Sharing the pain of  “adulting”

Sharing the pain of “adulting”

I remember my mother sending me a text message late last year in December nonchalantly saying: “By the way you’re on your own for medical aid beginning next year…”

She was speaking of 2017.

The amount of sad and crying face emojis I sent her immediately tossed her into a laughing frenzy. This was her way of telling me, “Welcome to the world of adults.”

Shock! Horror! “Adulting” soon became a reality. One that still has me #shook.

I felt like I was being kicked while I was down and out. Ok, maybe not down and out. But in my eyes, having just moved back home as a graduate, after years of being away at varsity and being broke counted towards my struggle argument.

Do you remember your first day in first grade, high school and the dreaded first day of university? Well, none of these phases could have prepared you for the “adulting” world that social media has turned into a trend.

If you haven’t noticed, Twitter and Instagram have become abuzz with the #Adulting craze lately. These are mostly young adults who have taken to these platforms to share their daily struggles and victories of being an adult. Most, who are not of our generation, think of “adulting” as a vain manner in which we self-congratulate.

Writer Danielle Tullo in Cosmopolitan insists that the word “adulting” implies that being an adult is not a necessary part of growing up but rather a life choice you’re hesitant to fully buy into.

I beg to differ. The thing is,we are already in this “adulting” thing whether we like it or not. We are fully aware of it but we choose to share these “adulting” moments with friends, acquaintances and loved ones because of a simple need to feel like we are not alone in the struggle. Yeah sure, we get a couple of giggles and likes along the way. But it is the mere fact of knowing that I am not the only twenty-something-year-old stressed about bills, savings and responsibilities with my barely-enough-to-go-around salary – we’re in this together.

“Adulting” is having to deal with the fact that for the first time in your life you are expected to have it all together: career, finances and relationships, amongst other things. It is finding yourself sitting behind your work desk even when it is raining cats and dogs outside and you would honestly rather be at home in your pyjamas watching series. But you understand being here pays your salary and that will ultimately afford you that first car you’ve been dreaming of.

Now that I have my newfound freedom – including no curfews – you’d think I’d have more time to hangout and party with friends but hardly any of that is coming my way. See, with “adulting”, spontaneity is almost always a myth because now you resort to planning engagements with friends since everyone is always busy. Delayed gratification becomes the norm.

The reality of taking on adult responsibilities is no easy task. There are days when I’m able to get through the ups and downs. There are other mornings when the dread and constant feeling of being thrown into the deep end can be overwhelming, making me want to crawl into bed next to my mother and have her comfort me through it all.

The reality of “adulting” is having to make things work even when you don’t have it all figured out.

So, excuse me and the other young adults who want to self-celebrate and give ourselves a pat on the back every now and then for even the smallest achievements of this “adulting” life.

Wits rolls out learnership for staff

Wits rolls out learnership for staff

Wits will be rolling out a basic education and training programme for staff members who have not reached the matric qualification level.

The programme is a National Certificate in Business Administration for National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2 (Grade 10) and Level 3 (Grade 11).

The roll-out will be funded by the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP Seta) as the focus of the Discretionary Grant Funding allocation for 2016 and 2017.

Head of the Human Resources Development Unit (HRDU), Chantelle Murray, said the programme has space for approximately 73 individuals and, to date, they have received 55 applications.

”We have a lot of initiatives at other levels but the lower levels often get forgotten.”

When HRDU started talking with the university’s staff about the bursary scheme they realised that they had assumed that everyone had a matric qualification but that was not the case. Even more so, with the incoming insourced staff.

“We realised a lot of the workers being insourced barely have a NQF level 2 and 3 qualification, never mind a NQF level 4 or matric qualification. They can’t access all the cool benefits, such as bursaries, unless they have an NQF level 4 qualification,” said Murray.

The difference between this training programme and what was previously known as the Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programme is that the ABET classes were to a large extent based on the school type of grounding that one needs. That includes literacy, numeracy and computer literacy. The criticism about this model is that it did not prepare the adults for the world of work.

“You do need to have numeracy in place in order to do calculations and look after your own budget at home, but if it’s not housed in a context, then it’s just numbers and words,” said Murray.
With the National Certificate in Business Administration offered at Wits, the idea is to teach numeracy, literacy and computer literacy within a context, such as putting together an agenda for a meeting and event management. These are things that they would come across while working at Wits.

Staff will be expected to complete a portfolio of work in order to receive a certificate of competence, said HRDU consultant, Megan Thulukanam.

Murray said Siyanqoba, which is part of the EOH Group would be the service provider for the programme’s first roll out, as it was nationally accredited and had corporate experience.

“It’s important to have a provider that understands the kinds of challenges the staff experience every day in terms of going home to environments where they can’t always do homework maybe because they don’t have electricity and so on.”

Part of the HRDU approach is communicating with the managers of the individuals on the final list so that they are on board and understand how best to support their staff and mentor them.

Insourcing high turns sour

Insourcing high turns sour

The insourcing of about 1530 workers has meant improved salaries and benefits for the new Wits employees but two women say they have been left high and dry, and are yet to enjoy these benefits.

The insourcing celebrations remain on hold for Memory Mabizela, 47, and Elizabeth Labase, 49, who work as hygiene operators for Wits contractor, Ukweza, and who have been excluded from the insourcing process. The two women have worked at Wits for the last 17 years.


Taking a stand: Ukweza staff, Elizabeth Labase and Memory Mabizela are sad that they are not part of Wits’ insourcing plan.                                                                                                           Photo: Olwethu Boso

Last year the Wits human resources (HR) office held a meeting with all Ukweza staff to notify them that they would all be insourced. At the beginning of this year when a number of former outsourced workers went to sign their contracts with the university, the two women say they were not given contracts.

Mabizela and Labase approached their Ukweza boss, Corné van Rooyen, about the matter.

Speaking in seSotho, they told Wits Vuvuzela they had asked what was going to happen to them. They were told the university did not have the necessary hygiene certificate registered in order to bring them on board.

Mabizela said that this was strange because the university was able to use Ukweza services even though Ukweza apparently does not have a registered hygiene certificate themselves, but, has been rendering the service to Wits nonetheless.

Van Rooyen told Wits Vuvuzela that he did not wish to comment about the matter and instead referred us to the university’s HR department.

The two women then approached Wits HR director Dr Kgomotso Kasankola. They say Kasankola told them that HR was under the impression that they used machinery and chemicals to do their work and therefore they could not be insourced because their company could not provide the appropriate machines and chemicals to Wits.

According to Labase, the university has insourced the cleaning staff from Ukweza who work with chemicals to clean toilets and office spaces on a daily basis, yet as hygiene operators, they only use deo-block (air fresheners) and plastics to collect sanitary garbage.

The women say they returned to Van Rooyen to clarify the issues raised in their meeting with Wits HR. He apparently told them they were not going to be insourced but he would see if their pay could stay the same while they worked for Ukweza until he leaves and finishes his term next year.

“We are clearly not important at Wits. The work we do doesn’t seem to be important to them,” said Labase.

Wits spokesperson Buhle Zuma said, “Based on the specialised function of the work rendered, an independent legal opinion has been sought on this matter. A decision will be made once the legal opinion is received.”