An Opportunity For Re-Invention? (plus Update)

Is that what our current economic crisis can present us with? An opportunity to re-invent ourselves??

Last Monday Night on the Frontline programme on RTE, the current unemployment crises facing new Irish Graduates was discussed at large. Much was made of the fact that we have recently qualified, or soon to be qualified, Engineers, Lawyers, Physio Therapists (and most likely Speech & Language and Occupational Therapists) etc by the dozens and no jobs for them. This country has invested a lot in their education and there is a need for their fact there's a dearth of Therapists needed to provide much needed interventions. Yet these highly qualified individuals have no hope of employment here and most will have to emigrate to find work.

Of course they laid the blame squarely on this ineffectual, but not completely incompetent, Government of ours. It's true, they've done NOTHING to secure or create jobs as they've concentrated solely on shoring up our Financial Institutions (already us Tax Payers are at a loss as Bank of Ireland shares fall) and reducing wages to the extent that people can't afford to spend....thereby losing more jobs in the retail sector. There's absolutely no stimulus package. Where are these young people emigrating too?? Apparently England, Canada, Australia and America in some cases.

How come they can get jobs in those countries?? Or is that a very naive question? Perhaps the forthcoming Olympics in the UK in 2012 is providing employment opportunities there? The big question of course is what are the UK and US  Governments doing that our Government isn't??

However, the onus isn't completely on the Government, or on our Tanaiste and not completely incompetent  Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan. We can't wait for them to get their act together and these things are cyclical. We need to use all available resources and they should listen to economists and business peoples' opinions.

These recent Graduates are mostly from a generation that has had everything handed to them, including a far better education than my generation and my parents generation received. Are they molly coddled?? Does their well-travelled status really mean simply that they're well-holidayed??

Bill Cullen,  he who  started his career as a 5-year-old street seller, was also on the Frontline programme and he put these very points to them. He challenged them to get out there and get experience, even if only on a voluntary basis, and said so what if you have to emigrate. Go get the experience abroad and bring it back here when you're done! Mary Coughlan is also relaxed about people emigrating and feels it's not a bad thing.  Hmmm......

While Bill may have been a bit naive when handling the debt problems people have these days (he may have gone out to work at a young age to contribute to the family funds but his parents wouldn't have had the crippling mortgage repayments some of  these people have) when he told one participant to renegotiate his €2000 a month debt. He did however have a point. Hey....I bet he's gone fishing in many a pond for the wishing money in his time!!

This programme and a previous conversation with The Cuz got me thinking. Can unemployment be an opportunity for re-invention? We both know someone who is using their forthcoming job loss as such an opportunity and I'm sure there are plenty others out there brave enough to give it a go.

These young people have fantastic opportunities to do the same in this internet driven era. They are way more internet savvy than most of us and with eBayfacebook and twitter there are loads of cheap (cost free even) ways to promote yourself.

A young entrepreneur Dylan Collins was also on the Frontline Programme. He's made a fortune from Games and now Gamestop has made a major investment in his internet games company, Jolt Online.

WiiBoy's ambition is to work in Gamestop

See.... our children's obsessions, currently their re-enforcers, can ultimately become their future career path ;-)

Did you that there's such a thing as a Games Fleadh here in Ireland? It's a Games & Console Programming Festival held annually. I am taking a note of this for future reference ;-)

Of course, way before this economic crises, some of us stay-at-home-mums (and dads) have learnt the art of re-invention. Over the years, some parents have racked their brains to think of ways to successfully merge earning a wage with raising a family and still be there for school pick-ups, extra-curricular activities and homework etc; etc. A very daunting task indeed.

I suppose the trick is to think of your skills and perhaps how your hobbies/interests can be harnessed to fill a gap in the market??

We just have to look at how Hammie has used her writing skills and networking ability. Also, at how she's used her knowledge and experiences to help create the new Grace Application for iPhone to help non-verbal Autistic children communicate effectively. Steve Troughton-Smith was the iPhone developer on board for this fantastic project.

Also Coolkid is using her skills and interests and has co-founded a new venture : Picture This which is opening soon.

