I’m a freelancer. As little as 4 years ago, I probably would not have thought that I would ever say that.
In a country like Jamaica where so many people are unemployed after spending thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of dollars, and years upon years in high schools, community colleges, universities, and the like… in many ways, I am very fortunate.
I am employed.
Last night, as I was working on a Fiverr gig, creating an alphabet for a client’s made-up language, I thought of the others in the country who are not as fortunate. We are taught that we need to go to school, study our butts off, and then work for somebody else.
But jobs here are hard to come by. Going through the newspaper today, I saw that many job openings require many years’ experience. As the saying goes, “We need work to get experience, and experience to get work.” In other words, we’re screwed.
I am educated. But that is not the only reason that I am employed. I am employed partially because I have skills; because I decided to take the risk and bank on those skills.
I spent time with Jamaican Deaf, and learnt (and am still learning) JSL from them. (Thank you!) And became an interpreter. Others got the same diploma I did, and are not interpreters; and others here have no piece of paper, and yet are interpreters, and have been for longer than I.
I did linguistics courses at university, and then thought… why not use it?
It’s time for a paradigm shift. We need to stop thinking that the only way to survive is to sit in an office or doing physical labour, making money for someone else. We need to be creative! We need to make a list (mentally, or on our computers/tablets or on paper) of the skills we have (and we all have skills!) and think about how we can use them to uplift ourselves.
We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!