Tag Archives: unemployment

Key to my Selection Criteria

ABOUT ME
For the past four months, I’ve been looking for part-time work, ideally as a graphic designer. To keep myself occupied in this depressing downtime before I once again being a fully productive member of society, I have been responding to precisely one metric fuck-tonne of “Key Selection Criteria”.

For those of you that haven’t had the enjoyment of looking for a job in the past decade, KSCs are the “must-have skills” potential employers lay out like a poison-laced bear trap to keep the unworthy from cluttering their MS Outlook inboxes with pathetic pleas for acceptance and attention. They’re a lovely idea in principle: often listing specific role requirements, KSCs can help you get a handle on the true nature of the job and organisation. But the problem I’ve found is that some KSC writers get a little — ah, how to put this delicately — over-enthused with their questioning.

One of the most recent KSCs I put together a reply to had the following demands, pretty much sequentially:

I must have:
1. The ability to prioritise multiple tasks and keep to schedules
2. Excellent organisational and time management skills
3. Demonstrated ability to organise a demanding workload and set priorities in accordance with the objectives of the position

I’m not sure about you, but I’d almost consider that the same question, rephrased three times, possibly to meet some arbitrary demand from HR or management. So I’ve spent the recent days thumping my head on my desk, wondering if these questions themselves form the real test, which will be, “hey pal, how much senseless busy work can you pull off without saying ‘fuck this’ and going outside to play?” And the truth is, heaps.

As a small exercise (before I get back to responding to some more KSCs) I’ve decided to put together my own KSCs, and answer them as truthfully as I can (coz yes, I lie on the other, “real” ones). Maybe this will help me see the other side of the waterfall I’m chasing, or maybe it’s just a good excuse to procrastinate before I write about how good I am at te photoshops for the 87th time…

KEY SELECTION CRITERIA
Essential skills and experience

List your favourite sort of jam.
I’m not sure it’s technically a jam, but marmalade. And if I had to pick a jam specifically, I’d say…that three berry one. Next!

Who was the best Doctor Who?
And for extra points, the worst James Bond
I’ve always had a soft spot for Tom Baker, that dude with the big scarf, curly hair and jelly babies. Probably because I was at the right age for that kind of “funny” Dr. Who at the time: eleven or twelve I’m guessing. Oh and he had K-9 as well, which is pretty cool when you’re a tween*. A robot dog, man! Hey, and do you remember that episode when the Doctor gave K-9 away to one of his assistants (who was leaving the show/TARDIS)? And it was all sad for about four minutes, but then he had another K-9 in a crate he pulled out just before the end credits? Pierce Brosnan.

Do you prefer digital watches, or those ones with hands? Why?
Hmmm, tough question. I guess the ones with hands, if I’m totally honest with myself here. I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling I get, when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving. (boy, I wish I could quote Stairway to Heaven in my real responses to these things…)

 

Name your three best cures for nausea.
1. a spew.
2. a big glass of water and some painkillers, and then a spew if that doesn’t help. Try not to spew up the painkillers though; and if you do, eat some new ones, not the ones you just spewed. That may make you feel like spewing again.
3. laying on my back with my feet slightly elevated, rubbing my stomach with both hands and saying “urrrgh, arrrgh, I’m never drinking again, etc.” And then a spew, and some KFC, and then another spew.

NB: isn’t “spew” an odd word, when you type it out (and read it, I assume) eight or nine times?

 

Do you know what this keyboard shortcut does?
(cmmd+option+L+Z; cntrl+caps lock+6+: on a PC)
Shit! I just tried that in Bean (a simple text edit application for OSX) and it actually fucking did something: a dialogue box came up, asking for a web address to connect to. Ah right, it’s insert a link, and the z doesn’t really do anything. And the other one didn’t do anything when I just tried it just now neither. Try cntrl+option+cmmd+8 though, it’s hilarious.

