IN DEFENCE GOSSIP – POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS
Well I’d laugh, but being a former youth worker, a member of a group ranked in terms of happiness/job satisfaction 223rd out of 274, I’ll be steadfastly glum and miserable, even wretched! But to be honest I can’t keep up the pretence. I’m on the edge of an unbecoming show of mirth tinged with anger. Where to start? The Cabinet Office’s naivete? The vacuous notion of well-being?The idea that happiness is objectively measurable? The stupidity of such surveys? Or even a sense of it’s no wonder youth workers are pissed off, given the assault on both young people and the distinctive way through which we seek to engage with them. It’s coming to something when it is alleged we experience less job satisfaction than folk forced to fill supermarket shelves.
Vicar, Publican or indeed Youth worker – which jobs make you happy?
The report claims:
The government thinks people should have access to information on the relationship between the salary and the satisfaction associated with a career – part of the prime minister’s commitment to find policies that boost the well-being of the nation.
The Cabinet Office is working on a web-based calculator that will allow those torn between two career paths to compare the average salaries and life-satisfaction associated with each.
Ah, but perhaps the survey’s decision to place youth workers so low down the league table of job satisfaction is part of a plan to diminish further their status and significance. After all who would want to do a job with such little going for it?
Thanks to Peter Hart and Fin Cullen for the link.
I know I’m late in commenting on this but am puzzling over it again. If I understand it correctly, the survey does not suggest that youth and community workers have low JOB satisfaction. Rather it simply correlates people’s jobs and incomes with average levels of LIFE satisfaction or so-called well-being. It could be that youth and community workers have low levels of well-being because we often have low incomes and insecure conditions, but workers were not asked whether they like or dislike the work itself.
In my own research one of the key findings is that volunteer and part-time youth workers not only like but actually love their work. Without prompting, they very frequently use words like love, passion and enjoyment in interviews. It doesn’t mean they love everything about the role (and they tend to be particularly critical of target cultures and anything that seems pointless and takes them away from working with young people) or that the work is not stressful, but their emphasis on enjoyment seems to counter the idea that money is what matters. As a youth worker myself this resonates with me, even though I hadn’t thought about it much before doing the interviews. It’s not unproblematic, but I still think it’s pretty hopeful and encouraging. I shared some thoughts / findings on this in Youth and Policy a while back if anyone wants to read it:
I’m currently writing a new version based on a larger number of interviews, which is why I came across this article again. Thanks Tony!