My son is 17, wears trousers that hang low enough to expose virtually all of his boxer shorts, plays xbox and studies far less than I would like. I try not to worry about him; he is an articulate, charming and intelligent boy-but I do worry for him. He doesn’t know what is coming. With the pace of change in the world, none of us do.
This afternoon I had to wait at Glasgow Central Station. There was a boy standing, apparently waiting for a train to arrive. He wasn’t causing any problem. There was no hoodie. There wasn’t a gang. He made me think. He looked to be about the same age as my son. He was clean, pale-faced and thin. He didn’t look ill or ill-treated but his clothes were torn and dirty. I started to wonder what he was doing here. What he did. Why he was standing in the station in the early part of the afternoon. I looked down to pick up my bag and when I turned round he was gone.
Then I looked across to the newspaper seller – a wasted man, thin, dirty and with the look of an addict. With him was a boy of about 17 years old. He was laughing and cursing and hopping around from foot to foot.
And then there were the teenagers serving in Burger King….and I realised that I have no idea about JOBS.
I am middle-class. I could make a very good case for being working class based on the struggles of my grandparents in the early trade union movements of the industrial northwest of England in the early 20th century. The truth is that their struggle and their efforts allowed their children, my parents, to become middle class…..and, therefore, so am I.
So, I read The Guardian and worry about my son but I have NO IDEA. I think in terms of careers and so, very probably, do you. I don’t think in terms of him getting A JOB, any job, 9-5 in order to pay the rent. They are working class choices.
While we are busy being inspired entrepreneurs or dynamic coaches or miracle mentors let’s not forget that there are still JOBS to be done and think how we can inspire some of these kids, to allow them to have progression and a career path and life choices beyond taking any job just to pay the rent.