Caymanians rally for jobs

A young lady returns home from a work interview and anxiously paces her kitchen deliberating the possible outcome, when she receives a call stating she was not successful.

For a moment she thinks maybe her short skirt and tattoos are to blame but instead flies in to a rant: “Those people. They don’t want to hire Caymanians anyway. Those expats……”

This scenario of blaming expatriates has become the defence mechanism accepted by many locals as an antidote for the fact that some Caymanians are unable to find work.

At this time of year it can be more pronounced as Caymanians leave school and college and try and get into the workforce.

But this type of blame culture is negative and can give young people an excuse to not look at other reasons why they might not have got that job.

The Observer spoke with Westin Casuarina Human Resources Manager Carmen Forbes, who told us that this myth can and must be dispelled, “as we have to make a choice to define ourselves and not leave anything to chance.”

Mrs Forbes said that when going to an interview or even to pick up or drop-off and application form, it is important to be mindful that someone is always watching. “You have to take pride in the way you carry yourself and always exude an aura that says you have come to work,” she explained.

Forbes adds that being a Caymanian is no longer a guarantee and that once on the job, a worker should not follow other employees but instead take their advice and mindset from goals set out by the management.

The hard facts

Other people in Cayman are also coming to terms with the fact  that  the effects of unemployment and a social hierarchical system  may have  marginalised the average local.

But can Caymanians truly say the system has failed them or is this myth the by-product of rationalising one’s own predicament and refusing to be honest?

In fact nothing has changed about the Caymanian people and today the same fore parents whose labour was once sought and revered are in many cases still among us.

They are not that far removed from the present generation who feel disenfranchised and left out.  However the progression of life during the last three generations in Cayman may offer an interesting look into how Caymanians may have become misunderstood over time or more importantly, how they have misunderstood themselves.

In many of the world’s great sports games you can find metaphors for life and most organised team sports advise that each player ought to know his role and how his part is important to the whole.

This is also an essential law of success that governs all of mankind and every great nation. People have to know their roles.

In Cayman it seems much of the populous have been made to believe that everyone should be working in a certain environment and there is no room for variety; say many from the Island’s senior generation. The expectation is that you go to school, get a diploma/degree and work in a bank or a place with air conditioning and anyone who aspires to be a fisherman, farmer or anything that is remotely associated with yesteryear has basically missed the bus.

This non-existent bus however, has taken us no where and when those who forgo farming, mechanics, barbering, music and other important skills begin to look for alternatives or do absolutely nothing at all as a form of subconscious self masochism and/or rebellion, the results can be less than ideal.

Perhaps part of the problem is that we are inundated with images from around the world that play on people’s emotions. Could we have been duped into dismissing Caymanians’ uniqueness?

Older people say that young persons have been lured by the “fast buck,” expecting to make money quickly without putting in the graft and old Caymanian jobs and skills have somehow been devalued.

Taking that scenario to its criminal extreme, it can be said that the man who is selling drugs might have sold fish. However, with subliminal social dogmas that subtly stipulate, “stay clean, smell good” and not “smell like fish and feed your family,” does selling drugs then became the more attractive proposition?

Alternatively you could argue that young Caymanian women’s aspirations have also changed and they no longer want to marry a fisherman.. That in-turn stops many young men from choosing fishing as a profession, according to those in the industry.

The underlying theme seems to be that the problems facing young Caymanians may be more profound than just finding a job and could possibly also involve self recognition and acceptance.

Despite these social complexities, it is still important to educate people about what employers are looking for and how rewarding certain forms of labour can be.

Carmen gave some insight into what employers might be looking for: “Folks should remember that an employer is not there simply to meet their standards but rather quite the contrary, and the onus is on that employee to meet management’s expectations.”

There is also the consideration of working hours that are required by some establishments and Forbes said a lot of people shun certain types of work because the hours conflict with their personal lives. She added that this is an area where enterprising young people can take advantage of the shortfall of persons who are not willing.

“Being willing to work, as well as honesty are the best ingredients,” said Carmen, who added that she would expect to see the same person she interviewed and not another version of themselves once employment had commenced.

Also, many youngsters are not aware that they are able to broaden their horizons exponentially and can even join the Royal Navy to live a life of intrigue and adventure at sea while earning a good wage.

The hospitality industry is another avenue that youths can explore, as this area offers great perks in addition to quite fluid upward mobility, if one is willing to apply themselves.

The long and short of the matter seems to be that the Islands’ future is really in the hands of Caymanians whether they believe it or not, and in order to play a role in the future of the Islands, it is imperative that every man, woman and child speak the best they can, work as hard as they can, dress as well as they can and be honest with themselves.
you could argue that young Caymanian women’s aspirations have also changed and they no longer want to marry a fisherman.. That in-turn stops many young men from choosing fishing as a profession, according to those in the industry.The underlying theme seems to be that the problems facing young Caymanians may be more profound than just finding a job and could possibly also involve self recognition and acceptance.Despite these social complexities, it is still important to educate people about what employers are looking for and how rewarding certain forms of labour can be.Carmen gave some insight into what employers might be looking for: “Folks should remember that an employer is not there simply to meet their standards but rather quite the contrary, and the onus is on that employee to meet management’s expectations.”There is also the consideration of working hours that are required by some establishments and Forbes said a lot of people shun certain types of work because the hours conflict with their personal lives. She added that this is an area where enterprising young people can take advantage of the shortfall of persons who are not willing.“Being willing to work, as well as honesty are the best ingredients,” said Carmen, who added that she would expect to see the same person she interviewed and not another version of themselves once employment had commenced.Also, many youngsters are not aware that they are able to broaden their horizons exponentially and can even join the Royal Navy to live a life of intrigue and adventure at sea while earning a good wage.The hospitality industry is another avenue that youths can explore, as this area offers great perks in addition to quite fluid upward mobility, if one is willing to apply themselves.The long and short of the matter seems to be that the Islands’ future is really in the hands of Caymanians whether they believe it or not, and in order to play a role in the future of the Islands, it is imperative that every man, woman and child speak the best they can, work as hard as they can, dress as well as they can and be honest with themselves.

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