Whilst not making money for herself , the wonderful Taz put her thinking cap on and used her networking skills to help raise money for the Irish Guide Dogs: Assistance Dogs Programme . She set up Puppy Power and to date there are enough contributions to sponsor 5 puppies for a year.

I take my hat off to you ladies!

Of course some of my friends are an old hat at this using-your-interests lark, and are a long time in business. Like my show pal with his children's parties which he runs over at Really Grand Events!!

 With my 5 year Career Break (plus one year Carers Leave) due to finish this November, I may have to do a bit of re-inventing myself too! That is, if I want to be available for WiiBoy after school (and I do) and want to avoid returning to my good Government job. Oh good God....the thoughts of it. Makes me ill to think about it!

I may get yet another hat out of my closet....... my thinking hat!

Not as fabulous as my other hats, I know, but this is a very scary task and I need all the help I can get!

Hopefully we can all learn to reinvent ourselves not just individually, but collectively as a nation.

What skills or resources are at our collective disposal to harness for use in the Global Market and here at home, I wonder??

And what's this Government going to do to help us achieve our re-incarnations??

Resign, perhaps??

xx Jazzy


Ray Darcy had some young unemployed people on his radio show this morning over at Today FM
I only heard some of it but he had 2 Graduates; a girl who had 2 Degrees in Engineering (I think) and Biology and had been studying for 8 years, and an Architect. Neither can get a job in this country and at least one of them has "worked for free" as Bill Cullen suggests. Soul destroying to think that you've invested your time in studying for a career that there are now no longer prospects in. You would have to wonder at the choice of courses some people choose though. The Biology Graduate would most likely have to emigrate anyway.

There was also a Cabinet maker on who cannot now continue the Apprenticeship he's half way through.

In all these cases it seemed that they were following their dream and this was what they've always wanted to do. The idea of re-training is not what they want to consider. Can't blame them as they've just come out of a long study period.

Still, they may need to get re-inventing....or adapting slightly perhaps?

The Cabinet Maker had some good ideas. See, the Government needs to engage with these people and hear what they have to say as they may have some feasible ideas that THEY can adopt! The Cabinet Maker, when in employment, had invested in a shed and some tools. Now, if he'd any sense, he'd be down in that shed practising his learned skills to date ....maybe even getting a  little business going ;) While he's waiting to get what he wants. Well, it look would good an a CV.

While we may worry about the Teenagers currently going through the Education system maybe we shouldn't. Quite possibly they're in the best place, potential future 3rd level fees aside that is. 

Educating themselves for when this thing turns around. 

Just pick the right courses. 

Think ahead. 

Be inventive.
xx Jazzy


  1. The thing that I remember from the last batch of emmigration is how many people my age have siblings living abroad, happily married with families, who had to leave in the 80's. While it is lovely to see people happy and making lives for themselves abroad it is sad to see families split up like that. I would hate to see another generation in the same situation. The women you mentioned are an inspiration, I am very pleased to know them! Jen.

  2. very greatful to be mentioned in your post hun xx

    i dont know if im mad going on this venture as it could crumble all around me, there is a lot at stake but im 33, im bored and sick to death of letting my qualifications go down the drain, if i dont try now to start something i never will

    i wish you the best of luck with your decision and i hope you find your own way to reinvent your self xxxxxxxxx take a chance, it could be worth it

  3. Great post! I think that leaving your home town or country when you are young can be a good thing - you can gain so much experience and expertise - but it's great if you are able to come back again when you want to settle down. Reinvention is something that so many people have to do these days as the 'job for life' has gone - it's not just the recession. Like the other fab women you mentioned, you have gained so much experience during your career break, I'd say you would be able to do anything you want :D

  4. Hi Jazzy
    I saw that programme and I read Bill Cullens book with great admiration but MAN has he become smug because of what he has achieved!! I feel there is no compassion left in people, if the likes of him couldn't have an ounce of sympathy for those young graduates and mortgage paying, enthuasiastic young people. I mean they were a very positive bunch he just came accross as a dinosaur telling them about having no shoes! you are right though they have had everything handed to them but its disappointing for our politicians to think its ok for young people to have to emigrate once more, sounds like they are giving up doesn't it? Time we gave up on them I think. By the way it would be no problem for you to re-invent yourself you have the drive you probably just need an idea same as myself! great post, love reading your stuff xx

  5. Yeah JEN, I remember that too and like you I wouldn't like to see them going for good.

    COOLKID, you are being very brave in setting up a new business and I think it will go very well as it's a great IDEA. There's a need for what you have to offer. There may be a recession but kids classes and parties will be the last things effected ;) I'm in awe of you!