 

If you were on the run from “John Law” and needed a new name, what would you pick?
I’ve always been partial to “Teddy Ruxpin”. Yeah, so: Teddy Ruxpin. Or Big Ted, or Old Man Ruxpin, depending on how close we are.

Have you ever ridden over something you shouldn’t have on a ride-on mower?
No, but I do enjoy pushing those push-mowers over dried up dog shit, and seeing the explosion of white poo powder. And once I ran over (well, pushed over) a stick that hit my aunty in the leg.

Greatest high score in Frogger:
I haven’t kept track of my “real” high score, but I can say with some self-doubt I’ve made it up to Level 3 at least.

Rank your four favourite fictitious animals, from most-preferred to least-preferred:
1. Basilisk
2. Pegasus
3. Oscar the Grouch
4. Frodo

 

If one of your friends was going to describe you as a power tool, which one would they pick?
I’d like to say jackhammer, but more realistically: hot glue gun.

 

Please recall your earliest recollection of using a ViewMaster™
I have quite a vivid memory of looking at a Muppets slide reel and being shocked at seeing Fozzy’s legs and feet. He looked really, really strange. I wonder how they did that? Probably just models, huh?

 

You have three minutes. List as many metal band names converted into pet food types as you can.
Shit, this is hard. Why did I write this one for myself? OK here goes:

Metalliver (um, this one is meant to be “Metallica”. Not a great start.)
Rage Against the Pedigree Meaty Bites
Limp Brisket
Lamb Morsels with Korn and other Misc. Vegetables
Insane Clown Pussy Treats

 

That was three minutes: not a great effort. Please send through any job offers you may have, I’m off to donate blood.

*not that tweens existed back then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nastiness of the Mainstream Right Politics

I’ve been meaning to write this post for sometime, but have put it off because it takes some small bits of research. Here goes.

While the political division between right and left is overly simplified, in New Zealand there is at least one fundamental difference in policy between the two which for me marks a clear distinction.  It also reveals the deep cynicism of right wing politics.

In recent New Zealand history the left  made it a political and economic goal to have full employment.  The labour government of 9 years from 1999-2008 was lucky enough to have strong local and international growth during this period which enabled them to get very close to the target, in 2007 unemployment fell to historically low levels in 3.4%.

A change of government in 2008 to a right-wing government coincided with the Grand Financial Crises and this of course led a surge in umemployment numbers.  The blame for increased unemployment, at least initially, can not be put on the right wing party.  However it is very interesting to note a change that occurred to the reserve bank soon after National took power.

There is a policy targets agreement between the governor of the reserve bank and the minister of finance.  The 2002 Michael Cullen version is first, and the 2008 Bill English version is second.

Left Version 2002

The objective of the Government’s economic policy is to promote sustainable and balanced economic development in order to create full employment, higher real incomes and a more equitable distribution of incomes. Price stability plays an important part in supporting the achievement of wider economic and social objectives.

Right Version 2008

The Government’s economic objective is to promote a growing, open and competitive economy as the best means of delivering permanently higher incomes and living standards for New Zealanders.  Price stability plays an important part in supporting this objective.

Read them carefully and a clear difference emerges between the left and the right, and how they use the instruments of government to affect the country.  This is one small passage that influences the way the reserve bank acts, which potentially effects thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives.

From these passages we understand that the left is using the reserve bank to get as many people as employed as possible.  It does this knowing that this may well put pressure on inflation, because as it become harder to find workers they can charge more for their work which if this happens widely enough makes things more expensive which pushes up inflation.  Inflation is bad because it devalues peoples investments and savings.  But the left understands there are vast social, health, and economic gains to be had from having full employment. The least of which is that the states doesn’t have to support as many people.  The strange and misunderstood aspect of this is that there is likely to be less people on welfare under this approach than the right’s, which I will explain now.

