"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The British Library: Work for Free!!!

We are now in the era of the new progressive politics with everyone championing "fairness" at every turn so hats off to the British Library which has just sent me news of a job I might like to apply for.  Actually it turns out not to be a job at all but a chance to be a work-donor.   The "job" is for someone to work in the internal communications department and the job description is a serious one that looks as though it might require some skills and experience.  Here's an extract from the advertisement:

"writing for our staff intranet and newsletter; creating intranet pages; monitoring the team’s day-to-day work; updating notice boards and generally helping out with the administration in our department.  We’re looking for someone with great communication and interpersonal skills...An interest in marketing communications and/or public relations, an excellent standard of written English and the ability to use a PC and the internet would be of advantage."

There's just one catch: you don't get paid.  This is of course a job for an unpaid skivvy, aka "intern".  Once upon a time young graduates (for that is my guess as to whom the likely appointee will be) got real work experience by doing a real job (in fact this one sounds a bit like my first media job) but now a public body like the British Library (Chief Executive's salary £195,000) is cynically hoping to get work done by not paying someone at all.  Did the staff unions agree to this?  Where will the employee live? How will they pay the rent?  How will they eat?

It could be worse because there are reports that in the US, graduates actually pay in some cases for the privilege of being a work-donor.  But is this going to be the pattern now in the British public sector?

But I agree, "fairness" is a good thing.  I can't get enough of it myself.

4 comments:

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George Simmers said...

"How will they pay the rent? How will they eat?"
They are subsidised by Mum and Dad - in other words, only the scions of well-off families will get the experience that opens up further opportunities. A lousy system.

Amna K said...

Well, the job description (for a person like me) is certainly attractive. And of course, equally unattractive is the fact that one doesn't get paid to do it. Maybe I would go for it for the sake of experience (for a limited period of time!). Belonging to the eastern part of the world, the British Library would be an amazing place to work at! :-)

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