A person I have known for some time retired recently. With a good package, may I add? He was a loader in a public sector oil company. His job was to climb on oil tankers and fill them. He received three million as retirement benefits and has a pension for life. I was contemptuous of the job he did, “loader, loader, government free loader,” I used to think. Not anymore. The government has taken good care of him, he boasts. The government loved him even though the company he worked for was making losses in billions, even though the tax payers were being squeezed to run the oil company. He hasn’t passed SSC, can’t read or write, he has very basic skills. He is a happy man. I am retired, but from the private sector. What did I get? Zilch. Nada.
My blood boils; my judgement is hampered as I write this. My laughter curdles in my throat into a suppressed scream. I weep silent tears. So many years working in the private sector and nothing? The man mentioned above has exchanged his car for a high-end Scorpio, worth more than a million, he has bought gold, and, adding insult to injury, he goes on holiday. I am a bit jealous of him, not a bit, a lot. Now he will sit and enjoy his life, going for long holidays, unlike me, working at bits and odds.
I remember those years I slogged in low-paying jobs. Oh, how those days come back in rush, as if in a bad dream. He also had a low-paying job but he had security. He bargained and got a better deal; whereas I was a sucker for thinking the private sector had more opportunities for advancements. I should have known better, the banyans and the marsupials (no allusion to any caste here, hehe!) I worked for don’t care a zilch for talent. They paid their employees the absolute minimum and wanted world-standard work done.
A big hee... hee... to all that crap.
However, the danger for those like me is that in the hallowed private sector – where I assumed talent was appreciated – more and more smart operators who know a little bit of everything are taking over. I was replaced as copywriter of a construction company by a man who said he knew how to write and design also. I found that he was being paid more than twice what I was paid. Dank. I had to leave and find another job. The new guy took over. He had a few elementary skills which he lied about when hired, but when it came to designing an advertisement he was helpless, which was soon found out. Did the company want experience or glamour? Was it going to sacrifice my experience for the misplaced promise shown by the new recruit? I resigned when I found another job, which paid me more. The company lost a skilled hard working guy (me) who handled their advertising and public relations and gained a worker who was, basically, incompetent. This is happening with disturbing regularity in the corporate world.
Thinking about it, it seems like a trap which I have fallen into, unwittingly. I was swept away by the feeling that all will be alright, good paying jobs would come. But today, in India, the private sector is squeezing every drop of blood from their employees while, at the same time, working them to death. My typical work-week consisted of 60 hours of work with only a day – Sunday – off. On the other hand the government is paying its employees and public sector workers much more than they deserve to be paid, plus, a pension. That’s what happened in Greece. The country’s pension liability billowed from paying government servants. Greece spends 17.5 per cent of its income on pensions, more than any EU country. India spends around 6 per cent but this is estimated to rise to 19 per cent in 2050. Where will this money come from?
Meanwhile the man is enjoying life. Now, he is laughing I me, I suspect. He goes for multiple vacations, flaunts his wealth, throws lavish parties, wants to get his sons married, and is having the good life. Let him enjoy. He has worked hard for it, climbing those trucks in rain and hail, and filling those umpteen tanks. Thinking back that would have been a better job by far.