31 Oct '14

News Talk of some jobs as like being on the scrapheap demeans us all | @guardianletters

I read the piece by Claire Hynes (A middle-class meritocracy myth, 31 October) with mounting anger not because I care where Ms Hynes or her friends choose to send their children to school, but because I object to the use of the word scrapheap. According to Ms Hynes, if you do not get A grades, go to university and get a middle-class job (whatever that is), you are a piece of rubbish. Well, guess what? Not everyone is academic and it seems to be one of the greatest lies told to young people today that only if you get that university degree will the doors to being a worthy member of society open for you.You might end up at 21 working in a call centre on minimum wage with £50,000 of debts when you could have gone to work there at 16 and have no debts. By the way, does that count as a middle- or working-class job? I know someone whose daughter had learning difficulties and left school with no qualifications at all. I dont think sending her to private school would have made any difference. However, she works and has always worked as a cleaner. Presumably, Ms Hynes would consider her on the scrapheap, whereas I consider her a very useful member of society. This is the problem we do not value so-called working-class jobs enough. These jobs are essential to all of us. While some of us are fannying about with our important work, we need people to stack our supermarket shelves, clean the toilets in the fancy hotels (or hospitals) we stay in, flip burgers (that much favoured example of a worst job) and all the other so-called scrapheap jobs we would rather not do ourselves. So why cant we say that these are important worthwhile jobs? Continue reading...

Read the full story in Guardian Education
Log in Join