    Yes BLUE SKY...if they go, we really need them to come back with lots of experience! Have to find an idea to re-invent myself;)

    Haven't read his book POPSIE but maybe I should! It was indeed the usual zimmer frame moment alright..."I remember back in my time..." etc; etc yet he did have a point. It's just not as simple as he paints it though! And even if they're well holidayed as opposed to well traveled they also got experience as they most likely were on working holidays.
    I also need some confidence to go with any re-invention idea!!

    Having read a bit of the paper today I see that a major opportunity for this GOVERNMENT to re-invent itself has been lost. Mr Cowen had a major opportunity for a big cabinet shakeup but the people who should go will be kept on. Like Mary Coughlan. Jobs for your friends is obviously much more important then this country's financial crisis. Typical.

    We should kick them all out....

    Thanks so much for your comments! xx Jazzy

  6. it's an honour to be mentioned in your blog Jazzy. i did have an idea but without the support of so many people it would have come to nothing. I'm sure you'll come up with a cunning plan yourself after all necessity is the mother of invention

  7. Love this post makes me feel like anything is possible, which is a lovely, fresh way to feel in this jaded cynical world. You've put me in great form!
    I emigrated back in the 80's and I gotta say it was the best thing i ever did...that said, I'm really glad we decided to return to Ireland when our eldest fella was born.
    I haven't seen the news yet, but what a shame Cowen doesn't have your energy xxx

  8. I've been inspired by so many amazing facebook ladies and the things they are achieving. They truely are remarkable. I am going back to study part time in September as you grab every opportunity with open hands when the present themselves in this current economic climate. Great blog as usual xx

  9. Wow, thanks very much Jazz.

    I read an article about Tom Ford recently who said "What if you spend all your life climbing that ladder only to find you have put it up against the wrong wall?"

    Having kids who turn out to be special gives us an excuse for a career break that many Mums in The Tiger did not get. Passing their 9 month old babies over to the arms of a creche and forcing themselves back to work to make their "half" of a crippling mortgage, SUV car payments, and 2-3 foreign holidays per year; because they thought they needed it.

    Now we have been forced to take a deep breath, take a look at what we don't need, and then work out what we really do.
    The information age has proved invaluable for me getting my groove back. When anyone criticises Twitter saying "why not talk to "real people?"
    I say - ahem, because most of the time I am at home juggling housework, children, school runs and for the most of the evening while I am 'tweeting' and facebooking - there is bedlam in the background and constant interruptions from my high maintainance kids.

    And it's given me a chance to climb a few new walls and peek over, to decide whether I want to go there.

    As for Mary Couglan? I think she has got Cowan in some kind of compromising position - and she has the photos to prove it! xx

  10. Thanks for comment TAZ and good luck with the puppies!

    Thanks JEAN. So glad you came back! The news is all speculation at the moment, but looks like she's safe. Although they may add Economic Planning and Job Creation to her portfolio, someone else will be in charge of that part. Phew!!

    Good on you PETUNIA! Studying, eh?? Now that I think of it, I did intend on doing some courses whilst on career break...oops! Never got round to that. Never too late though, eh?? Another idea to pop into my re invention folder ;)

    Thanks HAMMIE and you're welcome!
    Yes, I did the handing over of my baby bit...but only every other week. You know, I'm actually thankful for the Autism diagnosis because I got to spend the last few years full-time with my fabulous son. And I don't want it to end. Neither does he .... I've asked.

