Monday, 26 July 2010

A job for a conductor

But not as a conductor

I knew a bloke once. He said that he hated psychologists. He called them parasites upon society and upon more productive people. He regarded the professional skills of those who earned a living as psychologists as bogus and self-indulgent. He did not put any of this as politely as I have here, indeed he used to be quite rude about them.

He was a psychologist himself, which granted him a certain entitlement to speak in this way. Indeed, he was head of a large psychology department at a British university.

I was visiting him one day some years back to talk about a PhD student whom we were jointly supervising, and over lunch he had his usual rant about psychologists' being a total waste of space. 'But,' I protested.'you have just been boasting to me that your own psychology department now churns out more psychology graduates each year than any other psychology department in the country.'

'Ah yes', he said, 'but hardly any of them go on to jobs as psychologists. They get all sorts of jobs, in all sorts of fields, doing all sorts of things – and they do them all the better for having a good undergraduate education in psychology. I'd hate it if they became psychologists, what a terrible waste that would be' (again, expletives deleted).

I have to admit despair when I come across so much of the work of psychologists, where it abuts on to the CE sector, and elsewhere too. What appalling tosh most of it is, made all the worse by a singular lack of moral fibre. What criminal misuse of public money. All this notwithstanding, I retain a sneaking regard for a psychological education – and I have my own entitlement for this, from a very long time ago.

I still try to keep abreast, I look at The Psychologist most months to see what psychologists are up to. My flesh crawls when I see the preposterousness and futility of so many of their preoccupations, and it has granted me considerable Schadenfreude to see the appalling, disastrous consequences of their naive, expensive political campaign to become 'recognised as professionals'. Even so, I still find things of interest there in the rag. I still feel an affinity...

A month ago I met a former (psychology) student of mine, now retired. Our paths have diverged widely but is was so easy to talk. I felt an affinity. I was with with one of my own.

Even so, for a very long time now, when someone says – as people do – 'But you're a psychologist', I have whipped back with 'I am most certainly not. I have not done any psychology for years', by which token I stopped being a psychologist around 1984 or slightly before. After 1984, I was an odd-job jack-of-all-trades in Conductive Education, to which role the discipline of psychology certainly has made some sort of contribution, however much I deprecate persisting biologistic and deterministic tendencies within Western psychologies.

A job in New Zealand

I have been told about an interesting  job going in New Zealand:

Lifestyle Coordinator / Community Connector
Location Waikato
Date now
Exciting New Role
Do you want to be part of an organisation whose purpose is to help people be 'the very best they can be'? IRIS is an organisation that is driven by the courage and persistence of people who deal with the challenge of disability every day.
Community Connector
The Community Connector position is a dynamic role that requires a person with a high level of energy, patience and someone who wants to make a difference to people's lives. You will be a member of our Hamilton Community Living team, working between 30 and 35 hours per week.
One of the key responsibilities of this role will be helping clients to develop and then achieve their personal goals. This will involve building strong relationships with leaders, teachers and influencers within your local community.
Specific areas of responsibility include:
  • Assist in the development of person centred plans with each person in the service
  • Supporting people to achieve their goals
  • Working across multidisciplinary teams within IRIS
  • Building relationships within the community
  • Working with different groups, associations and clubs in the local community to create opportunities for our people to attend classes or courses
  • Working with community groups to develop specific activities that will meet the needs of our people
Planning and coordinating each day and week to ensure our people can take part in all activities.
You will have experience in working in a community setting together with an advanced knowledge and understanding of disabilities. You will also be familiar with your community and the resources available.  Preferably you will have a health or social service related qualification.
If this sounds like the opportunity you have been looking for, then apply online today!


There could be nobody specifically trained for such and odd-job, jack-of-all-trades job. The right person, from all sorts of backgrounds, could make a good fist of it – even a psychologist.

But the right conductor might do it better than anybody.

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