My name is unemployedhack and I am, apparently, a job snob.
I have qualifications for which I worked hard. I retrained in order to stay in employment. I would not be happy working in a job for which I’m over-qualified and in which I have absolutely no interest.
I didn’t get my degrees and professional qualifications in customer service because I’ve no interest in such jobs – and I’m bad at them. As a worker in a bingo hall I was dreadful: I lost money, I missed calls of “house” and risked being lynched by angry old women, and I was bored. I did this job while studying for my first degree with the sole intention of earning money until I was qualified enough to leave.
But I don’t look down on people working in Tesco or elsewhere, nor do I look down on those without qualifications. This was my choice and I was encouraged to do this by teachers who assured me it meant better prospects, more money – going to work and looking forward to it rather counting the minutes till home time.
Now our young people are job snobs if they want more. They used to be lazy if they didn’t choose to sit their GCSEs. They lacked ambition if they wanted to be hairdressers or work in supermarkets. They were dismissed as failures if they didn’t go to university.
Now, if the Tories are to be believed, they’re just snobs who should do any job for any pay and be bloody grateful for it – whether they have qualifications, ambition, aspiration or a big hat.
The reality is that Iain Duncan Smith who came up with this new insult will never earn a living stacking shelves – and it was never ever considered as a job option for him as he grew up. He knew what he was entitled to and had both the financial and educational means to achieve it.
He says of us, though, that we are “armed with an unjustified sense of superiority and sporting an intellectual sneer [...] determined to belittle and downgrade any opportunity for young people that doesn’t fit their pre-conceived notion of a ‘worthwhile job’.”
So, the working class are dismissed as chavs and spongers if without work. We’re lacking entrepreneurial spirit if we don’t set up businesses. We’re failures if we don’t get qualifications.
Now we’re job snobs. We’re job snobs if:
- We don’t want to work hard for long hours and little pay.
- We don’t eagerly chase jobs with no training that would bore us senseless.
- We don’t want jobs that offer few opportunities and little hope of a pay increase.
- We want to earn more than minimum wage.
- We want to be able to pay our bills and have enough money for a social life.
- We think everyone has the right to decent pay and conditions.
- We don’t want to work hard for long hours and no pay.
This is just more Tory rhetoric aimed at blaming us for the lack of work, a new narrative intended to hide the fact that the Tories consistently fail to provide jobs and create economic growth. They would willingly see us all shovelling shit for no pay.
The concern about Workfare isn’t about not wanting to be seen working in whichever organisation as failed to drop out (many have distanced themselves from or opted out of using slave labour): it’s about wanting a day’s pay for a day’s work.
Iain Duncan Smith continues, “Sadly, so much of this criticism, I fear, is intellectual snobbery.
“The implicit message behind these ill-considered attacks is that jobs in retail, such as those with supermarkets or on the High Street, are not real jobs that worthwhile people do. How insulting and demeaning of the many thousands of people who already work in such jobs up and down the country!”
In a capitalist system we sell our labour and we receive our wage. In a meritocracy we work hard to ensure we can have better pay and conditions through education. This is what the Tories tell us we have to do – but now it suits them to pretend we’re all being job snobs.
Now it suits them to dismiss our qualifications, our experience, our personal preferences because they want us to shut up and do what little work is available – or work for no pay – while they live by their “jobs for the boys” rules.
I am a job snob. I don’t want to work for nothing. I don’t want to work for unemployment benefits. I do want to work in the jobs I’m qualified for: it’s why I worked hard and it’s why I worked hard while paying for those qualifications.
The reality is it doesn’t matter what we do – when they mess up the economy we get the blame.