    Time for me to conquer my fears then Hammie, and start climbing more walls! could have a point there. Although I do hope they're not anything like the previous photos of him!!

    xx Jazzy

  11. The very best of luck with the reinvention ideas. That's what its all about these days!

    Mind you, we would be on our way to Australia if it wasn't for the charming comment from the migration agent that the NSLM would be regarded as a 'unnecessary cost to the Commonwealth' and we hadn't a hope of getting visas! Seems Australia has no time for children with special needs and the families who want to migrate there! We were told we could apply further of course, and get rejected and then appeal and maybe we would have a decision in 18 months time ....

    but I think its back to the drawing board here for us instead!

  12. An excellent discussion, and I wholeheartedly agree with the re-invention idea. Well said!

  13. I'm shocked Clive. You're thinking of emigrating?? All I can say is...Australia's loss and our gain!
    I do hope you don't have to leave? That said you are definitely a re invention family.... having moved to Brussels and back again! I admire you. The very best of luck to you, whatever you decide and thanks for comment.

    Thank you Tanya. So good of you to drop by and leave a comment!

    xx Jazzy

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  15. Hi Jazzy! you have an overage of O.T's and where I live there is a shortage. Though I doubt that anyone will come to rural Maine-beautiful as it is..I still wonder how I got here..
    I too am looking for some sort of new hat to wear..problem is, I never fully invented myself in the first place..still trying to figure out just what I want to do when I grow up..oh if only there were monetary compensation for motherhood...:)

  16. Thanks KATHLEEN. Maine sounds fabulous!

    We may have a lot Of OT's and SLT's but they're not all in employment. You see everyone got greedy in the good old Celtic Tiger days. They made it possible to train more Therapists and when they were trained they chose to go the Private route where the PAY WAS BETTER THAN THE PUBLIC SERVICE. (had to bold that to make the point;)) The embargo on PS jobs does not effect Disabilities..though you'd hardly notice as we still don't have services. There are additional filled posts and moves are afoot to change how services are delivered. In our area anyhow.

    Monetary compensation for motherhood duties.....*drool*
    Dream on! Would solve a few problems, wouldn't it??

    We should have a hat swapping party! xx Jazzy

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  18. So Cullen basically suggests that recent graduates go somewhere for a few years to weather the storm and then come back when they are needed. Life doesn't work like that. I was 29 when I came to Ireland (weathering the storms in Eastern Europe) - pure demographic loss for my country, one of 1 million of my generation. I married a "native" and stayed, and my children, despite my best efforts, will never have with my country the bond they have with Ireland. There is also a generation of aging parents left on their own by their emigrant children. People have been emigrating FROM Ireland for centuries, but with families of 10 there was always someone staying behind. Well, families of 10 are not so common anymore. So I find it shocking that a government minister is advising young people to emigrate to suit her government's agenda.
    As for Cullen - I looked him up, his achievement seems to be that he made a lot of money by selling cars. He didn't invent the jet engine or the heart bypass, and although I don't doubt his street cred, I value any overworked junior hospital doctor on an SNA more than him. And it seems he is a proponent of the virulent anti-intellectualism that is gushing from tv these days.
    Sorry for the rant :-)

  19. Thanks for your comment Truf. You make some very valid points. I agree, it is indeed very galling to hear Bill...AND Mary Coughlan it has to be said...advocating the emigration. Though I do think they have a lot to learn by going abroad...if only it could be for a short time. Though, like you say, if they go they will most likely make their lives and have their families abroad. And that would be Ireland's great loss. Again.

    My generation where the ones who emigrated so it was hard to see all your friends go and to see their families split up. While there may have been large families (10 would have been unusual in the '80s, more applicable in my parents' generation)if one child emigrated they were usually followed by some more, if not the rest. Very sad and I'd hate it to happen again.

    You're a very brave woman, leaving your home country and settling here and it's a very valid point you make about your children's bond with your home country. There are many 2nd generation Irish children out there in a similar situation. You're right...that's sad.

    I take your point on Bill, I do. go from selling apples to (ultimately) selling cars takes a lot of courage and brass neck. The latter, of course, he has in spades! He and other Entrepreneurs, Economists etc do have a certain amount of business acumen and expertise. And that's what we as a nation should be tapping into. The Government (and other Political Parties...think George Lee) do not seem willing to do this and that could prove to be our downfall.

    Thanks again for your valued comment!! xx Jazzy


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