The right uses the reserve bank to encourage a strong economy as a means to delivering higher incomes and living standards.  It prioritizes price stability so as to avoid the corrosive effects of inflation.  However the removal of the mention of employment gives us a sense of what this means. If price stability is the priority, then keeping wages down is also a priority, and one of the most effective ways to keep wages down is to keep a level of unemployment.  The employment pool acts as a reserve to put pressure on wages and salaries so that inflation is kept low, so that peoples and companies saving and investments are protected.

Now at this point, it is a largely healthy disagreement on how to deal with the economy.  We have different political parties so that we can have different views and discuss the merits of those views and have discussions and discourse around them.  All fine and good.

The bit that makes it nasty is when we follow the behavior of the right. If we accept the need for a certain level of necessary unemployment, (which I don’t) but seems like a logical economic policy in some regards, then we are in reality asking a certain amount of the population to sacrifice jobs they might otherwise have for the good of the country.   What I find disgusting is the same party that creates this condition then spends vast amounts of energy denigrating and attacking those very people that could otherwise be employed as been lazy and bludging of the state.

In New Zealand around 2008 long term unemployed (as a percentage of total unemployed) was 3.2%. This means for every 100 people on the dole only 3 or 4 of them had been on the dole for more than a year.  From a total of 72,000 unemployed people, 49,000 of them were on the dole for less than 26 weeks; the churn of people losing jobs and quickly gaining new ones. Of the total only 1300 people in the entire country had been on unemployment benefit for more than two years.  Read that again.  It clearly illustrates that the myth of dependency on the dole and preference to want to live off $200 a week rather than work an honest job is a fallacy.  If the jobs are there people take them.

The thing about full employment is that everyone starts to benefit and social, class, ethnic and gender divisions are lessoned by the participatory nature of the work force, and the increased social mobility that employment provides.

The dumb thing about requiring a certain level of unemployment is that inevitably its certain groups, for various geographic, historic, and soci0-economic reasons, that end up without work.  In New Zealand this is the young, some elderly, and Pacific Island and Maori people.  These people end up unemployed because of a way the government chooses to run the economy and then turns around and specifically stereotypes these populations and been deficient for some reason.  Its foul and immoral.

There is obviously some economic incentive to denigrating the unemployed because it makes people even more desperate to work in low-wage jobs, and keep inflation down, and a nice conveyor belt of cheap workers.  The crushing of the unemployed is also managed through giving them less than is needed to survive with any dignity in New Zealand.  A specific policy that was established in 1991 by Ruth Richardson.

I’ll leave the conclusion to the superb idiot/savant of norightturn, who I have sourced most of the links from in this article.

There is an underlying problem of benefit adequacy, dating back to the 1991 benefit cuts. As explained in Alister Barry’s In a Land of Plenty [part 5, from 10 mins, to part 6] experts worked out minimum food budgets for beneficiaries based on nutritional needs and different expectations of diet. Treasury took the lowest level – which was inadequate to meet basic nutritional needs – and cut it by 20% to provide an “incentive”. And while benefits have been inflation adjusted, that basic gap between benefit levels and minimum nutritional needs has remained ever since. And now we’re back in an era of mass unemployment and longer durations on benefits, it is again coming back to haunt us.

This is indecent. No-one should starve in our country, and a government system which guarantees starvation is simply immoral. But it is also stupid. Kids who grow up malnourished and starving have higher health costs and do not reach their full potential. In other words, the short-term “saving” of benefit cuts in fact produces long-term costs. But it won’t be the present government paying those costs – they’ll be well out of office when the bill finally comes due, and cleaning up the mess will be someone else’s problem.

http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2010/08/starvation-benefits.html

As a society, we have chosen to have a certain level of unemployment in exchange for low inflation. Therefore, as a society, we have an obligation to care for those whose lives and prospects we are sacrificing. Policywise, this means trying to ensure that unemployment is not too great a burden and easy to escape from (or at least, not a trap). This suggests both decent benefit levels, and policies centered around improving “churn”: training, education, active job finding, and an array of grants, loans, housing and transport assistance to help people move or travel to work.

http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2005/07/failed-policies.html

 

http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2009/11/eroding-neoliberalism.html