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Community Comment: Post pandemic work life balance will be our new priority

Work life balance, a living wage, these are the new parameters around how we spend our time
Working from home

I babysat a lot when I was a teenager. I was never “qualified”, but I could follow instructions and felt relaxed around children.

My worst experience was when a toddler under my care stopped breathing and I had to get a neighbours’ help to get me through it. His Mother told me later, “He did that sometimes when he didn’t get his way.”

Recently members of one of our local community Facebook pages had a heated discussion after a parent wanted some advice on how much their pre-teen child should charge for babysitting a nine-year-old girl.

To my surprise there were hundreds of responses and most of them were very emotional. The suggestions ranged from babysitting for free, to charging minimum wage. It was interesting to see the vast divisions between what fair pay was and what wasn’t. 

As of June 1, B.C.’s minimum wage is $15.20. That’s a lot of money to babysit someone who is three-years younger. Critics were adamant that anything less than double digits meant you did not value your children’s care. 

Many comments reminisced about the little they got paid for babysitting, “in their day”, yet all agreed it was a valuable life experience that taught them responsibility and how to manage money.

It begs the question, what is our time worth?

As I get older my time is increasingly more valuable, it’s my most precious commodity as the days go by faster and faster. The pandemic has certainly adjusted our relationship with time in complex ways.

When the freedom to do the things you want to do is restrained, it forces you to prioritize what’s important. That has never been more pervasive in the evolving job market. Millennials and Generation Z are not willing to work until they drop, they are extremely entrepreneurial and value experience over stuff. 

Now we wait in line for a meal, a retail clerk, a car repair or a new appliance. Every sector of society is looking for employees. Generous COVID benefits followed by extended unemployment insurance means no one is job dependent.

If you’re looking for work in Ladner or Tsawwassen, take your pick from hundreds of jobs. Employers are desperate for retail clerks, cleaners, delivery drivers, baristas, cooks, Amazon employees. You name the profession…we are a society vastly understaffed.  

Work life balance, a living wage, these are the new parameters around how we spend our time.

Life is short and speeding by, so choose wisely.

Ingrid Abbott is a freelance writer who is optimistic about Generation Alpha because she will be relying on them for all of her future comforts.