Job Cuts and Universities: Repent for the End is Nigh.

Posted: July 10, 2010 in Academia, The economy

The University and College Union (UCU) predicts that a mooted 25% cut in the higher education sector would see up to 22, 500 job losses, half of those academic posts. Obviously, this gives me no comfort and already my line manager is issuing subtle little warnings that we must be more flexible and make ourselves as indispensible as possible if we are to survive. It hasn’t come to “Count yourself lucky to have a job!” yet but it will do eventually, I fear. And if one day next year or the year after that, I receive a redundancy letter, I will have to face the terrible reality that apart from being an academic, I am pretty much unemployable. Of course that would be no excuse to loaf around reading all day and sponge off the state. I would have to work at something and the nice woman at the Job Centre would help me. 

Nice Job Centre Woman: So what skills do you bring to the task of seeking a job, sir?

Me: Oh…teaching?

NJCW: Oh excellent! There are lots of posts for teaching subs in local schools. What teaching qualification do you have?

Me: Um…none. Just 19 years experience teaching in University.

NJCW: You didn’t get training?

Me: Nope.

NJCW: Oh well. That’s that out then. But no worries! What other skills do you have?

Me: I write.

NJCW: Like academic books? Hmm. That won’t get you a job I’m afraid. It says here, though, that you teach journalism. Maybe you could start looking at freelancing for the local papers?

Me: [Shifting uneasily in my seat] I teach media and journalism studies as academic subjects. I don’t actually have any journalism skills I’m afraid.

NJCW: Never mind. To be honest, there’s not much going on in that job sector either. Are there any other transferrable skills you think might be useful in a more…., how do I say this, general market?

Me: I can fill out forms.

NJCW: [Sifting through my unemployment paperwork]  Yes you are rather good at that, I can see. But a civil service job is out because they look for experience and you’re also too old to start from scratch. 

Me: Oh.

NJCW: [Trying really hard to be positive now] Look, I can see if there’s a place on our New Life Chances course, which starts in a few weeks time. No guarantees, though, because it’s oversubscribed as you can imagine. But in the meantime, just to get you off income support and doing something constructive, have a look at the casual jobs display. [Pointing] You see over there? By the recycling bins?

Me: [Forcing a smile and getting up to go over] Well thanks for your help.

JCW: [Forcing a bigger smile] No problem at all, sir. It’s my job after all. 

So spare a thought, comrades.  This time next year, when you’re in for your  Mc Super Meal, be nice to the guy who clears the tables and cleans the loos. It could be me.

  1. Dr.Disco says:

    welcome to the world of nearly 3 million people in the country, including me.

  2. Rabelais says:

    Yeah, AA, we’re fucked. What’s worse is that I’m not even cute to look at, so all that time spent fluttering my eye-lashes at the VC have probably been wasted.

    Still, glancing through the University of Dunkin’ Donuts’ prospectus, there are some fantastic courses on offer. Unemployment might give us the opportunity to ‘up-skill in the downturn’. With all that choice there really has never been a better time to be an ex-employee of UDD’nuts.

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