Saturday 14 September 2013

Performance pay. The salesman as role model.

In one  survey it is reported that something like 80% of people support performance related pay for teachers. Of course there will have been some manipulative bullshit leading question to arrive at that statistic. But it is depressing how all-pervasive the so called 'common sense' of market values of the private sector have become.

As someone who spent many years working in the private sector - some of them in the peculiar position of being both trade unionist and boss - I can testify that the idea that by some magical process hard work is rewarded is a myth

For the vast majority of private sector workers who aren't bankers - their pay packets simply bear no relation to relation to how hard they work or even how successful the companies they work for are. In a good year a company might splurge a bit more on the Xmas party and that's about it - and a few more sausage rolls makes a pretty poor incentive for the next twelve months. 

In most businesses the only people who get significant bonuses are the sales people. Collective bargaining tends not to be in the DNA of this species. So the best rewarded of this obnoxious elite group are as a rule the pushiest and the greediest, and when it comes to improving their sales figures - often simply the luckiest. In most companies this situation is grudgingly accepted by their colleagues because ultimately  the rest of the workforce depend on the sales these reptiles generate.

How did it happen that this 'necessity' has been elevated into a virtue? And how the fuck does it translate to a supposedly caring profession ?

Monday 2 September 2013

New boy again

Today most schools go back for the start of a new academic year. And I might be one of the few teachers for whom this day just can't come soon enough.

It has been 693 days since I was made redundant and experienced the sensation that a trap door had fallen open under my feet. If feels like a long wait.

Unlike thousands of other people who have experienced the same thing in the past few years, I was lucky. Because for me it was only a few days before I'd managed to re-orientate myself. Because I was able to dust off a qualification that I had from twenty five years ago. And because I was able to get on to  a course that enable me to start a new life. 

Admittedly, I had to wait through a nervous year of ducking and diving before the course began - but thousands are now permanently consigned to the ranks of the precariat. And admittedly I had to go through the emotional and intellectual roller-coaster of being an old dog learning new tricks on my teacher training course.  But thousands of other middle aged people are now being put on the scrap heap half way through their working lives - and even more young people are never even getting the chance to start a working life. 

So despite feeling a sense of excitement, nervousness, and generally being overwhelmed, that I have not experienced since the last time I faced my first day at 'big school' - today I am feeling  generally pleased with my lot.