LOOK before you leap.
That’s the warning from union chief Obie Ferguson – and it’s wise advice in an economy that is a long way from being on the rise again.
His call for caution is directed at workers who are considering calling for – or accepting – severance packages from businesses as the frozen economy continues to bite, and as pockets become emptier.
The temptation is easy to see – there’s a lump sum of money that can keep people going while the amount of money coming from the government to support people who have been furloughed keeps getting smaller.
People, after all, have bills to pay. Rent. Electric. Water. Food. None of those bills are getting any smaller, and people look at a lump sum and think it might, at least for a while, make some of their problems go away.
The question, as Mr Ferguson so rightly points out, is what’s next? Where are the jobs that you are leaving to go to?
We haven’t heard for a while from the government how many people are out of work, but there were estimates of up to 40 percent unemployment earlier this year, and things haven’t gotten any better.
So with perhaps half the country out of work, where are you going to get a job rather than hang on to the one you have for the day it starts up again.
Because if you take that payment, you won’t be able to go back to that old job and say take me back on – it’s not that easy. They’ll say you took the severance, they may say we’ve hired someone else. And then you’re left with no job and no alternative.
Older workers especially might find themselves very short of options in the jobs market once it starts up again too - something well worth thinking about for people only a few years from retirement age.
It’s a very rough situation to be in, we have no illusions about that. There’s even solidarity between Mr Ferguson and Chamber of Commerce chief Peter Goudie on the matter, which is a situation the two might not have found themselves in too often.
Mr Goudie said: “It makes no sense to me why anybody wants their severance pay when there are no jobs.”
This is a situation no one wants to be in. It is a situation that has left people desperate.
We can only urge people to listen to Mr Ferguson when he says: “Hang on, things will get better.”
They will. It will be a hard road, but it will get better.
A great initiative
Nathaniel McKinney had a brilliant idea.
Mr McKinney – known as Nate the Great and familiar to fans of athletics from his days on the track – has already been working with children in the inner city, giving them a chance to see a world beyond the next corner.
So when the pandemic came along and shut down tourism, Mr McKinney thought of all those horses used to trotting around the streets pulling tourists in surrey cabs – and he decided to put them to use in an unusual way, meeting the children, and letting them bond with the horses.
“They get to bond with the horses, pet them, go for rides, learn how to circle with the horse and basically communicate with the horse,” he told Face-to-Face columnist Felicity Darville.
He has even bought a horse specially for the community. And the children? They love it.
Well done, Mr McKinney, for giving children dreams to chase after.