The most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million
In a previous life I was a yoot worker (we all talked like that in order to be down ‘wiv da kidz, innit’). In between dealing with some kids stabbing each other and others crying in a corner because nobody understood them (both true, not stereotypes – I promise!), I developed and delivered training courses. These were great fun, really well received by participants and schools and youth clubs couldn’t get enough of them.
That is, until I had enough of delivering them. You see, whilst the courses were very good (even if I do say so myself), taught a range of valuable and useful skills and were accredited, all too often I would find that I had trained groups of young people up only to see them have nowhere to go and no way of using these new skills. The youth clubs and services weren’t ready to do anything with them, which created a lot of frustration within those groups and undid a lot of the work I’d gone through.
Fast forward this ten or fifteen years and I’m drawing a lot of parallels in my colleagues. Okay, maybe not the crying and stabbing (although there is always a little of both going on somewhere in the building), but I’m definitely seeing people getting ready to dive back into training and education with no thought about what after that.
Many of my colleagues are taking the cuts as an opportunity to go off for a while and do something they’ve wanted to do but had no reason to. The always excellent Redundant Public Sector Worker was musing setting up their own business, Citizenr also took a look at a few options from the X-Factor to being the next Charlie Dimmock. Both of these are thinking of some (more or less) practical solutions that will support them in the longer as well as medium term should they come off (good luck both by the way!).
While all of these are great, I do worry that for those who are taking the education route they might not be thinking things through enough. Learning things is good and fun – for example, did you know that duelling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors – but many of those I speak to seem to be doing it as something to kill some time. Few are doing something with a definite career path in mind, with most just picking something they wanted to do when they left school or Uni but which life got in the way of.
Now, Baz Luhrman would have you believe that the most interesting 40 year olds he knows still don’t want to do with their lives, but he fails to mention that they all have jobs while they make up their minds. I’m a little worried that many of my colleagues are going to go off, learn all about media studies or social science and then be no more or less employable than they are now, only a few years older.
Having a passion is brilliant, and if you use this time to pursue that wholeheartedly then more power to you, but please don’t use education as a sand pit to bury your head in, in the hope that when you pop it out again the world will be back the way it was and jobs will be plentiful. Yes, the economy may recover slightly and there may be a few more jobs, but those who have either worked through the interceding years will be better placed to secure those, along with those whose studies relate to changing developments.
I worry that in a few years time, should I be recruiting for a team my desk will be inundated with people rejoining the sector after a couple of terms worth of philosophy.
I guess I just hate students.