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Up For Hire

(WARNING: I may edit this post as I see fit because my thoughts on this issue will develop and evolve, but I wanted to get something down before I lost interest.)
I chanced upon this last night by innocently flicking over to BBC3. This awful programme, ostensibly providing 'advice' and discussing student/post-grad unemployment, really wound me up. All it seemed to consist of was a competition to see who had the most and crappiest job history, including contributions from 'famous' people, including some Scottish woman that runs a knickers company (something we can all do, I'm sure), and Frankenstein's own drag act, comedian Russell Kane. What is he going to teach me, the need to achingly follow superficial concepts of appearance? That's great, but I don't want to wear mascara. The whole affair was hosted by Richard Bacon whose delivery is just awful; it's like listening to a stalling plane.
The programme featured 4 young people at least 3 were students with the other a young mum (i don' t know their exact circumstances, I missed that part). All out of work. They were then inducted into some reality tv segment featuring them given various jobs in a holiday/fun park of some kind. Taken completely out of their comfort zones we get to watch them manage as best they can with tasks such as becoming a performing clown (literally), working on the fast food joint with a queue of many unhappy looking campers eager to slosh transfats down their gullets, or mucking out at the petting zoo. One lad had to prepare 60 bags of candy floss (which is probably easy if you know how) in a time limit.
Naturally their efforts were met with varying degrees of success and failure, which is to be expected when you throw someone in at the deep end without any training, especially in a busy public environment. One girl, dressing up as a clown, made the mistake of commenting to the camera that she had a degree in journalism and that grease paint and oversized shoes weren't for her. How dare she! In this economic climate we need all the people throwing confetti instead of water that we can! Of course they edit the choice parts and leave the rest on the cutting room floor.
What amused me most was their 'boss' who took the whole thing so unbelievably seriously as to be a caricature. When the lad fell short of his candy floss target the guy seemed to take personal umbrage - this is the real world son! Fuck off is it, it's a farcical parody edited to make a bunch of reasonably smart, articulate, and well behaved young people look like lazy slobs. Their only mistake was the young mum (their names, I know not) who, after working on the till of the burger joint during rush hour, received second hand criticism that she was 'abrupt' despite being very friendly with the public the rest of the time. Is this how we treat people now? Stick inexperienced people into a busy unfamiliar role with a queue of slack jawed transfat junkies and when they fail to wear their smile 100% all the time like a beaming ray of perpetual sunshine we berate them. Unfortunately for her she got defensive - with all the cameras - but then who wouldn't. Are we made of stone? No encouragement, no support. Sink or swim.
But that's what it is these days. In this era of competitive mas unemployment it's sink or swim and we've mortgaged the life jackets, bad luck.
The whole programme just smacked of this kind of grim competitiveness that I hate. We were not meant to live like this. When there are hundreds applying for a single position the odds are that any one candidate will fail - no matter how competent they individually may be. Isn't that the situation that needs addressing? No we just seek to find fault: their CV is one word too long, or too short. Their hair needs cutting. This or that. Employers don't have time to read a thousand CV's. Well make time! You want applicants, what do you expect?
Now we hear a bunch of people, such as miss millionaire from ultimo knickers, tell these kids they should be prepared to do anything - such as dress up as a clown or feed goats. Yet that's exactly what they did and have done - and where has it gotten them.
If we all subscribe to this race to the bottom what's left? The issues surrounding this social disaster of a state we currently live in are not beign addressed. Why can't someone that's trained as a reporter be given an opportunity to be...a reporter? What good will it do her to force her to work as a fucking clown? Are we all meant to be grateful for whatever crumbs the pigs throw us from the table as they snuffle at the trough that anyone not willing to lick more toilets than their neighbour is now seen as public enemy number one? If we want a better society with better standards for ourselves and subsequent generations then we are going to have to start demanding them, and not pumping out puerile crap such as Up For Hire. No, far better to get people to seriously consider walking around town adorned with sandwich boards, just as Hayley Taylor recommended in her awful Fairy Jobmother show. It's the same thing. The same kind of hectoring rubbish that avoids the real issues in the way our masters avoid taxes while telling us we have to 'take responsibility' (this kind of avoiding the issue is something Cameron is very good at).

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