
There was a change in the air, the employees of the employment agency could feel it. The government was under pressure with unemployment figures at an all time high. The voting public knew this and the government was under scrutiny, which meant that unemployment agencies were now, also, under scrutiny. People were getting replaced and other people were receiving redundancy packages. Change was in effect.
The government representative had come in and reviewed procedures at the unemployment agency. After three months of inspecting the workings of agencies, just like this one, something was established.
“It seems to me that the problem is that there is too much paperwork,” the government representative delivered his findings and solution to the employees of the unemployment agency, “Instead of being caught up in a mountain of paperwork, I think we should just try and find people jobs.”
There were cries of dissatisfaction coming from the employees of the unemployment agency. Hushed whispers that were spread with fear, reciting the word ‘change’. Things had always been this way. This was the way things worked. For some fifty odd years, this was the system that had been established. The employees would stamp forms, tick forms and ensure all forms were correctly dated and signed. This was how things worked, or had worked, for so long now that nobody knew anything different. How could they comprehend and cope with such a dramatic change? The shift in dynamics from servicing the unemployed was going to change. Instead of spitting and leering on those unfortunate unemployed members of society, these unemployment agencies would now have to treat them like customers of a service.
At the water cooler the next day the employees of the unemployment agency shared their thoughts.
“It’s fucking ridiculous.”
“Who do they think we are? Miracle workers?”
“I think it’s a positive change, I studied at university for four years to do just this type of work.” Said a recent graduate and new employee.
“No, son, you don’t understand. These people are scum, these people are parasites, these people are the dole bludgers, the unemployed mate.” The perpetuated myth of the dole bludger, as was hyped up by such pseudo news programs as ‘Today Tonight’ and ‘A Current Affair’ had formed a stereotype or archetype in the national psyche. The figure that had received so much hate and malice over the years, as well as being severely malnourished by a poor diet as administered by the low income bracket of welfare, were now about to have some real assistance. “You will understand after you’ve been working the job a few years, then you’ll see what they’re really like.”
The recent graduate underlined his case, “Times have changed since the privilege that previous generations enjoyed. It is more difficult to get a job than ever. The economic collapse, the mining boom is no longer predominant, things are changing and if we are to really help these people. We will need to actually help them.”
“Do you know how much time it takes to actually help someone. No, no, no; that’s not what we do. We stamp the forms, we ensure the line for welfare payments are nice and orderly, it would take too much time to do otherwise.”
The recent graduate surmised his position, “This is a new era, radical change is in the air and the unemployment agencies can no longer sit idly back and stamp forms. We must do what the name of our position suggests and help people find work.” The suggestion was radical to the employees of the unemployment agency, as with all radical change, it required radical individuals just like this recent graduate. But only time would tell if such a change was possible.