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Feedback on 'Generations - A Thought Experiment'
I'm sure that your situation is determined by the era in which you live. I liked that you discussed the pros and cons of both your earlier ideal situation and the current day.
Don't despair at being single and mid 30s. Four confirmedly single people in our lives have found significant others in the last eighteen months. The youngest is Cath's sister who is 28. The others are in their mid 30s to mid 40s. You never know when Ms (or Mr) Right is going to make an appearance.
I was teaching in 1979. More than half the teachers were women and most of them were married. I think the percentage has gone up in the last few decades from 40% of women working to about 60% wanting to work. There were many families I know with two (or more) breadwinners. Cath, for example, had to leave school in 1978 to help her family out. And both her father and mother were then working.
It looks as if I'm in some ways that 20-year older person you'd be now if you had been 36 in 1979. (I had three kids at the time, ages 9, 7, and 4, and I was working part-time in the hours for which I could arrange a babysitter.) And while I had no trouble getting a trainee job straight out of college -- uni to you -- and staying in the field for many years, I lost my job some 5 years ago and don't have the "skills of the moment" for getting a new job in the field. My older son, now 29, got a "stock broker trainee" position almost straight out of college, and has changed companies several times but doesn't know the pleasure I once had in doing something that felt like a "natural" use of my abilities (and that I hope someday to regain through writing).
When I first went into the workforce, after spending a year at a business college, there were no shortages of jobs. If you found that you didn't like the job, people etc you just quit and you would have another one in a matter of days (at the very most). I was in the insurance industry at that time and they had a rule written into their award (you couldn't get away with it these days) that once a female was married she could work for 12 months and then she had to give up work. I think that, plus the fact that women, on the whole, stayed at home are a couple of the main reasons why unemployment was so much lower in those years when we were starting out in life. Now days unless you have a very marketable skill (or know people of influence) it is a real struggle to get work. Bob has been out of work for over 3 years now and nobody wants to "know" him because he is too "old." He could get "under-the-counter" jobs, not to be declared, but we won't do that so we have to struggle on and hope that we can come up with something that WE can do (from or with our land) to earn money. To date we have not had any bright ideas that would be of any real benefit to us.
Yes, what is now the norm, both parents working and the kids in daycare, was practically unheard of when we were young. In the families where Mum did work it was usually only AFTER the kids were in school and then it was generally part time.
In 1979 I was 27, single but living with Linda Smith, living in shared accomodation, but I did have a job. I'd been teaching for five years by then. My main entertainment was fandom and the smoking of certain substances. It was an interesting time in my life, but not one I'd care to revisit. 1981, on the other hand, was a beauty, featuring, as it did, my one visit to the U.S. and Canada and my only overseas Worldcon. It was also the early stages in my relationship with Cath.
Re: Generations: A Thought Experiment: I like your civilisation is at the adolescent stage. Unfortunately I think it's at the very selfish, egocentric and often-cruel stage of Year 9s; I hope not too much damage is done before it grows out of this stage.
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Last Updated: 19 August 2003