Sunday, May 09, 2004


An old and much loved friend and her hubby visited this weekend. Twas a joyful time - we went out for dinner (portions too small, so too much booze and coffee - big mistake - so didn't sleep) Feeling beyond grotty today.

We happened onto talking about my sister - the last of us to emigrate from the student sphere to Reality Central. I didn't really love being a student - my dad died half way through my course, so perhaps I'm not the best person to ask about the joys of studying. I had a mostly good time otherwise though, if that makes any sense at all.

Anyway, this sister is off to do a PGCE in post compulsory teaching next year and I'm just bursting over with pride. When she first got her degree she wanted to be a make up artist. She was dissuaded - by someone other than me on the grounds that it wasn't socially responsible.

The older I get - who knew 30 would unsettle me so much - the harder it is for me to believe that many if any jobs are really socially responsible. Its hard to know in which direction social responsibility lies. The visiting friends work for big multinationals. I can't imagine doing that - one of them for a major funder of George Dubya, which doesn't treat staff at all well. Their quality of life is undoubtedly more financially secure than ours, and I guess their status is higher in certain circles. They have no pretensions of saving the world, although doing a good job is important. Myself, I work to improve the experiences of disabled students in a well known University, The Doctor does biological research to help people with severe mental illness, and sister number 2 is a youth worker. The friends point out - and I entirely agree - that many in our societies lifestyle depends on people doing jobs which aren't socially responsible. Its absolutely true, of course. The example sited was that of travel agent. If I'd been less squiffy though, I'd have been tempted to point out that although perhaps being a travel agent isn't socially responsible, there are ways of making it more socially responsible. Perhaps that is the answer - to first do no harm. My sister is an excellent youth worker, but is treated badly by her employers on some occasions. The Doctor is doing good, although there are those who are anti biological research. My job benefits disabled students - I hope - and integration benefits us all. Universities though, are not necessarily the most ethical organisations. Still, a reasonable option I hope.

Dammit, now I'm agreeing with doctors. Roll on 31.
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