Demonising the positive

I am a courier for a living. I would rather put my skills to better use, but in the current climate finding work relating to my knowledge of renewable energy is proving tougher than I would have hoped.

One of the places I visit is the local further education college. In the stairwell is a notice saying (and I’m sorry I paraphrase) “Don’t allow your own self esteem to rely on putting down others.”

In the UK we, sad to say, have a problem with this. Particularly on an intellectual level. There is a need to vale everyone for their skills, abilities and qualities, and, well, just as human beings. But there is a tendency in society that instead of praising and valuing everyone, seeks to remove respect for and actively devalue knowledge, learning and technical ability.

He’s got tons of qualifications, but no common sense.

I looked for guidance but all I found was technobabble.

People are fed up of experts.

Huh? Speak English mate!

Let’s be clear, these attitudes are bullying, plain and simple. You don’t need to bring skilled and knowledgeable people down in order to value what others can bring to the table. You don’t need to make people’s skills and abilities seem pointless and worthless in order to give comfort to those who are not as strong or confident in those areas.

We need a society that values everyone, but we don’t achieve that by belittling and devaluing people we think have more respect than others, we do it by raising up others.

I’ve been here before. I’m still proud of the positive stand I took, but saddened at the lack of open support for my positive actions. And since then it’s got worse.

It’s not just learning and skills that raise the ire, general social attitudes do as well. The use of the term “do-gooder” by a person to put down someone who is being kind, positive or open-minded sums up the attitude. Over the past few years there has been a fightback from the spiteful and mildly xenophobic to paint those that stand up to them as the real problem. It’s worked and it’s poisonous.

These attitudes have even worked up to the top of government. People standing up for positive values are derided as sneering, people with an open attitude to nationality are sneered at. By the Prime Minister herself!

My hypothesis is this: that if you turn people against positive attitudes and behaviours then you create a climate in which aggressive and negative attitudes can flourish. To treat people who stand up for positive values as a problem rather than part of the solution is making matters worse and worse.



  1. nigel hunter

    Have considered going back to Uni, where they can have a placement system linked to an industry? Can agree with you on the scoffing, denigrating. I talk to people (part of my degree course many years ago) I find out their interests and steer them into directions to find information on how they can develop them. One example, I got chatting to a counter clerk at Morrisons he was interested in plumbing,gave him info. He is now on a course thinking of working part time on his own business. Could you find resources to open up your own business?See if others wish to join you.

    • rankersbo

      Actually already done that. Took a step back from work to look after my family, and did another masters- in renewable energy. I graduated a couple of years back but have not managed to get back to work. I had hoped the masters would have attracted recruiters to my CV but… no. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of scheme for linking graduates to opportunities- that’s not how their careers service works.

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