DirectGov Jobcentre advertises for ‘Psychic Readers’
His Grace was a-twittering last night, trying to work off some of the additional ounces his ashes have acquired over the festive period (it doesn’t take much), and he overheard / eavesdropped / intercepted / hearkened unto a conversation between a few of his congenial fellow twitterers (is that what they’re called?) in which it was disclosed that a DirectGov Jobcentre website was advertising for 'psychic readers'.
The advertisement was still live at the time of posting (enter Job Ref: HAJ/40528 into the Job Title box).
It is a self-employed position, but we are told that the vacancy ‘meets the requirements of the National Minimum Wage Act’, so it guarantees more than £5.93/hr for psychics over the age of 21.
Psychics who are aged 18-20 will earn a minimum of £4.92/hr;
Those who are 16-17 will earn £3.64/hr;
And apprentice psychics will earn a minimum of £2.50.
But presumably they all know that.
The required hours are 37.5, but it’s all very flexible.
Which is really useful if you’re a psychic dreamer: you can earn while you sleep – a psychic teenager’s dream job.
The location of the vacancy is stated as ‘various’, but then specifies an ML3 postcode.
When you click on location in the ‘Transport Direct’ link at the bottom of the page, you get the full postcode as ML3 6BU. This is a road by the name of ‘Postgate’ in Motherwell.
This is not really local to His Grace, but he has decided to apply anyway.
The position is permanent, and applications close on 20 January 2011.
No details were specified for pension arrangements, but, presumably, you’re expected to know how long you might live and whether or not you’ll need one.
Job Description:Poor Scott.
Do you want to earn money using your natural gift from the comfort of your own home? We require up to 20 psychics to take advantage of our home worker opportunity, you will work in a self employed basis via our payroll partners. All HMRC deductions and running costs will be taken care of by our back office. All we require is that you have a landline, telephone, broadband/internet connection, pc literacy and of course the most important part, natural psychic talent. The Company has given an assurance that this vacancy enables workers to achieve a wage equivalent to the National Minimum Wage rate. Self-employed people are responsible for paying their own National Insurance contributions and Tax. For information on how benefits are affected, and whether entitlement may be lost, speak to a Jobcentre Plus Adviser.
How to apply
You can apply for this job by telephoning 0169 8892540 ext 0 and asking for Scott Brown.
He has absolutely no idea what’s about to come his way.
There are a few interesting aspects to this ‘job’ which are of interest to His Grace.
Firstly, psychic practices are strongly condemned in Scripture (Ex 22:18; Lev 19:26-26; 19:31; 20:6; Deut 18:10-11; Isa 8:19; Mal 3:5).
But we’ll set that one aside for the time being, not least because we are said to be in the post-Christian age in which all religions (and 'life philosophies') are equal; witches and wizards are able to absent themselves from their places of work on their holy days of obligation; and Satan worship is permitted upon Her Majesty’s naval vessels.
Yet His Grace would suggest that this ‘job’ is an absurdity, for how does one establish ‘natural psychic talent’?
Are there exams to sit? A degree to be acquired? References to be submitted?
Is there any objective assessment to fairly establish an aptitude for telepathy, clairvoyance or inexplicable omniscient divination?
And if one does not possess natural psychic talent, may one acquire it un-naturally? Be trained? Apprenticed?
The interesting thing is that DirectGov itself heeds the words of Scripture, and warns job-seekers that the ‘Top Five Frauds’ include ‘psychic scams’.
By juxtaposing ‘psychic’ and ‘scam’, they leave no room for real or genuine psychic pursuits: so when is ‘psychic’ not a scam?
Or does this juxtaposition manifest irrational prejudice or bigotry against a legitimate religious belief?
There was concern expressed by one of the foremost legal minds in the blogosphere (Jack of Kent aka DavidAllenGreen) that ‘it would appear that JSA could well be at stake if jobless person did not go for this f....t "psychic job".’
His Grace would like to reassure the unemployed that their Jobseeker’s Allowance is not likely to be affected by refusal to take this job, since they could simply claim non-qualification (ie lack of ‘natural psychic ability’). It is, however, an interesting job for those with an eye on anti-discrimination and equality legislation.
Is the lack of psychic ability a disability?
What might happen if such a disabled person were to apply?
What if a Christian or Jew were to apply, declare their propensity for the Pentateuch, and then be rejected.
It would be for DirectGov to ensure that neither they nor their client-advertiser is discriminating on the grounds of religion or belief, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.
While discrimination on grounds of religion or belief is automatically unlawful, the nature of religions or beliefs demands objective justification for disparate impact. The failure to be appointed to a job for which one is otherwise qualified is deemed by the Courts sufficient to constitute such discrimination. A charismatic Christian professing the gift of prophecy may indeed consider him or herself to manifest ‘natural psychic ability’, yet this be not quite the sort of ability the advertisers had in mind.
But a secular society must treat all people, whether believers or not, equally.
Ergo, a non-believer in the psychic and supernatural must have the right to apply for this job.
And if he or she fails to be appointed, again it would be for DirectGov to establish that neither they nor their client-advertiser is actively discriminating against the non-believer.
Beliefs often lead adherents to the need to manifest their closely held views in a way which may conflict with ordinary requirements of the work place: we are all now very familiar with the fate of those who wear a cross or offer to pray. There is not quite the same degree of privilege granted to belief as to (say) disability, so there is no compulsion upon an employer to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the wishes of the believer.
Although this is a self-employed position, it would be interesting to ascertain precisely what objective qualification is deemed by Scott Brown to be sufficient for consideration for the job. Vacancies requiring religious vocation are not usually dealt with by the local Jobcentre.
His Grace is thinking of applying.
He is, of course, unlikely to be appointed to the position.
Does such prescience constitute ‘natural psychic ability’?
Or should he simply inform Mr Brown that ‘psychic scams’ are condemned by by both DirectGov and Scripture?