Shane Faherty, from academia/humanities blog Modern Distortions, discussing the disappointments of pursuing a Ph.D., the attitudes towards Ph.Ds in the post-austerity jobs market, and the inevitable trudge through call centres.
“When, at the age of 30, I started a Ph.D. in history in University College Cork I was pursuing a passion. Nobody does a Ph.D. in humanities for monetary gain, however, I did think that my employment prospects would be improved somewhat.
Little did I think that upon completion, four and a half years later, I would be facing into a year and a half of unemployment, underemployment and precarious employment where on two separate occasions I would find myself working in call centres.
The week I submitted my doctoral thesis in April 2015 my wife and I discovered we were expecting our first baby. The following week I was in the dole office. I didn’t expect to be there.
This should have been the most exciting time of my life. However, the multiplicity of feelings I was experiencing were underpinned by exhaustion and uncertainty. When I tried explaining why I was there tears welled up. The lady behind the counter told me to take my time. I told her I hoped this would only be temporary arrangement.
I applied for jobs. All sorts of jobs. I wasn’t expecting to get an academic position overnight but I thought I would get something that was halfway decent. I spent hours on some applications, days on others.
I didn’t even get an interview for any teaching or research positions but what was more surprising was my lack of success in applying for other work which I was more than capable of doing. It seemed the private sector weren’t falling over themselves to hire historians.
I got some occasional hours invigilating exams and doing instructional design work in UCC but nothing that lasted more than a few weeks. I graduated at the end of October, my family came down and it was a nice day, but underlying everything was a sense of anxiety. I still didn’t know how we were going to manage.
With our baby due in December I needed any kind of work fast. I applied for a temporary customer service role with Amazon in their Cork contact centre. This centre serves the UK marketplace. Seasonal work in Amazon is sort of an institution for a certain demographic in Cork.
My team were a mixed bunch and mostly overqualified. There was one other person with a doctorate but also a medical doctor, a computer programmer, a poet, a musician, a sports therapist and a variety of other people who really shouldn’t have been there.
They were a good bunch. Science fiction was openly discussed and critiques of consumerism were part of the daily routine…”
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at a press conference in 2014, and whistleblower Supt Dave Taylor (left)
Further to the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) planning a 24-hour withdrawal of services from 7am on Friday, and for such action to be repeated each Friday this month…
Irish Times reports:
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan is to issue an order later on Tuesday to all Garda members to turn up for work on Friday, when a mass withdrawal of service is planned.
In a move that will greatly increase tensions in the Garda pay dispute row, Commissioner O’Sullivan is ordering those whose shift falls on Friday to be present for work.
But she is also planning to cancel all rest days and all leave, meaning every member of the Garda will be ordered to be present at their posts and Garda stations on Friday.