Sunday, 31 March 2013

Good jobs and bad jobs...

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We're familiar with the 'burger flipper' argument. Jobs at places like McDonalds of KFC are 'bad' jobs - low skilled and low paid. Which, when you think about it, is rather sticking two fingers up at the kids who go and do these jobs.

But no, we must have high skilled, high paid jobs - you know the ones don't you? The ones that our education system doesn't meet demand for (which, of course, is why the jobs are higher paid). But even were the schools to miraculously transform overnight, there'd still be jobs serving fried chicken and hamburgers to people who want to eat said chicken and burgers.

This is all an example of the way in which the British have managed to turn the idea of giving service into the single most demeaning and menial of tasks. We've got this rather pathetic attachment to grand jobs in manufacturing and extractive industries - steelworkers, miners, machine operators. These are proper jobs in a way that waiting on in a diner or serving the cue at Burger King aren't.

Even in service industry, we champion the jobs in the back room - the bankers, the accountants, the code-writers - rather than front of house. The folk who serve you in the bank, the people on the other end of the phone at the insurance company and the receptionists everywhere - these are the low valued, poorly paid jobs.

It seems to me that we'd be a whole lot nicer place if this changed, if the idea of service was valued a little more highly. And, moreover, we'd have better businesses as a result.

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

These are proper jobs in a way that waiting on in a diner or serving the cue at Burger King aren't.

Has Burger King got pool tables now?

Martin Andrew said...

Queue not cue Simon! Edit required.
All the best.

SadButMadLad said...

Working at Burger King and McDonalds is a proper job. You don't get just any yoik working there. You are trained according to the way of McD or BK. You have to put up with the general public at its worst. And all the time being polite and efficient. Not an easy job. They are good jobs. And if you have worked there for more than 6 months, then you can work anywhere as it shows commitment.

Anonymous said...

And then there are the even worse jobs - jobs which are possibly well paid but are destructive. Very many government jobs fall into this category. OFSTED, for example, has been fed huge lists of demands from the educational establishment to enforce upon schools, so much so that teachers are spending huge amounts of time trying to achieve targets which are outside their control, and thus using time which should be spent on teaching.
All jobs in ASH ET AL, for example, are destructive jobs since their sole purpose is to PROHIBIT activities or REGULATE those activities, to no purpose.

Menial jobs are generally 'good' jobs since they provide a welcome service. The bad jobs are those which are dedicated to destrying the service which the good jobs provide.

James Watson

Woodsy42 said...

This a situation that was brought home to me spending time in rural northern France over the past years. No matter what the job, however 'menial', people did them with pride and care, and in return they were treated with respect for a job well done.