As regular readers will know, my first job (well, the first one I managed to retain for more than 3 hours) was as a Saturday girl in Woolies in Greenock - you'll recall I wasn't cool enough for the record counter - hmmmm! I was sad to see it was one of the first to go and yesterday was its last trading day. It's sad for so many reasons but as always, it's the human cost that matters most. I remember the girls (sophisticated grown ups as they were to me at the time) who worked there - they were all late teens, early 20s and work for them was about more than just earning a wage packet.
It's the same for most people, whether they believe it or not.
It's about having a structure to your day, being needed, have a social life. By the latter I don't necessarily mean going out partying with your workmates, you can take it in its most simplistic form - having someone remember you went home with a headache the night before and ask how you are; workplace banter, there's always someone who can make you laugh; or in the case of the full timers who worked at Woolies, even just having folk who will tell you that no, you shouldn't wear the shorter skirt on Friday night because you really suit the jeans and yes, you should go and visit your granny in Largs if you've not seen her for 2 weeks (I have a good memory)!
What I'm trying to say is that it won't matter to the folk who are being made redundant if they have a good pay off, they will miss everything else about work so much more than the money initially. We all need to relate to other human beings and we all need regular interaction - unemployment is a curse and it takes all that away. I know there are many women (there were men too - usually managers of course - but I only remember the women) who left Woolies in Greenock on Saturday, never having worked anywhere else. It will take a long time for them to come to terms with the changes in their lives and I really hope, but doubt, that there are people out there who will be able to support them through it.
Unemployment used to be my favourite topic to rant about - I suspect you'll be hearing more about it from me in the not too distant future.