This is our truth, tell us yours
Have you seen the life skills ads?
You know the ones, they’re paid for by a bank, where a teenager tells you that the key to getting a job is knowing how to be interviewed, or how to write a letter.
It all seems very helpful, and kindly, and well-intentioned. You wouldn’t want to send an inappropriate letter to an employer when they might employ you.
Actually, it’s a hugely ideological statement, that is designed to deceive anyone taken in by it
Of course it’s vital for individuals that they learn the skills to maximize their opportunities. However, in any society where there are less vacancies than there are unemployed people, one person’s success in finding a job is another person’s failure. Teaching young people that what matters is how they write to other people is also teaching them that those who don’t get the jobs have done the wrong things. It leaves no space for the reality that more candidates than vacancies means someone will always be a loser, that there is no space for everyone.
And yes, that deeply ideological message is being paid for by a bank, one of the banks that put the bank into bankrupt Britain in 2008, keen to assert that each banker is worth his bonus because they are part of an elite who know how to dress, how to speak, how to conduct themselves.
Except of course they don’t. Each new scandal, each new instance of market rigging, reminds us that all too often the recruitment and selection process is about finding people like the incumbents, who will fit in with the prevailing culture, even if that is corrupt, not the candidates who are objectively the best.
Remember, when you see those ads, they’re an attempt to excuse and explain the curse that is bankers, not to offer a helping hand.