Letters

Hamilton's column an insult

Editor:

I am thoroughly appalled at the utter lack of compassion displayed in your editorial of Jan. 15, where you openly insult the unemployed and you patronize those who are less than ideally prepared for their job interviews.

Like a modern-day Mr. Bounderby, your mock despair at the shortcomings of the local work force is insulting and demeaning and does nothing but reinforce the attitude so prevalent in this day and age that poverty is a personal choice, not the result of a skewed socio-economic system.

The one item that particularly rankled me was your self-righteous indignation at people's cheek to ask about their wages during the job interview. You seem to forget that employment is a financial transaction, a negotiated exchange of labour for money.

I am certain that local employers don't get all coy about how much things cost when negotiating with their suppliers; why should a job applicant be embarrassed about asking about their wages?

Did you, Mr. Hamilton, ask how much you were going to be paid for inflicting your typo-ridden, yesterday's-news newspaper on this long-suffering readership before taking the job? I am sure you did. So why shouldn't a potential cashier at the supermarket be just as savvy? While asking right off the bat is not the 'done thing', let's be candid about it: They are not trying to get that retail job for the good of their soul. The labourer is worthy of his wages and should be respected for implying so.

Your entire article reeks of white, middle-class privilege.

Yes, it would be nice if everybody's mommies and daddies had taught them to dress nicely and show up on time; it would be ideal if everybody came out of high school being able to write a proper resume (or a newspaper article, for that matter) that is grammatically correct and free of spelling mistakes, rogue apostrophes and awkward syntax.

Unfortunately, many were not as lucky as you or me to be randomly born into a family that would model and encourage desirable social skills, nor do they possess the innate ability and moral strength to develop those qualities all by themselves. Some people, Mr. Hamilton, were born with the deck stacked against them. They do not deserve our condemnation for their shortcomings any more than you or I deserve congratulations for our advantages.

There, but for the grace of the universe, go we.

Mariana Hülsen

Prince Rupert

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