Over-educated; under-valued

The other day – 6th January – was The Epiphany and on that day, quite by co-incidence, I had an Epiphany. I made the realisation that when I deduct the cost of childcare from my take-home pay I’m left with €900 per month or €225/week. Apparently – according to my twitter-friends who know more about these things – if I stopped working I would get a PRSI payment of €200/week for the first 12 months. I don’t know if that figure is then taxed – researching un-employment benefit has never previously been on my agenda; but if it’s not it means that the difference between me sitting at my desk and sitting at home is €5/day.

This is a very sobering and demoralising thought. Why go out to work? Why not stay-at-home and care for my kids? That is the message my society seems to be sending me. So what if I’d like to use what I trained for five years at University to do; what I did my Professional Practice exams in; what I’ve gained 15 years experience in? So what if I am intelligent, diligent, conscientious, hard-working? So what if my three kids will contribute to this generation’s pension fund in the future? By having three kids I appear to have out-stayed my welcome in the workforce.

I realise this country’s economy is up the Suwannee and we’re in hock to the IMF, the ECB and anyone else we can wrangle a few shillings out of. Regardless, surely there is a case for tax-relief for childcare at source. Surely it is in this State’s interest to offer me more than €5/day to go out to work, pay taxes, pay PRSI and this new Universal Social Fund Levy, not to mention employ two local childcare businesses; than if I were to stay at home, take my kids out of childcare and claim benefit.

So if you’re reading this, and you’re of a political bent, advocate for tax-relief for childcare when the politicians come knocking on your door. Or we might as well bring back the marriage bar.


8 Responses to “Over-educated; under-valued”

  1. irishknitting Says:

    A sobering thought, for sure. I hope things improve for you soon.

    • undermeoxter Says:

      This year will be a year of change for me – it’s inevitable.
      If I didn’t start to hate my job so much recently I would never have looked at the value of my work economically.
      So – typical silver-lining attitude from me: the fact that my job is so awful of late has made me take stock and will be a catalyst for change… for the good!

  2. Bridget Says:

    If you want to really know what overeducated and undervalued is, become a librarian. They don’t even make it worth your time to be single. Unless you happen to enjoy living beneath an overpass.

    • undermeoxter Says:

      Great to ear from you!
      Sounds like all US Librarians need to move here!
      As a public servant, I’m on a similar rate of pay to Librarians here.
      It’s not a good thing if a society doesn’t value those who contribute to it’s own knowledge and learning.

  3. Greg Says:

    Situation is the same in the UK, particularly London. Cost of day-care cancelled out one of our salaries, and I earned a bit more than my wife so it only made sense for me to be the one who kept working, but it’s absolutely insane that a significant chunk of a skilled workforce is effectively forced home, because when a couple have a child they cannot both afford to continue to work (whether it’s the man or the woman).

    We chatted briefly on Twitter about this, but my wife and I subsequently moved to France, where kindergarten is heavily subsidised, so parents of all economic backgrounds can easily send their kids to creche and carry on working. This has another effect as well – it means kids from low-income backgrounds aren’t stuck at home and have the same opportunity as kids of more affluent parents to go and mingle with other little ones their age, learn things they wouldn’t learn stuck at home, socialise, get a square meal at lunchtime, etc.

    I don’t know how much such subsidies cost, but I also wonder if anyone has done a real study of the cost to the economy of forcing new mums (and sometimes dads) to stay at home and not earn (so not pay income tax, not spend money in shops, etc.) – the comparison between the cost of French childcare subsidies vs. the real economic cost of making experienced, intelligent members of the work force stay home for 5 years would make interesting reading, I reckon.

    • undermeoxter Says:

      Thank you so much for this input. It seems to me that this is yet another example of something France is getting right. They really value “quality of life” and while it’s and expensive economic model in these times the Added Value is ten-fold, it seems to me.

  4. Crafty Blog update 9th-15th January 2011 « Irish Knitting & Crochet Says:

    […] Undermeoxter talks about being overeducated and undervalued; plans on seven for 2011 and reviews 2010 resolutions; makes more concrete plans for 2011 and gets a sushi roll shawl project […]

  5. Why I Am Knitting a Uterus « Under Me Oxter – coz that's how I knit Says:

    […] I will admit that I did not know that until I looked at my Twitter stream this morning. My lack of awareness about it, and the apathy of a handful of women in my Twitter stream towards it, could be considered as a triumph for International Women’s Day. I, and the three or four other women, live in Ireland – a society that legislates against discrimination based on gender. We can vote, we can go to University, we can stay in a public-sector job after we get married! Clearly, in the 101 years since the first International Women’s Day was called for, Ireland has made huge progress for Women’s Rights. But, as the well-worn phrase goes: “a lot done, more to do” (one area of which I have discussed previously: “Over-educated; under-valued“). […]

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