Illiterate, innumerate

Yet more employers are whining about how “young people don’t have a work ethic”, and how “everyone wants flexible hours and decent pay straight off, they don’t think they should have to earn it”. More hand-wringing over how ‘incompetent’ and ‘lazy’ British workers, particularly young British workers, are illiterate, innumerate, have shit timekeeping, can’t follow instructions, and won’t stick with anything if it’s not exactly to their liking.

Meanwhile, the same young, British workers are driving themselves to nervous fucking breakdowns, applying for everything, posting ads on Gumtree that are only ever responded to by people with poor English skills thinking that the ad is offering a job, or wankers who think it’s funny to take the piss out of the desperate by responding with something sexually suggestive. They’re uploading humiliating begging videos to YouTube and Facebook, because the business world is so immature that it thinks it’s cool to run Dragons’ Den-style recruitment processes. These young workers see all of this and think “What’s the fucking point?”

It’s not going to matter that I could be at a job that starts at 8am by 7.45am, or that I worked a summer job hauling marquee poles around – god, that was shit, but I stuck it out – or that I know better than to turn up to an interview in jeans and a hoodie. Nothing’s going to fucking matter, because you’ve had a few bad experiences with people from my socioeconomic demographic and decided to write the whole lot of us off, and tell the world via social media, newspapers and television that you’re doing so. Fucking great.

I spent my early teens to mid-twenties among the first wave of “useless young people”, despite applying for jobs that would’ve meant an hour and a half on a fucking bus, each way, despite doing a job that meant I had to get up at 4.30am so I could feed and walk the dogs, get showered and dressed and have breakfast before I had to leave the house at 6am to walk to the bus stop for the ONE bus that would get me into the city an hour before I needed to be at work.

Despite getting to work, and having to watch colleagues who lived in the fucking city eating their breakfast at their desks, because apparently I was the only one who could be bothered to be fucking organised in the morning. And anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a morning person. There isn’t enough coffee in the world for me to be bright-eyed and bushy-fucking-tailed before about 10.30am.

Despite the fact that I was intelligent and capable, and proved it time and time again. No-one was interested, because I was a “useless, lazy, entitled young person”, so they could go and rip off some poor foreign bugger with a clean fucking conscience.

Now, in my late twenties, I’m suffering the effects of that dismissive earlier attitude – my ‘career’ hasn’t ‘advanced’ as far as some fucking suited wanker thinks it should’ve done, so I’m therefore not worth bothering with. I’m obviously a workshy waster who’d struggle to spell ‘work’, never mind actually do it. Or I get the “Oh, that’s quite a way from Norwich – and you don’t have a driving licence?” with the pitying look that says because I’m apparently incapable of doing this piss-easy thing called driving (easy if you have decent peripheral vision, and haven’t had a ‘dissociative episode’ during a driving test), I must also be incapable of reading bus timetables and working out if I can get to and from a place for the times they want me there.

I also get a lot of “Why don’t you move to the city? That would surely make finding work easier.” Yes, because I can pay the astronomical fucking rents on crappy city centre flats with Monopoly money, can’t I?

British business has spent years writing off British workers and they wonder why so many of us are now shrugging our shoulders and saying “fuck you then” at the expense of that mythical beast ‘the taxpayer’, as if we don’t pay fucking tax on just about everything we buy.

I don’t give a fuck that you probably have met some fucking useless twats – I probably went to school with most of them – but until you give everyone in the group you’re so casually trashing a chance, you don’t get to have a fucking opinion on that group as a whole. Talk about the individuals you’ve encountered but don’t fucking tar us all with the same fucking brush. You wouldn’t get away with it if you were saying “all black people are lazy”, or “all Muslim blokes expect a decent salary for an easy job”. Just because there’s no law against this particular prejudice, doesn’t make it right.

Offer me a job. Give me a chance to do it. Then tell the world – if it’s the case – that I’m lazy and incompetent. But you don’t get to fucking judge me until you’ve met me.

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