Fairy tale ending for Grotto workers
A former Chief Executive hit rock-bottom when, after a six-month spell of joblessness out in the cold, he was finally offered work: as a department store Father Christmas.
Far from being a winter wonderland where he could earn money and improve his self-esteem, he saw it as a hinterland; a place where he faced the daily indignity of losing face in front of his community after a career of decision-making. He simply couldn’t swallow his pride and so refused the post.
A recent Rathbone survey of young people showed that they, at least, had less scruples when it came to what some might term ‘menial work’. Contrary to the media stereotype of the lazy teen, young people said that they were desperate to work; with well over 90% prepared to do so for minimum wage. Some would even enter the Grotto as supermarket Santa – despite the teenage obsession with self-image!
Included in that group was Chorley lad Michael Old, whose ambition is to be a cleaner. The 16-year-old often gets ragged about this career choice. As Lily Savage once famously joked: “I got off a plane at the airport desperate for a fag and the cleaner said to me, “No smoking – can’t you read?” To which I replied, “of course I can read, that’s why I’m not a ******* cleaner!”
But as Michael knows, without cleaners our society simply couldn’t function. Hospital operations wouldn’t happen; schools, colleges and offices couldn’t exist and streets would be impassable and unusable.
We should also remember that for some people, career choice is limited. Society’s snobbery means that any dignity they earn in their daily labours is too often ridiculed with little justification.
Canny young people have also twigged that doing the jobs others won’t, can be an avenue for future progress. It is an opportunity to prove yourself, as school cleaner Hayden discovered when he successfully completed early morning and late evening shifts. He moved on to the office and is now a bursar at a Manchester high school.
Better still was the marketing executive who began her career – as a chip! Working for a leading frozen food manufacturer, her first role was as the company’s mascot – attending events and hitting streets to promote the product. Her personable attitude helped her make massive progress and having learned the ropes of sponsorship, fundraising and public relations, she has since held posts at several leading charities.
Similarly, a young lad who was an elf at Santa’s Grotto used that experience to bolster his performing arts CV! He was viewed by subsequent employers as a real all-rounder, capable of communicating with others and of course, playing a believable role!
Before dismissing what some see as demeaning, why not…
- Think about what it could lead to and examine the contacts you could make. Your boss may have another opening for that ambitious employee they’ve just seen and that customer you served could make you a job offer – if you impress.
- Realise that what the snob looks down upon might actually be a vital career. Some even dismiss the role of a receptionist and yet they are a company’s face and the first impression any potential client sees.
- Take a look at the pay packet! Some jobs, particularly when working unsociable hours compensate
very nicely indeed!