Last week a friend in our suburb told me that he had earnt $5400.00 in his new job. For most of us that’s a reasonable monthly salary, but he had achieved it in just one week as an unskilled worker. I have to admit I was a little impressed.
However as I dug a little deeper I discovered that he had to work from 5pm-5am six days a week, a total of 72 hours… Add on the 90 minutes driving time in each direction and suddenly you are away from home for 15 hours of the day and sleeping for most of the time when you are home. The only thing that is unusual here is the fact that he is doing this without flying out to a mine-site.
The lure of big $$$ in the mines has grabbed the attention of many in our community so ‘fly in/fly out’ scenarios are common as people try to earn lots of money to pay huge mortgages and credit card bills. And when there is a pay rise there is often an increase in the credit limit to accompany it. The economic boom and the lure of large incomes has many saying they will do it ‘for a little while’ or ‘until the mortgage is paid off’, but the lifestyle is addictive in many ways.
Its hard to go back when you’ve had that much money and its also hard for dads to slot back into their families when they come home. Patterns are established that can be hard to shake.
The huge number of absent fathers, off making six figure salaries makes me wonder about the future of our young people and children in the next generation. Many will barely know their dads and the social consequences are something to be concerned about… What happens when a kid only sees their dad one week in three and is the financial gain worth the relationship loss?
We have often heard off Filipino workers heading off to other parts of Asia to earn enough money to send home so the family can survive, but here we have a parent absent much of the time not for survival, but so that the family can have all the ‘I wants’ of a consumer age.
Combine an economic boom with a consumer culture and you have an explosive cocktail. I am absolutely convinced that this obsession with affluence and acquisition will bite back sooner or later…
And when it does…