the Best Job?

I watched this programme about social mobility and the well off getting the best chances in life on Tuesday.  

I’d also watched the one about the politicians the week before telling me some seriously worrying statistics; that only 7% of us go into private education but over 60% (I think it was) of politicians are privately educated and come from wealthy backgrounds. So basically this means that it is the well off, who have no idea of what life is like for those who scramble to pay even basic bills, making policies that suit the well off.

It was exactly what I feared but liked to think wasn’t the case. That those children from wealthy backgrounds are the ones who will get the highest paid and powerful jobs, partly because they can afford to work for free, with internships and through work experience whilst their living expenses are paid for by their well off parents, and therefore get one foot in the door to elitist employment. And partly because they will have come from fee paying schools where creamed teachers treat creamed pupils with respect and inspire them to learn, and they will have fee paying accents and live in the capital where there are the best opportunities.

What about the rest of us then? We can’t all live in the capital. We don’t all have fee paying schools available even if we did manage to have jobs in the poorest parts of the country that enabled us to afford them. And what does that say for the educational opportunities for the children in the rest of the country, in the rural areas, in inner cities and in places where good schools and the chances of decent employment, or employment at all, are becoming rarer? Why should we not have fee paying standards in ALL schools?

It appears to be a vicious circle. Widening the gap between the haves and the have nots by educational opportunity and the clustering of wealth into elitist areas.

But wait a minute! Wealth isn’t everything is it? Is that where we’re going wrong – only educating for wealth and creating dissatisfaction in those who have no chance of it? And there is more than one sort of wealth.

There is wealth to be found in loving what you do and having the opportunity to do it and be paid for it even if it isn’t millions. There is wealth in actually knowing what you love in the first place. There is wealth in being comfortable in your own skin instead of always hankering to be in a skin that’s promoted by others to be desirable but which doesn’t fit. There is wealth in having loved ones around you and friends you can trust supporting you rather than colleagues who would trample over you in attempts to get the so-called best positions. There is even wealth in being poor because sometimes being poor you have to dig deep into yourself, you have to be inventive in the way you manage your life, you have to look beyond money to find personal fulfilment. And it is only personal fulfilment that truly makes you wealthy. That and love. You can have all the wealth you want but the Beatles were right in saying money can’t buy you love. You need love in your life more than you need money. Perhaps we should be educating for love too.

The most well paid jobs and well paid education may on the surface appear to be the goal to aim for. But sometimes you get to a point when you realise, if you really thought deeply about it and stopped buying into commercial attitudes, that maybe you’re shooting into the wrong goal!


7 thoughts on “the Best Job?

  1. Hi Lisa, yes, worrying indeed! And I can empathise exactly with what you’re saying about the two tier system having the same 11plus where we live. We side stepped all the hassle by home educating. But have friends for whom the dilemma is just as real. They are of the mind that if you’re in the system you have to use the system to gain the best advantage for your kids. The trick is understanding what really is the best advantage! When everyone else is buying advantage it’s very hard to remain balanced about it all!

  2. I found this program worrying, but I am not surprised. I am 34 with 3 children and my eldest child started at a state comp in septmber after failing the 11+, living in Kent we still have a two tier education system. During the last few years my daughters friends have all had private tutors to pass the 11+ which I did not agree with. We have quite a low income and could not of afforded tution, but my parents offered to pay I refused beleiving that natural ability should be the only way my daughter got in. I was wrong the pass rate increases as these tutored students get higher marks then a general state education would enable. I hope that my daughter will do well, but it just goes to show you can still buy a place into a Grammar school. The question is with my younger children do I have them tutored and become someone I wouldn’t like? The future of a fair education system is far far away not only at university level but now even at Junior school.

  3. Yes quite an informative programme. But for who? BBC2 mid evening schedule. probably watched by the liberal middle class. Why not show it on prime time BBC1 ?
    I am 48 come from a working class background. Went to a poor comprehensive school. Left with just 2 O levels. I now have 23 yeas experience has a secondary school teacher. Half of that in management. Yes there was no family history of university education, but my education was FREE. No loans. I joined the profession in the late 80s. Then there were more new qualified teachers with working class backgrounds entering teaching. But within 10 years of the loan system kicking in, the profession has reverted back to its roots middle class, which can only distance itself further from the majority of students that they teach, who mostly come from an entirely different social strata. But one thing is for sure even when I went to university (3rd teir) the majority were rich, confident had been educated at private schools. For them networking seemed a natural transition. The educated working class (born late 50+ early 60s) faced similar barriers to the working class teenagers of today. Discrimination, nepitism, prejudice and the and perpetual help form middle class parents. But the difference being more working class are going to university and the goivernment is not prepared to pay fro it

  4. Yes, Ian, that is of course true. Thank you. It’s just seems that the focus more commonly is on wealth being held up as the one and only worthy ambition! And we need people from all backgrounds to be involved in governing!

  5. Your thoughts are replacated many millions of time each day by those of us who make up the majority of the human race, they have done so, since time immemorial. While I’m totaly in agreement with your sentaments, consider this. I have lived on this planet for 73 years and have witnessed the most spactacular advances in every aspect of humin life, Medicen, technology, communications, industry, transport, all of which have contrabuted to raising the standards of many of the less fortunate people in this world. Though I realise that povity will never completely be eradacated and we regard greed as evil, we must also consider, what would drive those who seek to consilodate their wealth and advance their ambitions, occasionaly benifiting all of us.

    Ian Smith

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