Mr. Useful

Mr. Useful

Why is it that those who shout the most about the virtue of hard work always seem to be those who don’t seem to do anything remotely useful?  Yes, I’m talking to you Iain Duncan Smith and your cronies.  Why can’t we have a more honest debate out the purpose of work?

This is something that always troubled me.  There seems to be some form of conspiracy to deny the truth about what work is for.  Perhaps this is because over the years the jobs market has shrunk to such a point that we can longer be honest about it.  We are now expected to live for work, all become complete workaholics and love every minute of it.  This is of course less of a problem if you’re doing something that gives you some form of satisfaction and pays well, but what if that isn’t the case?  And what if there really aren’t ANY jobs out there?

Is there really anybody out there who loves working in a call-centre, for example?  Imagine all the flak you get in that job, the pressure you’re under and the pittance it pays.  You might make some friends in the job and that might make it bearable, but I can’t imagine any other benefits.  Furthermore, there are even more deeply unpleasant jobs than that, none of which pay very much.  Yet, if one attends an interview for such a position one is expected to claim that it is your life’s ambition rather than just wanting to earn some form of living.  What’s wrong with just doing a job, being paid for it and going home at night and forgetting about it?  How did we get to this point where we are all expected to tell such lies about it?  Who is it fooling?  I can’t imagine that it’s fooling anybody.

There is something deeply unhealthy about all of this.  I don’t remember when it got started but I have a sneaking suspicion that it started in the 1980s.  Yes, another example of the hypocritical legacy of Thatcherism.