The reality is that everyone has a part to play in being more considerate in the way we think about and therefore respond to others.
Social Mobility is an issue that affects people of all ages. Contrary to accepted thinking, Social Mobility is also and issue that affects people from ALL backgrounds too. Yet again, we fall into the trap of believing that Social Mobility issues only affect people that society classes as being financially poor.
For example, at one end of the spectrum:
A school teacher, early in their career, who lacks self-awareness and perhaps confidence too, can easily create challenges for a student that they find difficult, that they wouldn’t create if they had the benefit of understanding that wasn’t available to them that day. That student could indeed be one of those children who had come from a very challenging home environment, where the support for academic learning simply wasn’t available. Their poor behaviour was nothing more than a behavioural cry out for help and support, when they had neither the maturity nor the ability to elucidate what was going on for them. They probably worried about what the reaction of other students or the teacher would be if they even tried to do so and then when they are punished or singled out, they just have the feeling that they are not worth anyone’s time confirmed, and the whole process just becomes one further step entrenched and yet another step away from them ever finding a way out.
A senior manager is interviewing external candidates for a junior to middle management role in a corporate environment. The shortlisting went well and there are 5 candidates that on paper all achieved score levels against each and every part of the Job Description that indicates they are good for the job – subject to who comes first on interview day. The manager is looking forward to meeting one of the candidates, as beyond the scope of the questions he believes that she has experience that would bring added value to the role and has the potential to make him look very good. When the candidate walks in, the first thing that the Senior Manager notices is not the smile, or the effort that the girl makes to greet everyone with the confidence that reflects her qualifications and experience that was acknowledged by here invitation to attend interview, it’s the fact that she is tattooed from head to toe. The manager sees and hears nothing else apart from the internal dialogue that’s suggesting what an animal and source of trouble this woman could now be. It didn’t matter that the girl would have taken the Managers sales targets into a different league by the end of month 3, or that he would have had a promotion after six months because of how good his recruitment had been. It certainly didn’t matter that the girl had broken every societal shibboleth to get to that interview, having been the first from her family to even get GCSEs or A Levels – let alone the postgraduate degrees that had taken years of extra working part time jobs. His decision based on nothing but that innate prejudice against tattoos and what being tattooed actually means, meant that the company, all the people who worked there and all of their customers had lost out on years of growth and innovative product development, because instead of recruiting the best candidate because they looked different, they recruited a man who looked the part, but would not seven years later become the divisional head and later Company CEO.