Listen: “Create your own opportunities, sometimes necessity and situation will motivate it”
Top selling tropical salsa artist Marc Anthony once said;
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”.
Then Tina Turner sang;
“What’s love got to do with it?”.
Indeed, both artists speak truth in what they are saying or singing about. Though I am all about ‘doing what you love’ and ‘loving what you do’, I also need to echo the words of Ms Turner when she asks ‘What’s love got to do with it?’- especially when necessity arises, retrenchment becomes a reality and you join the unemployment queue.
Yesterday (Tuesday 12 November 2019) South African Airways announced it would be retrenching 900 employees. Though these employees, who will soon be kicked to the curb, may have loved what they had done during their time at the state-owned entity, they too will ask; “What’s love got to do with it, now that I struggle to put food on the table for my family?”
Similarly, other companies have undergone restructuring, including media giant MultiChoice which had laid off more than a thousand customer care staff members. Those former employees will too ask “What did love have to do with it?”
According to Statistics South Africa the country’s unemployment rate edged up to 29.1 percent in 2019, the highest level since comparable data began in 2008. I’m sure that those newly graduated students, soon to matriculate school leavers, the retrenched, and those who had been unemployed for a long time, ask as they wait for ANY opportunity; “What’s love got to do with it?”
The South Africa government recently published a 25-year review looking at the progress made since democracy in 1994, part of that review was to track the countries economic and employment during the period leading to 2019. According to the government publication the inability of the economy to create jobs coupled with the high-level entry requirements and the skills mismatch are some of the reasons advanced for the persisting structural unemployment. It says that youth and women bear the brunt of unemployment.
Recently I caught up with Laura Ruthvin the founder and director of Female Entrepreneur SA who shared with me how she got back onto her feet when she had to step into the role as the female breadwinner in her family because her partner is over the age of 60 and unable to work.
I am lucky to not have been unemployed, for a long period of time. I had always been proactive in my unemployment to refocus and redirect my life to where I wanted and needed it to be. I remember that in 2012 I lost my job as a youth life skills and peer education facilitator, and it got me to an uncomfortable position of standing in the line at the UIF offices in Athlone. But I managed to get back onto my feet again. That ‘turbulent’ moment in my life helped me stop and re-evaluate where I was and helped me get to where I needed to be.
I then remember working in the retail industry and then moving from there to study journalism. From there I got my foot into the community radio space before been given the opportunity to work on commercial radio. Up until a couple of months ago I worked happily as a radio producer for one of Cape Town’s biggest talk radio stations and South Africa’s top media giant, but unfortunately, I lost my job yet again because of restructuring and a lack of economic growth within the business. I took it badly, as you can imagine a new father, husband and family man would. I loved what I did, and I am incredibly passionate about radio and broadcast, but I too echoed the words of Tina Turner as I drove home; “What had love have to do with it?”.
As I sat in contemplation of ‘where to now with my life’, something deep down screamed for it to live in the real world. I had always dreamed of one day starting my own broadcast, media and entertainment company, but it seemed like now was the time to put plans in place to make it a reality. After all I had the time to dabble in the business space after changing a few nappies and hanging out with my daughter, watching reruns of Judge Judy and taking the dog for a walk. It was a daunting task to think about allowing this dream to be born and give it permission to have its place in this world, but I took a deep breath and penned down a vision, mission and business plan for my new ‘baby’. I completed online business registration forms, opened a business bank account, interacted with various role players and helped with the birth of this very platform you read this article on today. Its still a work in progress, we are far from reaching the capacity I’d like, but it’s a project I am proud of, a project I have faith in and a project I do- because of love and passion. Tina Turner asked; “What’s love got to do with it?”, well I believe it has everything to do with it. You see, that turbulent moment which shakes our lives approaches us like a thief in the night, but what we do with it and how we rise is all that matters in the end. Doing what you love is difficult and loving what you do is more of a challenging mission, but it is not impossible. If you have the unfortunate situation of having lost your job, maybe it’s time, maybe it’s a chance for you to stop and redirect and reroute your life with what you have, what you are knowledgeable about and what you are passionate about.
I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, neither are opportunities served to me on a golden tray. What I have, what I know and where I am are all because of hard work, determination and passion- find yours, use yours and leave a mark in the world- create your own opportunities, sometimes necessity and situation will motivate it.