There is definitely something weird going on in the world of what constitutes work and “work”. If that sounds confusing, consider this: My computer went haywire a couple of weeks ago. First my email wouldn’t open or shut down, then the whole kit and caboodle locked up. I ask you, how can an electronic device lock up? I believe “crashed” is the common terminology. So I took it to the computer guy … our regular computer repair IT expert.
“I might not be doing this sort of work much longer,” he gaily announced, his eyes bright with an enthusiasm he was dying to share.
“Oh, and why’s that?” I anxiously asked (out here in the sticks, our mobile broadband does regular funny things to our computers and I have to consult him for advice).
“I’m kicking off a start-up in alcohol distillery sales”.
“No, drinking … you know; whiskey, gin, that sort of thing. Here’s my brand and logo.”
He showed me this garish label with an elk as it’s centre piece. I was quite shocked, as I have never seen this quiet spoken young-ish family-man as anything other than a computer person.
“I didn’t know you were into distilling,” I remarked.
“Oh, I’m not. I just buy from the distiller, bottle and place my label on the product. I’m going to export to China!” he enthused.
“CHINA! Geez, isn’t that a risky market to crack?” Again, I was amazed at his adventuring.
“Yes, well, thankfully, I am connecting up with a partner who knows how to get into the market there. He already has an import licence and warehouse in China.” I must have looked doubtful. “He has contacts who have a steady supply route bringing stuff across the Vietnam/Chinese border.”
Now, I have been around this old world for a few years and I have heard some awful bullshit in that time … and not just a few “get-rich-quick” schemes in my travels, but by jingo, with these high-risk start-ups kicking off in the Gen-Y’s generation, I reckon I have heard it all!
The “Start-up”: Where once you were employed to actually do a job, now you “start-up” an employment prospect where you become the job!
My soon to be redundant computer repair man went on to describe how there were opportunities galore in the new China market.
“Donkey meat and skins! We have tons of feral donkeys up north, and we don’t eat donkeys or their skins.” And he raised a knowledgeable finger, “but the Chinese do!”
Well f#ck me sideways! I had to look up that one for myself, and sure enough.
Maybe this is not news to many of you, but hey, I live a quiet life out there in splendid isolation in the Mallee, and I have never thought of the humble donkey as much more than a lumping animal that once carried the Virgin Mary and her child around Bethlehem and that is why, I was assured by those Sister of Mercy nuns, there was the black cross on its back. And why would they lie to me?
But I tell you what, I’m going to have to re-think my old-school idea of “work”. Now I’m not against the entrepreneurial spirit of ”Have a go!” I have often said to my kids that’s how the world goes around … ”hakuna matata” and all that; the circle of life. And I have to confess, that when I first was old enough to appreciate a good idea when I saw it, I had to give a low whistle of respect to those founding fathers of the three Abrahamic Religions when they promised their parishioners gauranteed eternal life in Heaven, or as many virgins as you could handle on any given day for little more than a tithe and a lifetimes obsequience … and … money-back guarantee if it’s not for you when you get there. Now THAT was a start-up of some note.
But there is a very, very clever practicality behind the idea of the start-up, promoted as part of Turnbull’s “innovative and agile” concept of employment … an act almost of genius. It works like this:
First, you register yourself as a start-up company that is of a labour intensive nature – to legitimise it as “start-up status” – you create an app to contact and allocate daily jobs for your employees. The government then gives you a grant or low interest loan to kick it off, then, armed with your business plan, you apply for a number of interns @ $4/hour where the government pays you $1000 up front and …
In the final stage of the program employers will be eligible for a “Youth Bonus wage subsidy” between $6,500 and $10,000, depending on the young person’s job readiness. Businesses will be able to employ young job seekers either directly, through labour hire arrangements, or combined with an apprenticeship or traineeship.
… with these, you subcontract them out in your business, say, a cleaning enterprise with a govvey contract (that you got by undercutting the opposition with your now cheap labour) – at market cost per intern – while they “learn on the job”, and when the allotted time is up for the internship, you transfer their employment contract to “casual permanent” to fulfil you part of the intern agreement. But you rarely if ever give them work, except, perhaps, to help train the next batch of interns. I know this is only an over-view and there may be a few gaps, but I think you get the idea. Almost genius … hakuna matata! The government pays you to kick off the start-up, pays you for the interns, then eventually pays the now redundant trained interns the dole because they are unemployed and they then get a job as an intern. The circle of life. No worries.
As you can see, there is room in the LNP master-plan for agile and innovative entrepreneurs. The LNP … they know what they’re doing.