My hun Janet Street Porter speaking on Question Time on the 26th March spoke about her support for positive discrimination in the workplace that’s to say employing a person because they suit your needs, and one of those needs might be that you need to employ a woman for example, I totally agree and that’s not at all because I am a woman – last time I checked eh *LOL*.
The argument in opposition from the audience was almost as predictable as bringing up Mo Farrah in debates surrounding immigration – “whatever happened to getting the job based on merit?”. What I don’t think I’ve seen yet in this argument and what I’m gonna argue now is: why don’t you look at the process of employment itself. There’s never any way you can guarantee you’re employing the best person for the job until they begin to work there, and even then you can be in a position for decades and out yourself as a twat when you punch someone for not making your tea on time.
The proof is in the pudding as the old adage goes – like you can’t assume someone’s going to be a good boyfriend just because they tick all your boxes and wear nice shoes, you can’t say that anything’s been an all round success, you can only ever assertively say the opposite when you’ve got evidence to prove so.
Speaking as a well accomplished charmer both as girlfriend and employee I know the job interview process fairly well, my success in gaining positions (and boyfriends) I am not really suited to is comparable to Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can – if he wanted to get a job at HSBC.
Yes in theory you can look at anyone’s glittering CV and well planned outfit; a firm handshake, frequent borderline flirtatious eye contact – and decide you have definitely chosen the right person for the job – but it’s always going to be a bit of a gamble. The thing is though we’re all probably capable of a job if we put our minds to it, no one is pre destined to be a member or parliament, putting more women in shouldn’t be viewed as taking away the birth rite of a man.
So my point is that if there’s only a Duke of Edinburgh award between two candidates and one candidate happens to be a woman, of an ethnic minority or disabled – take a look at your organisation and consider the benefits of having that diversity on your team, things that can’t be put across in a CV. I do believe that having women in the workplace in particular enforces a whole new positive vibe in a lot of cases, packs of men in cahoots have been responsible for a lot of wrong doing let’s be honest, why not shake it up a bit?
I was pushed to write this post because I know I’ve been deemed the right woman for the job when I really wasn’t, that’s a personal thing about needing a bit more life experience before I join the rat race.
On paper I am degree educated and should probably be taking up a place at some scheme in a big city. But I’ve learnt that I’m just not ready for that kind of forced responsibility and at the time I didn’t want to fully commit to a job in a field I didn’t really understand even if it meant I was making money and looking succesful to my friends on the internet.
This all sort of links in to another point Janet made about school leavers in Britain maybe not actually being ready for employment even in lower paid jobs and perhaps that’s why a lot of the jobs are being taken up by migrant workers, not as some people would assume because they are happy to work for less. Janet suggested this might stem from a failing in our education system which isn’t a great thought that a generation of adults leave school without the skills to take a drinks order.
Having worked in hospitality, the trade she cited in particular, for years now – I can say I’ve witnessed this first hand – but I don’t think it’s for exactly the same reasons. My Polish friends have always been super human in their work ethic, never expecting a hand out or a day off, always going the extra mile to make things run smoothly. A lot of the school leavers I’ve worked with are permanently miffed and lose pride in their work and respect for their employers. It’s not to say that’s true of everyone in the country but I wonder why I’ve often had this experience.
I think that the problem is not that we aren’t prepared for even ‘menial’ jobs I think it’s because we’re overly hyped up for a life of grand success.
Having an interest in 1950’s literature I wrote my dissertation on the representation of working class people in plays like Look Back in Anger and novels such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. In the latter the protaganist Arthur Seaton isn’t exactly proud of his job as factory worker, but pride doesn’t really appear a lot in his vocabulary, he just knows he better work hard at it and earn his wage so he can spend it all on a Saturday night “I’m out for a good time, all the rest is propaganda”.
It’s my view that people worked as factory workers and shop keepers and secretaries in the mid century and there was no real shame about it, they provided for their families and enjoyed life’s small pleasures – then if you were good enough at your job you’d move up or transfer your skills elsewhere.
Now it seems if you’re not a professional by the time you’re in your mid twenties you’re a disappointment – and to confound it your families have paid thousands of pounds for you to go to university to end up disappointing them. Don’t get me wrong I would love to be working for the BBC right now in a perfect world but I’m going to get there in my own time, I’m going to live a little – then I’m going to write a TV show about it.
Anyway at one point in the Question Time debate an intelligent seeming woman in the audience spoke out about her zero hour contract and was clearly embarrassed and ashamed to admit that job was working in a cinema.
On zero hour contracts I have to say it is very inconvenient for me – to the point where I can’t plan holidays or make expensive purchases, but I’m like Arthur Seaton, it’s all about Saturday night anyway.
Previously the panel had discussed a happiness survey proving that most people are happy with their lot – well yes I am happy but it’s not a lot to do with my job or my wage – the people the state needs to be bearing in mind are the provably vulnerable, zero hour contracts need to be canned not because I can’t go on holiday, but because you can’t let a young mother be put in a position where she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to pay her rent next month.
So these young British people who shun menial jobs seem to be doing it because they have no respect for the virtues of hard work, actual work, they all want to work in marketing for Betfair like their mates. You can blame the benefit system for this but I think it has more to do with consumerism. Maybe all we need to do is show young people they don’t necessarily need a high status job right away, maybe we just need to show everyone a good time on a Saturday night.