Cathy Bi, Caritas
From balancing the costs of study and living to finding a job that is fulfilling, young people from around the archdiocese came together in Archbishop John Dew’s lounge during Social Justice Week, to share their stories and thoughts on work.
Resident students from Kohanga – Wellington’s Catholic Tertiary Chaplaincy – reflected on the challenge of having to juggle many small jobs to make ends meet. It’s hard trying to balance the cost of study and living.
Others reflected on the difficulties of finding a job that is fulfilling and the depressing nature of working in a job that does not give you dignity.
Many reflected the desire to find work that is giving back to the community and is meaningful in helping make the world a better place.
The shared morning tea was well attended as 14 young people sat around the archbishop’s lounge at Viard House, chatting over cups of tea and coffee.
From the leaders of the St Patrick’s College Young Vinnies to the Communications Advisor for the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, each young person shared their story of work and how they came to be where they are now.
A St Patrick’s College student talked about how lucky he was to always have work at his family’s business when he needed it, whereas many others had to work incredibly hard to find a job. Knowing the right people can make all the difference in today’s market, For those with networks, it is a privilege.
Angela specialised in sign language and was lucky to find a short-term job placement before she completed her diploma. She then worked as a freelancer for several years.
While she loved the flexibility of freelancing, some weeks she would have only three hours work and other weeks up to 25 hours. She currently works full-time as an educational interpreter and appreciates the consistency of hours.
Many of the young people had faced demoralising rejections when applying for work. Isabella, a competent youth worker and excellent student, was told that she was of ‘low calibre’ after applying for work in a call centre and didn’t hear back from an application to a supermarket. It was months before she attained her current role as youth coordinator in the Wellington Archdiocese.
Archbishop John shared the story of his own journey. Following the advice of his father, he sought to enter banking after high school. With no curriculum vitae or interview needed, he found himself a job as a banker.
‘Mind you, this was in 1965,’ he said. Realising that he did not want to crunch numbers for the rest of his life, he followed a sense of calling from God to enter the seminary at age 21. He said that while being the archbishop isn’t always easy or exciting, it was events like this that made his job meaningful.