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Wanting To Gain Experience In Your Field Rather Than Something Unrelated Is Just Common Sense

Imagine this situation. You don’t have a job, there’s not enough work out there and also you are young and with little work experience. So to get experience, to network, or to simply prove that yes you can get up every day and be at work, you go and find some.

There are two opportunities. One of them is with a charitable organisation that works in the industry you would really like to get into, meaning that you would be getting experience directly in the area you’d like to work. Obviously you are applying for work anywhere, and would take jobs that have nothing to do with this, but ideally you’d love to be working in this industry.
The second one is working for free for a profitable company in an industry that is not what you’d like to be involved with. Additionally, you’ve already got lots of experience in this industry from previous part time jobs when you were at school/college/university.

Which one do you do?

I think it’s pretty sensible to say that you would take the first – clearly you still gain all the experience and everything else that you’d get from the second one, but also gives you a better chance of getting that dream job by giving you experience and letting you meet people in that industry.

This is the position that Cait Reilly was in. She would love to be a museum curator. She’s applying for work anywhere and would take a paid position that was nothing to do with museums, but she’d love to find something in a museum if she could.
So since she couldn’t find work, she volunteered at the Birmingham Pen Museum (yes, it is real, click the link, and when you’re next in Birmingham, pop along.. it’s not a big museum so it’s not going to take all day, but iirc Birmingham used to make 97% of all the fountain pen nibs in the world, so it’s an interesting piece of local history).
Yep, she volunteered there – off her own back, in a genuinely voluntary role – in order to get experience in the area she really wants to work in – experience that will help her get work elsewhere as well.

Then the job centre said she had to leave that to go and work for Poundland, a profitable company that has nothing to do with museums.
There is nothing that she could have gained from this that she wasn’t already getting from volunteering in the Pen Museum. I think that anyone reading this would see that she was much better off staying where she was and there was no reason whatsoever to make her leave.

That’s why she objected to being forced to work in Poundland. It’s not because she is a snob, or that she thinks the work was beneath her, or that she wasn’t going to even look for work if it wasn’t going to be in a museum.
But those things are what the right wing press are portraying her as saying. They conveniently fail to mention that she was volunteering before being sent on this scheme. They fail to think that as an employer, the person who has gone out themselves and volunteered to get experience is more attractive than the person who has been forced to do so. They should be applauding her for taking the action she has to stop anyone else in the same position as her from being made to do something that is so obviously idiotic.
Instead they are using her as a scapegoat, to wrongly portray the attitude that those of us campaigning against workfare have towards it.

Fuck em. Just make sure that you let people know that Cait was forced to stop volunteering in order to go and undermine peoples jobs at Poundland whenever you hear anyone talking about this story, because even though the Guardian told us that in its first article, the right wing commentators, like “Mad” Jan Moir, ignore it in favour of projecting their own views about the kind of jobs that they probably see as being for the lower orders only, and not for people like them. They would not do these jobs, they look down on the people who do, and they are unable to comprehend that not everyone thinks in the way they do.

#ff @boycottworkfare


Save Island House

Demo Thurs 26th, 11am, outside council house, before planning meeting.


Protest SOPA/PIPA

Today my blog should be joining the blackout. I was going to put a post up like this, but WordPress provided an option to blackout properly, and I’m also impressed with the job they’ve done on their site, so full credit to them.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it’s not actually blacking out my webpage. Which doesn’t matter cos no-one looks at it anyway 🙂

So if you’re reading this and you’re from the US, follow this link

If you’re not from the US, or want to know more about SOPA/PIPA, then for today see this website, and otherwise look on wikipedia, who are also blacked out today.

This issue will affect everyone around the world, but mostly US citizens.


Where now for resistance to the NHS bill

November 9th is the student anti-privatisation demo, they are marching on the city.. lots of anger about the nhs was being directed to that march, which makes sense because this is also about privatisation.. so join the march on the city.

aside from that, not sure.. there’s probably a certain amount of civil disobedience that can be done to prevent the bill from actually working like it should, though I’m not sure any of these will actually work:

GPs refuse to pass any patients onto private companies
patients insist on being treated by NHS
occupations of private healthcare company offices to prevent them from working.

and of course, stringing the tories up from lamposts 😉

I’ve not been at all well for the last few days. In a streak of irony I picked some bug up on Sunday at the protest to defend the NHS, so my thoughts might be total rubbish.
I’m sure ideas will emerge, but I looked around for private healthcare company offices in the west mids before the 3rd reading of the healthbill and couldn’t find any – only hospitals and I’m still not up for actually disrupting the healthcare operations of private companies.
If, however, we could disrupt their accounting departments, destroy billing records etc, that could be interesting.  There is something called a “good work” strike which has been effective in private healthcare systems in the past:

Workers at Mercy Hospital in France, who were afraid that patients would go untreated if they went on strike, instead refused to file the billing slips for drugs, lab tests, treatments, and therapy. As a result, the patients got better care (since time was being spent caring for them instead of doing paperwork), for free. The hospital’s income was cut in half, and panic-stricken administrators gave in to all of the workers’ demands after three days.

Of course, that’s about the workers not the patients, but the principle of it – to disrupt the income flow of private healthcare companies so that they cannot financially operate is I think a sound way forward – after all, this is what the tories will be doing to the NHS, letting bits of it get run down through underfunding, refusing to bail out trusts that are in debt, and then using the lack of money as an excuse to close them and shift stuff to the private companies.  We can look at how we can do the same kind of thing to private healthcare companies.
In which case, insisting on private companies and then refusing to pay the bills would be an interesting tactic.. although we’ll not be at that level of privatisation yet as far as I can see, ie: no patient is going to be billed directly, it’ll be the taxpayer that is billed.. so we’d need accountants in the NHS to refuse to process payments to private companies..

I think there’s probably a few creative ways that we can undermine the effects of the health bill, once it’s really put into operation.
I’d like to talk about making sure whoever gets elected next time knows that they absolutely have to repeal it.  I don’t have any hope in that though, since Labour don’t show any signs of actually opposing anything and started this whole thing rolling with foundation hospitals anyway. Ultimately the destruction of the NHS has been coming for many years, and to save it we need to enforce major changes to the political system of this country.