October 23, 2012 by researchertransitions
The second of my Guardian careers blogs went live today and can be found here:
I haven’t got any comments about it on the Guardian website yet but I checked out the tweet button and found a few people had read and reacted to it – raising some really important points about the difficulty of being flexible once you have a family, and the general problem of talking about flexibility and networking as employability ‘skills’.
I don’t think I can paraphrase so I hope @CelebYouthUK doesn’t mind me quoting their tweet – “‘flexibility’, ‘networking’ etc are not ’employability skills’ but embedded in wider inequalities”. They link to this article http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01425692.2012.714249?journalCode=cbse20 which I will certainly read – the abstract explains how “Drawing on interview data with students, staff and employers, we identify the discourses and practices through which students are produced and produce themselves as neoliberal subjects.”
I can’t really argue with the idea that as a careers adviser a lot of the time I am helping ‘produce neoliberal subjects’ and perpetuating the current system by advising students/researchers on how to ‘play the recruitment game’. While I get satisfaction from offering pragmatic advice that will be useful to some people, it is of course very troubling when people are prevented from moving forward in their career because of inequalities – when you have to say, ‘is this realistic, given your constraints?’ and if it isn’t, advise them to come up with a plan b.
I’m struggling to string my thoughts together at the moment so will leave it for the minute but definitely appreciate this food for thought and hope to further address these issues in future blogs!