Published On: Mon, Dec 5th, 2022

Don’t come back, or how did you get that job again?

Dear Editor,

Students who go away to study are doing so for particular reasons, whether they know or not the ranking of the reasoning. But what guarantees do students have of a different life from those who came before; and if that is a good enough reason for such supercilious adventures. Their dreams at times are pilfered brazenly under the hot sun, as one returns to their native lands of an imagined community. In this quest lies a certain cantankerous ideal. Froth with the politics of the ability to climb the ladder, one goes on this Sisyphusian journey. Of not only coming back, but competing with others of similar and dissimilar ilk, where meritocracy has its discontents and caprice, its lineage. But one must persist, in order to have some semblance of decency in their existence.

The search for a job is part of the process in this quest to become many yous (plural of you). This sort of a delusion has to exist within the mind so that it can perpetuate blindly and attach itself to you, like a long lost love. But this quest is a fantasy of symbolic parenticide, instilled by its own heredity, only to be engulfed by the realities of a generation of the internet/social media. Why are the young ones this way must be yoked to why are the old ones that way. Nevertheless, the aim is to go away, study, and come back. But what are we coming back to? What have we inherited and what will the future inherit from us. The idea(l) of the benevolent ancestor of today is only that and for convenience sake. For when you come back, the process of getting a job. If you prepared for such, rarely, by performing well in school, interning by small or larger businesses, by government, by staying connected, by being involved in the community, by engaging politically, you increase your chances; if you don’t, that lessens your changes by a bit too much. Localness—of whatever extraction—and jobs are a fickle pair. There is no guarantee.

Every now and again, there are jobs openings, and for each of these vacancies, there is the select committee, promises, and the unknowns; join that with the many candidates applying to fill said slot, some less than your qualifications, some the same, and some more. So who gets the job? There are a multiple of factors to consider: education, experience, diligence, social and voluntary work, family connections and name, political links, chance, luck, etc. So how or what do you do, when you do not get the job, which is most likely the case. You go look for another. Then another, and keep on looking, maybe never to find that particular job, but simple a job. That may have to do.

The thing with a job is that, it takes some time, years maybe, to find the right ideal job that you want, patience is thin, but then that job is gone, or not what you thought. Jobs are maybe a capricious necessity, or so we think. There is no perfect or ideal job for most. We just have to do mostly with what we have; if we are lucky, that’s a different story. Attached to this idea is dealing with pleasant and irksome aspects of colleagues, managers, strangers, and the rest. Indeed one can find a nice temporary respite within work, but it is a persistent battle of continuous and fluctuating interaction, not unlike life itself. It’s simply the order of things.

Another aspect of work, there are the glocal issues to deal with, globalization itself, capitalization of your personal data, the economy, unemployment, war, the educational system, labor laws, productivity, “high wages”, emigration, cost of living, cruise numbers, spending amounts, etc. In addition, and as a result, the ever increasing downwards pressure on the worker to produce more for less. It’s unconscionable. Based on these trends, the future looks ominous, not that much as to challenge the value of our existence. Maybe the onliest solution is reciprocal acts of kindness that could possibly make easier the journey on this rock hurtling through the space.

Within these two areas of light, however, there is some discernible temporary order that we have little control over. So we veer off, as is inevitable, we are made to realize that we have wandered. But each one of us has a particular beat that we follow in our heads, some in our hearts, some neither, and the beat goes on, several beats, no beats, different beats. So what life throws at us, we have to deal with in one way or the other, causally, reluctantly, but certainly. So the question to return home to St. Maarten to work, or to lie on the beach, in related to how we will eat. In this beaten quest, what are we willing to give up? Stay on SXM or go elsewhere. How did you get that job again? Is college worth it? What about those person who did not go to college? All of us, college or not, deserve some semblance of a decent life.

We all have daily lives to live, from taking care of (a) child(ren) to a parent to going to work to staying healthy to dealing with people to not having enough for the month. It’s rigorous for some; some, routine; some, brutal. It’s all complicated. So it’s not just about finding a job, but one that you may like, one that brings satisfaction, some joy, some civility—such should idealism should not be a stretch of the imagination. But a realization, or at least a collective aim.

In light of this, brain drain has been made to be real but it is a ghost, a reality that cannot be reversed. It is the world we live in. The market doesn’t allow it. To purport some kind of solution is within grasp, is simply to prey on particular reaches of our prejudicial existence.

It might be hard not to come back to dear ole SXM. But there is a choice that has to be made. Why the need to come back. Thus becomes real the ever present existential crisis. The benefits of history has its limits, so to for place, and the urge to return to a predetermined home. But home is a temporary and fleeting concept. We live in a world with no borders, yet we create such, we crave and we carve our way, even if it cost us ourselves.

And too often, it does.

Pedro de Weever