I imagine we’ve all heard children say this phrase. I used to say it all the time growing up (I have two older siblings…….. cue violin music). Even though my parents encouraged me to accept that life wasn’t always fair, I still hate situations where one person is treated badly.
I’m not just talking about deliberate victimisation like racism or homophobia, but unintended victimisation or irritation. The sort of thing where one person is too satisfied with the status quo, introspective (or lazy) to anticipate the needs of another.
An example? Do any Brits remember in 2000, when Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson finished third behind Sir Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis in the BBC sports personality of the year award, but there was no ramp to allow her wheelchair onstage to receive the audience’s adulation?
I doubt that anyone intended to cause upset or offence to Tanni, but she was on a shortlist, with a good chance of success, and yet nobody had anticipated what would happen if she won a prize. It was sloppy thinking, that resulted in offence.
Sometimes we just assume that life works because it’s always been like that. We assume that everyone can get on and do what they need to do, without anyone needing to rethink the “system”.
A prime example is how difficult we make it for young people to identify and access a career?
We insist they pass through an academic system that narrows their options (possibly before they know what they might want to do in life). Why?
We fail to teach them about the demands and context of employment, until they get a job (thus creating an absurd catch-22 situation). Why?
We create incentives and metrics for educators that restrict opportunity for young people. Why?
We encourage young people into higher or further education that doesn’t appear to return on their investment (Milkround survey 2015, only 12.6% of Graduates were in Graduate level employment 6 months after graduation). Why isn’t this better publicised?
We use a system of job-application that teaches the applicant nothing, yet which increases mental illness (cf Princes Trust 2014 report noted that 40% of young people had experienced symptoms of mental illness as a result of being out of work).
It’s a system that allows others to get paid to complete their jobs (either as educators or as recruiters filtering numbers down to a shortlist), but which gives the individual applicant precisely nothing of value. Or, have I missed something? Is there somebody earning a living by re-writing their CV three times a day?
It’s not like the employers are satisfied by how the system prepares young people for employment either! In 2014 the British Chambers of Commerce survey noted that employers thought that 9 out of 10 school leavers were not ready for employment.
So, not only is the system unfair, it’s rubbish too!
If you’re an employer, parent or young job seeker who wants a fairer and better system, please click here to read about our solution.