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Norel the shop assistant

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David Bereson author of Dig Deep — Tales from the depths has begun a new series of stories to be published first on InsideLives before being later formed into an edited collection and published by Franklin Street Press.

Norel was a lovely young lady but she was not adept at school — felt it had little to offer her and lead her nowhere. She was eager to enter the world and create her own space and so Norel, with permission from her parents, left school with the aim of joining the workforce. Without much effort, she got herself a job as a sales assistant in the local mall. Being a teenager she thought the mall was the place to be, the centre of action and what life was about and — bingo! definitely the place for her. With her enthusiasm she began to learn more about life and how it operated. As a child of her generation, she was aware and informed about environmental issues. Now that she was in the grind,  these things came to slap her in the face. Slapped and stung, she comprehended that she had become part of the system that was destroying our world and how disappointing and upsetting was that. In leaving school and becoming an honest worker she had become a criminal. What could she do now to upset the apple cart? Could she become part of the solution not the problem? These questions stressed her out. She struggled and fought with them . Then the bolt struck her — lead a small revolution,  try to interfere with the way things worked. Suddenly Norel became a carbon warrior, a fighter, a foot soldier in a great war. Yes, now she was able to rest easy. Still she pondered, how do I carry out the fight? Yes,  do the simple things. Everything she sold came in lots of packaging. She spoke to her boss and then started collecting all the discarded rubbish and put it in recycling. But she did not feel that was enough. She was bemused by over use of heating and cooling in the shop — how much carbon did this waste? So she joined an action group who wanted to get solar panels to provide for the malls needs. Easy so far. Yet, even though she felt she was doing good she felt trapped. She would sell clothes to young girls. It was cheap; what is called fast clothing.  A  few weeks later the same girls came back for more. They could not have worn out what they had bought. But the reality was they had worn it once out and didn’t want to be seen again in public dressed the same way.  Back they came for more. Oh dear, she thought, what can I do?  My job is to sell clothes. That pays my wages.  If I intervene and try to introduce more sensible behaviour, I am cutting my own throat, I will be unemployed. Without any skills, she realised,  she was trapped within the internal logic of the system. After deep and great concern she concluded she needed to do something about it. School was not the right avenue. TAFE was the solution. There she went , spoke to people, sought help and in time found a way to skill herself and be employable. Happily I report that things worked out for Norrell. She maintained her dignity and values.  This is what we desire. We have to seek to find solutions to the larger problems around us.