"Just go get a job!"
Today, as part of a job application, I had to do a test. It took me over 2 hours to complete. This job pays minimum wage. I'm very hopeful about it because I think its something I would enjoy. But, more and more I'm very aware that it is not that easy to just "go out and get a job!" This is also not the first job I've had to complete an assignment or test as part of a job application process. In my field, it is also often expected that you will deliver an up to date portfolio of work, written, photography, or design, either as part of the application or interview process.
I'm lucky. I have a lot of privileges that will make it easier for me to find work. Some of those privileges are:
I’m average attractive based on western societal standards.
English is my first language.
My name is an average North American name.
I have a university degree from a familiar university.
My experience and education are in a growing field that has a reasonable amount of women in it.
I have a roof over my head that I'm not going to lose if I have to miss rent.
I have a family that will help keep me fed and sheltered if it really gets that tight.
I don't have any children to support.
I am medicated for my mental health and I'm won't run out of medication for several months.
I have a computer and internet at home which I can use to update my resume, search for jobs, and complete applications.
I have appropriate clothing to wear to possible interviews.
I also have a small bit of savings to cover my bills for a month or two, giving me more time to find work and to hopefully find work that I like.
These are privileges that many people who are looking for minimum wage work don't have. This is not an issue that is only in big cities. I bet there are people in every town across Canada struggling with significantly less privilege and access to resources than I have, who are also trying to find jobs. Or to find second jobs because the first one isn't enough.
It is not as simple as "go out and get a job." It is not even that simple for me. Maybe for earlier generations, it was as simple as walking up to the nearest factory, or farm, or store, and asking for a work.
Now, finding a job is basically a full-time job. So when you are worrying about whether or not you can put food on the table, pay your rent, cloth yourself or your family, manage a family, and your own mental health, you end up with way less brain power and energy to focus on finding a job. Or to focus on upgrading your skills to find a better job.
Stop and check your privilege next time you roll your eyes and think "just go get a job!"
It is not as easy as that, and our society is not working hard enough to make it better.