For most of my working life there was full employment. A situation many of my parent’s generation could only have dreamed of. 

When the majority of my friends chose their careers, whether it was academic, vocational, apprenticeships or just a humdrum job, they all felt it to be secure for life , if they chose, and most had a pension to look forward to. 

I must have been a puzzle to my parents with my drifting between Norway, Scotland and England. I never had any problem finding jobs. Sometimes I only wanted  a few months work, but there was always someone on sick leave or who  could not work for a period and I could fill in for them, sometimes I did general nursing but mostly I did midwifery. I remember reading a few years ago that some nurses were worrying about finishing their training because they didn’t have a job to go to. We were guaranteed a job post registration as the hospital did not consider us fully trained until we had served at least one year as a staff nurse, I never heard of anyone being asked to leave after the fourth year either, that was completely our choice and most left to do further specialised nursing or to get married!

Life is so much more difficult now where no one seems to have any job security. I don’t know much about the other professions, but,  from what I read about untrained or minimally trained staff as classroom assistants, police helpers etc. I suppose there is a general “dumbing down” in all walks of life not just staffing hospitals with assistants instead of trained or “in training”  staff.

This is what happens when accountants  and bureaucrats are put in charge and treat human beings  as consumer units. Health, education, policing, social services are  not production units dealing with neat little consumables who can be put into tidy profit and loss  columns. There is no such thing as an average patient who will obligingly react in the given way to any illness, some will need two days in hospital with minimal care, another will need two weeks even when they present with the same symptoms and the only people who can decide which they are are those trained to differentiate and treat accordingly, not to meet artificial targets or costs. It may appear to be cost effective to replace  professional staff with amateurs, but it is a very short sighted approach and builds up bigger problems and expensive remedies for the future. Why don’t they replace the bureaucrats with cheaper versions, it would make more sense. How many RNs could they employ for the salary of one CEO or any of the fancy titled “specialists” now involved?

Perhaps someone could compare the ratio of “management” to “hands on” staff in the 1950s and now and explain why all these extra  bureaucrats are necessary. Are patients happier now, better cared for? I doubt it.

There are so many jobs now which did not exist when we left school, mainly in IT of course, but so many seem to be an unnecessary complication. Why do the utility companies need so many tariffs? If they can provide a service cheaper, why not just cut the prices for everyone and then they could save a lot of money wasted on “cold calling” us to change tariffs. It must be a soul destroying job calling people, most of whom resent the intrusion. I read somewhere that call centres were amongst the main employers for newly graduated students. What a waste of talent!

There was not the same choice of jobs for us and we had little or no careers guidance. It was especially difficult for girls to enter some professions, there were few women doctors, lawyers or bankers etc. but the majority of my friends had satisfying careers and felt secure in their choice, so I think we were luckier than today’s young people and much luckier than my parent’s generation.

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