The state giveth and the state taketh away
I work in the public sector. In the NHS, specifically. In Audiology. Hearing and balance.
To do my job in the private sector is tricky. There are precious few equivalents. An exact equivalent (working in a private hospital) would mean working in London, or doing consultancy work and I am not a suitable position financially or career-wise to do so. The alternative (being a hearing aid dispenser in a high street branch) often utilises unpleasant tactics, poor standards, far too much emphasis on sales, and is considerably limited in terms of the scope of the job.
- I consider myself lucky. The private sector effectively pays my wages. Via the government. I am very grateful for this. It allows me to do my job impartially, with no element of self-motivation as regards the care I provide.
- I will never reach the dizzying heights of salaries available in the private sector. I’m ok with that. I have ambition as regards my career. I want to reach as high as I can. I want to be involved at high levels. Because there I can do the most good, I can get the best job satisfaction and the most enjoyable challenges of the job.
- I have excellent conditions. Lots of holiday, sick pay (which I will only use if I am genuinely sick), the opportunity for flexible working, a good pension and an incremental pay scale.
- I don’t need 27 days holiday (plus bank holidays). I effectively don’t even work a full 11 months out of the year. Ridiculous. I don’t need a pension that good. I can save money. There are private pension schemes I can enter. I most certainly do NOT need an automatic pay rise every year as if it were my DUE???? I can work hard, excel and be offered a pay rise in accordance with my performance. And if I want it badly enough, I will get it.
- I am also in the hands of the government. This is far from an ideal position to be in. They can choose to interfere and meddle at will. They can slash pensions, they can cause redundancies, they can close hospitals, they can kick entire fields out of the NHS (as is likely to happen with mine if we don’t get our act into gear and evolve to meet the needs of Lansley’s health bill).
- I have made my peace with this. I will not rely entirely on my terms and conditions staying the same. I will not trust the government. I will put into place contingencies, personal savings and other investments to ensure my long term security. I am in charge of my own destiny. The government will, undoubtedly, try to mess with it. It is up to me to ensure they cannot do so irreparably.
I am not, never have been, nor ever will be a member of a union. Biting that hands that feeds me is stupid. I work in the public sector in order to serve the public. I am proud to do so and I am paid to do so. I will not let my patients, colleagues or managers down by going on strike.
The state giveth and the state taketh away. Public sector workers should accept this, or move on.