The Red Profile Photo Trend Taking Over Facebook is Arrogant
It’s misplaced and here’s why
It’s misplaced and here’s why
Many of you have seen the newest display of solidarity going around Facebook. Turning your profile photo red, or posting a blank red photo to drive awareness of the lost work facing the event, music and film industries.
It’s often accompanied by the below statement…
It’s the symptom of a wider problem facing society… Victimhood. People are signalling their displeasure on social media for likes and attention, without the perspective of the bigger picture.
Everyone who’s out of work due to this pandemic-inflicted economic downturn is here through “no fault of there own” — not just the event industry.
Tens, if not hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide have been lost or suffered significant losses due to the Coronavirus pandemic, across multiple industries.
The Financial Times reported in August that 750,000 jobs were lost in the UK alone, due to COVID-19. The global figures will be significantly higher.
Why this message is misplaced
Firstly, a status or red photo will do nothing to loosen government restrictions on these industries. It does even less to subside the fear the population is feeling over going out to mass-attended events and getting sick — or worse, getting their loved ones sick.
The one line that stood out for its pure arrogance in this statement was this…“It’s an insult to say ‘just get another job’ as that doesn’t really work here.”
I think you’ll find that it does. If I lost my livelihood for any reason, I’d scrub toilets, wait tables and collect refuse to support my family. Those examples being stereotypically disliked professions. However…
There’s never any shame in hard work.
Just because you’ve had a taste of first-class, doesn’t mean you won’t ever fly coach again. As you’re climbing your career ladder, there will moments of progression and unfortunately, moments that set you back massively. It’s natural.
To avoid the advice to financially support yourself by any means, because it’s not your “dream job” is a new level of arrogance. Every hard-working, tax-paying individual who supports themselves or their family has put in “time, money, more time, more money and constant grinding”. That’s life for everyone.
I have tremendous empathy for anyone suffering during these times. It can’t be easy, but you also can’t rely on hand-outs or the hope of preferential treatment forever. At some point, you’ve got to compromise, take control and work yourself out of this mess.
The self-employed have been offered:
The ability to defer their income tax payments with no penalties.
Secured ‘business bounce-back’ loans through national banks.
If you’re in these industries and not self-employed, the government has been paying 80% of people’s wages via the furlough scheme.
There’s little more the government can do without crippling itself or like the US did, disincentivising low-income jobs.
What do I mean by this? With the CARES act stimulus, there were people on US unemployment bringing home more than me (with a full-time job), per month. This disincentivised workers to ‘want’ to return to work if they made more at home, doing nothing, than they made at their full-time job. Not working also meant less risk of contracting COVID-19.
What lessons can be learned from this?
There are two major lessons to learn from this unexpected economic downturn:
To always have 12 months of savings in your account, or in cash.
To be constantly learning new skills.
Many people don’t have savings. 11.5million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings. That’s scary — and a statistic I used to be contributing to.
Years ago I was £16,000 in debt, owing self-employed tax money, credit card debts and car finance payments. I worked myself free of that and realised in 2008, the importance of having a ‘rainy day’ fund.
As it stands, I have over a year’s worth of income in that fund (excluding my investments), so I can afford to live as I do now, with no cutbacks and zero income for 12 whole months, before I desperately need work.
The pandemic hit and those savings provided a safety net. I wasn’t worried for myself, I was worried for others, my family and the health of my friends.
But if I didn’t have that money, what would I do?
The answer is simple, I’d get any job for now. Anything to bring in money and ensure my bills are paid until I can return back to my preferred career choice.
If I couldn’t get a job, I’d learn new skills online, or read books, or offer free work experience to gain new skills — thus making me more attractive to potential employers.
The people posting these red photos are frustrated because they can earn money, but it’ll ultimately be doing something they don’t love in this current market. It won’t be living their dream — and I’d go as far as to say that nobody is right now. We’re all in this together and it could mean compromises from everyone, as we fight an invisible virus that threatens our livelihood as much as our health.
We all have to do things we don’t like right now. Staying in, restrictions on capacity, avoiding elderly or immuno-compromised family members, wearing masks at the gym etc. Unfortunately, for those without savings in affected industries, that could mean doing work you don’t want to do.