Thursday, April 24, 2008

When I grow up I want to be an astronaut

Apathy Jack writes:

How a junior doctors' strike works:

Junior Doctors "We're paid a hell of a lot, but that doesn't take into account the hours we work, or the stresses of the job. We've tried for some months to negotiate, but it simply hasn't worked, so, although we'd rather not, we have no option but to go on strike."

Media and Public "HOLY FUCKING JESUS! IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!! WE'RE DOOMED!!! DOOMED!!!! WHY ISN'T THE GOVERNMENT ACTING?!!!! SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE!!!!!! WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!!!!one!!!"


How a teachers' strike works:

Teachers "We're paid... well, a living wage, but really nothing compared to most of the skilled professions out there, and it doesn't take into account the hours we work, or the stresses of the job. We've tried for, well, years actually, to negotiate, but it simply hasn't worked, so, although we'd rather not, we have no option but to go on strike."

Media and Public "Get back to work, you lazy fucking hippies."

Teachers "But..."

Media and Public "What part of get back to work don't you understand? We're sure as hell not going to raise our own children, so get back to work and stop fucking whining."

...

Yes, I am bitter - remarkably so - thanks for noticing.

9 comments:

Randominanity said...

Brilliant, simply brilliant.

And that's the opinion of a journalist whose parents were teachers.

T-Bird said...

Right on, Jack.

Truth Seeker said...

(IMHO) The treatment of these groups is largely a function of the political agenda of the media outlet concerned.

That Morthos Stare said...

Speaking with a senior surgeon, as is my occasional want, over dinner last week I was told that, actually, the whole working hours thing the Junior Doctors are complaining about is really a problem of their own making; they choose to work the additional shifts (usually in other hospitals outside their local DHB) because its good money, not because they necessarily have to...

Paul said...

Speaking with a junior doctor, who was one of the strikers and who I see about twice weekly, I can confirm that, shockingly, 70+hr working weeks for what amounts to $25 ph is not really anyone's idea of a good time.

"They choose to work the additional shifts (usually in other hospitals outside their local DHB) because its good money, not because they necessarily have to"

That's completely absurd. I hunted down a little under a dozen doctors last year and talked to them extensively about their careers (disclosure: I was considering med at the time) . Most of them regretted getting into the profession, and their number one complaint was the crippling lifestyle that left extremely little time for families, etc, anything outside of work.
Given that shit rolls downhill, we can be pretty sure that junior doctors cop it worse than their more senior counterparts.

Most of the junior doctors I know work such hours in order to progress in their field, combined with the nationwide shortage of doctors- there simply aren't enough doctors around to cover the hours of work needed. And we sure as hell aren't succeeding in attracting many competent overseas-trained doctors (of which I know several). Why would they come here? Obviously we can't compete pay-wise, but we seem to be doing our best to fail on the lifestyle benefits aspect as well.

Jack:
Just because Teachers (a profession I admire greatly) aren't often given appropriate respect or remuneration, it does not follow that Junior doctors' concerns aren't valid.
Also, just by way of correction; the junior doctor issue has -like yours- been going on a hell of a lot longer than 'some months'.

This document refers to Junior Doctor (RMO) strikes in 1985, 1992 and 2006. That's probably not a complete list either.


Just like you would feel contempt for people outside of the education system laying hasty criticism before talking to actual teachers; I recommend talking to the ones who have the grievance before dismissing the issue.

Anonymous said...

Nice comment Paul, but I didn't think Jack was criticising junior doctors - rather, that he was sympathising with them...

I agree there seems to be a public sector life-draining vortex hovering over Aotearoa. I blame Judith Tizard (absentee Labour MP for central Auckland, and living vacuum).

T-Bird said...

I also read Jack's piece to be more along the lines of the completely frustrating way society in general reveres the medical profession, yet expects more for less from the teaching profession.

I don't think it was critical of people who choose to be doctors at all - just the bewildering fact that your concerns are more readily listened to and accepted.

Long hours? I'm familiar with those. Most of us would be, to be honest. That's the misconception that really grates on my nerves.

Amnion said...

Well speaking as a doctor who lives with a teacher

Yes the weird distinction between two service professions seeking better conditions has struck me too.

Teachers should be paid more, much more

And doctors should have 13 weeks holidays

Yes! She scores! She wins

Dya think they'll fall for it?

Amnion said...

Morthos actually its usually more a case of "We have no cover for tonight, who will work, we'll pay you more" and knowing if one of you doesnt say yes everyone else is shat on trying to do that work.

So 'not having to' is more of an illusion than a fact, for those of us who care about our colleagues ..and there are more than you may think! Chronic understaffing leads to this situation often, and people work because having no cover affects everyone and it sucks

Sometimes choice is no real choice

And what seniors see as choice is really compulsion to help your friends lest it be you left in the lurch one day when no one 'chooses' to work to cover an unfilled shift.