Mandatory work experience for politicians
Mesh Community Chairperson calls for 7 years of professional work experience for politicians
Tine Thygesen, CO-Founder and Chairperson, Mesh Community
Confidence in politicians is at an all-time low. The public does not feel represented by our country’s leaders and feel that they make decisions that show they don’t understand what it’s like to live an ordinary life outside of politics. I think this is a democratic crisis and politicians need to do something about it.
As a leader, you are responsible for gaining the support of the people behind you. You have to show that you are worthy of their trust and you have to take the lead to show that you have their best interests in mind. As a politician, it is impossible to make everyone happy, but a responsible politician must be responsive to public sentiment.
As an entrepreneur, I have fought for the right framework and conditions for the business community for many years so that we can compete internationally and can create the growth society needed to maintain the welfare society. That’s why I am shouting out now, before the upcoming general election, and at a time when our politicians are motivated to improve the system.
I suggest that politicians should look within and look at what they can do to build confidence. More measures will be needed. The first action I propose is mandatory work experience as a requirement. It should not be possible to become a member of parliament without 7 years of professional work experience.
The essence of my proposal is about life experience. We need wise and talented people to lead our country, in fact, we need the very best. It is a huge responsibility to lead a country and one should be humble about it and only seek to participate in if you have the right skills. Professional experience is not equal to life experience, but since we cannot measure wisdom, we must resort to a metric that can be measured, and this is where work experience comes in.
When you are in a workplace, you have responsibility, you work with others, you experience leadership and may even manage other people. You deal with everyday negotiations, experience work pressure, and are affected by budgets. You will certainly feel the consequences of strategic decisions. You experience how things go wrong when making wrong decisions and how the working environment deteriorates when conditions worsen due to budget cuts or downsizing. These experiences are crucial for being able to make the right decisions about how our society functions, which are what our members of parliaments are elected to do.
As a worker, you pay taxes, navigate the jumble of complicated rules that dictates society, such as annual statements, tax deductions, exceptions, holiday pay, etc. And most importantly you pay about half of your salary to the tax authorities with the hope that it is managed wisely.
This is why I believe professional working experience is important, and I think 7 years of full-time work experience is the right number because it means you have typically tried a few different jobs, positions or departments that will all have expanded your horizons and understanding for other people.
I am shouting out because I want the best for our democracy. We must avoid Trump-like state of affairs where people vote in powerlessness and protest. We must regain confidence in our leaders. This can happen when the public feels represented by people who understand their daily lives. Politicians must show leadership and take initiative to build the people’s trust in them. Abiding by stricter requirements for themselves would be a suitable place to start. Such as 7 years of work experience.