Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Life isn’t all about a career

Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

“We’ll honour the man who can’t afford to wait for a job that suits”
- Henry Lawson

Coming across the above quotation recently reminded me of the first time I visited New York in the early seventies. Stepping off the plane in JFK and seeing so many coloured staff in the arrivals area was a total shock to me.

Of course, after a few days I became accustomed to seeing them working and living in the city of Manhattan.

At that time, and it’s only around forty years ago, many of our own emigrants who had left home in the 1940’s - ‘50’s - ‘60’s were working alongside brethren of a different colour, creed, nationality, and availing of every opportunity that came their way.

In recent years it has become important to not only have a career, but to strive for celebrity status within the modern society. To do any less is deemed to be inferior or unsatisfying in some way.

At this time of year when teenagers are heading for college and choosing courses I often wonder what their influences are.

My own experience of young people is that they are wiser in ways, and a lot more streetwise than my generation though their expectations are often quite unrealistic.

This is no wonder when they have grown up in a more affluent society, where gratification is instant, and work is another country.

This is the impressionable age of adolescence, and the media, in general, has their ears, eyes, and brains.

However I have nothing but great admiration for our young people and their parents. So much of the old values are still being nurtured at home and at school. Children have such opportunities to play sport, participate in the arts, and to display their talents at a young age.

It engenders confidence in our young to make well informed decisions.

But this is also the time to nurture respect for those who do less ‘professional’ work - those who toil manually for a living, those who farm our land, grow our food, and those who in a general sense, serve.

Life isn’t all about a career, it’s essentially more about earning a living, so that we can afford time to enjoy it.

Like Dr Steve Collins who spent 30 years of his life working in war and famine countries, received an MBE for services to humanitarianism, and is now farming 140 acres of marginal mountainous land in West Cork, growing blueberries, and rearing Dexter cattle.