July 19, 2020

What makes our work of value?

Cara L McKee, 46

We’re told that people with more useful skills to offer get more pay but what skills should we value? Who gets to have them? What is the difference between invaluable / priceless / worthless? This poem is phrased as a single sentence, focused on my library work, because I find so many things in my work connected to this issue, from my own low pay and endangered position in a continuing climate of austerity to the experiences of library users who are unable to earn money, through unemployment, disability, and through caring – work we’re told is invaluable (without value). We need to recognise the value of the person, over the profit we make for businesses. I made the lines of this poem 12 syllables long with the content not quite fitting into that because none of us fit, and yet we find a way to go on within the framework we’re in, but I do believe we can change the framework, this late capitalism model isn’t working, but ideas like a citizen’s income, like a green new deal, could give us a way forward. We can only start by valuing people above profit.

Valuable, 2020Poetry