[NetBehaviour] naughty boy

james morris james at jwm-art.net
Tue Aug 18 18:16:14 CEST 2009

why a degree might be a waste of time and money
      in improving employment prospects

james morris    eighteenth of august two thousand and nine
------------    ------------------------------------------

sour grapes

i studied fine art at university and graduated at the age
of 26. before my degree i never had a permanant job. i had
summer work on farms in my immediate vicinity from the age
of 13. i got work from recruitment agencies after
a-levels. i also studied computers prior to the art

since graduating, eight years ago, i have had one
permanant job. it was in a factory operating moulding
machines. unfortunately, they required me to operate a
machine i disliked much much more than the other machines
so i refused to operate it. they sacked me for gross
misconduct. looking back i was niave to think the fact i
could already operate over half the machines, and in
practical terms knew the basics of setting them, was
enough to protect my job.

so i went back to the agencies and now, in these present
times of 'financial crisis' i would place myself somewhere
below the bottom wrung of the ladder. i don't know where i
will be working from day to day. i might get called up
anywhere between five in the morning or half ten at night.
sometimes i need to start immediately, other times for the
following day. if i was paid any less for the work i do,
it would by law be illegal.

serial killer

the other week i worked at three different companies in as
many days. then i watched a tv programme about a serial
killer. the psychologiest mentioned, when talking about
the profiles of serial killers, that they often drift from
job to job. so let's be clear here, i'm no serial killer.

something else

i keep coming across articles in the tabloids about people
out of work. sometimes they have been through higher
education, or are studying at degree level. the last
article i read trumpeted about how many jobs were out
there waiting to be filled. they were all in supermarkets
or fast food chains.

some of the people complained they could not afford to
live on the benefits paid to them. admittedly, from the
sound of it, they had all done much more than me to find a
job. but i'm working and they're not. i went to an agency
and they did not. although the work the agency provides me
pays only the minimum nation wage, and i'm rarely working
more than four days a week, it is still more money than
i'd have by claiming benefits.

so why don't people who have been out work for months, who
complain about struggling on benefits, just go straight to
an agency? because they don't want to start work at 6am?
because they don't want to do manual labour? because they
don't want to work on the factory floor or in a
wharehouse? because it's not enough money? or just for
fear that they'll end up stuck there?

possibly they fear their lack of experience in low paid
manual labour/factory/wharehouse work would be a
disadvantage? don't be silly, for in this line of work,
it's no more a disadvantage than only having the most
basic grasp of english.

waste of time degrees

one of the people mentioned in the tabloid article was
studying 'creative music technology'. how many jobs out
there are there where such an education would be a real
practical advantage? how many students were enrolled on
that course? how many universtities provide that same
course? how many other similar courses does each
university provide? do the maths and then look for the
jobs. that is, how many jobs would specifically require a
'creative music technology' graduate?

oh yes i know, what you study is irrelevant, it shows
employers you have at minimum, a nearly half functioning

the education conspiracy

don't fool yourself into believing universities are places
of learning. like any institution in these modern times
anything that they claim to be is just a front for making
money. universities are about making money for the people
who own them (whoever they may be), and if that gets in
the way of genuine real world education, so be it.

well they are a business and not a charity ok.

so how can we get more young misguided people onto our
books and paying us wads of cash? ah ha, let's give them
what they want: fun degrees that pretend to be educational
but are really just playing in the sand. go on mr, play
with the computer and make some noises. ooh, wee, that's
good! excellent! have yourself a first!

you want to study art? yes? come right in, you'll get by
with a fully disfunctional brain, and to be honest,
that'll probably be a distinct advantage. creative
writing? yes, come along. fire breathing and juggling,
yeah sure we can do that! battlestar galactica studies?
coming soon!

and of course the fact that universites are really about
making money for their owners, et al, really is the
propagating factor of these stupid-arsed courses of study.
when one university sees another doing these dumbed down
courses designed for popular appeal, they fear potential
students will smell the sweetness and go over to the
competition, so they have to implement these crappy
worthless courses also. and as everybody knows, a bit of
competition is healthy.

right on

unfortunately for the poor unsuspecting students barely
out of their nappies, how well you do in the employment
market (excuse me while i vomit) is more about who you
know and how much shit you can talk or how much confidence
you exude or how much brown nosing you're capable of. the
government may claim to desire to provide better
oppurtunites for the working class youth, but unless these
youth lack even the slightest hint of self doubt they'll
get nowhere. i mean if they're like me and were utterly
unconfident and getting a degree was something to get me
the hell out of the imprisonment of living with my parents
in a 'idylic village' in the middle of nowhere... it won't
improve your job prospects, but you probably will find it
worthwhile in terms of your personal
development/recovery/induction into the social world...

end motes

i hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as i've enjoyed
writing it as fast as i can and without a spell checker.
such is the attitude of a factory working open source
software developping website designing disillusioned art

don't let your new found identity as a 'human resource'
get you down.

 x x x

end notes

don't get me wrong, if i was not owing thirteen thousand
pounds (and counting) to the student loans company i would
not feel the slightest pang of regret for studying fine
art at degree level. maybe if i had gone from school
straight into employment i might have progressed further
along the career ladder and learnt practical skills
valuable to the employment market (eurrgh). i probably
would still be interested in the things i am interested
in. but perhaps the attitudes within the workforce i would
have encountered, instead of those at colleges and then
university, would have made me an entirely different
person. i don't fucking know, it's too late to change it
now. there's no turning back.

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