Labor Shortage Dutch Style

On line at the grocery store, I read the big sign in the window: Seeking new colleagues to join our team.  Around the block at the café there’s a small paper in the window that reads: seeking wait staff.  The restaurant next door is full to the brim with customers everyday and employs only 2 servers and 1 cook, the entire staff looks overwhelmed.

No matter where I look in the service industry, the Netherlands seems to be lacking workers. Yet at the same time, I can think of many university students who would never take such jobs.  I’m also reminded of my fellow university graduates who are seeking work in the field of their studies and would not take up work in a restaurant or a grocery store.

All this to make the un-scientific observation that there could be some type of labor shortage in this part of Europe. And it is getting worse.

Meanwhile I read about the situation of detained refugees in Belgium, who are currently on hunger strike.  Belgium’s politics and economic reality is certainly not identical to the Netherlands, but I still think it says something about where this entire region is within the discussion of the right to work and immigration policy. For the neverending obsession with keeping people out, I’m wondering who they’re going to turn to when no one in the country will take essential jobs.

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I Must Swing

Some fairly big news in my life, and what better night to announce it than a sunday when you’re all off doing more important things. I’m fairly certain that as of early October, I will no longer be employed by the university. That is… at my current job, my contract is up and won’t be extended in any way. I’ve got many other jobs, mind you, but they are all freelance. Which means more free time to work on my real passion, citizen journalism. The money part I will figure out, with help from my fantasic network around the world.
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I was thinking about how life will change, while boat riding around town with Brooke the other day. Yup, the Brooke is back as a resident of Amsterdam… amazing how life works in circles, sometimes in a good way. And as we boated around, we came upon these children hanging from a rope off a very tall bridge:
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Watching this somehow put things into perspective for me. As the children swang back and forth, hanging on as long as possible, before letting go of the rope and jumping in the canal. Then came the next group, again swinging back and forth.. almost as if they didn’t want to make the jump too soon; a familiar feeling.
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One thing I decided right then and there: especially considering that I’ll have more freetime this year, I’m climbing up that bridge and swinging on that rope. Because it looked dam fun to jump in.

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