Early One Morning


Only one more week left at work … one good thing is that I will be able to spend more time writing and catching up with Friday Fictioneers.  I haven’t done much ‘visiting’ recently and I want to say thank you for putting up with me and still visiting and commenting on my posts. 🙂

Thanks as always to Rochelle for making time in her very hectic schedule to continue to lead us- sympathies with the dental work, I’ve been in the same boat recently, painful. Thanks to to Ted Strutz for the intriguing photo this week.

25 March

Copyright Ted Strutz

Genre: Family history

Word Count: 100

Early One Morning

May woke her brothers. The room was dark and cold. Condensation collected in puddles on the windowsill. Ernest pulled the blanket tighter.

‘Ernest, Walter, wake up. There’s water for a quick swill, your clothes are on the chair. Hurry up, don’t wake the others.’

They walked together alongside the canal, huddled against the cold, breathing out clouds into the morning.

‘Boys, hurry up!  If we’re late and refused work today, Joe Stamford will dock our pay for the week. Think of ma and the bairns, come on!’

Joe Stamford watched them running across the yard and started to close the door.

                                  *******

A little bit of history… May in the story is my grandmother. She left school aged 12 and went to work in a cotton mill in Colne, Lancashire, with her two older brothers. They left home around 5.30am to walk the two miles to work every day. Conditions in the mills were very hard, if they were late one day, they were refused entry and could lose their pay for the whole week. They worked hard to support their mother and six other siblings as by now, their father was quite ill and without work for long periods of time.

This is a photo of her, much much later, with my grandfather on a rare day out to Blackpool. (Apologies for the quality.)

2016-01-30 13.10.11

Copyright D. Lovering

 

 

Before applying for that job vacancy – Are you sure you are ready for work?


 

JobSeekDuring the past few weeks I have spent a lot of my time interviewing candidates for a vacancy we had in our service department.  When you cut away all the job description jargon, the job is basically one of providing the best in customer service.

The ability to write clearly, spell most common words and know what numbers are, is a distinct advantage in this and I would dare to suggest, in most other jobs.

On-site training is provided, so an ability to understand and assimilate spoken instructions is also essential.

In the past, to save time, we have used recruitment companies to help find us the ‘perfect candidate’. My experience of using this method has left me very cynical.  Despite talks of ‘criteria’ and ‘job positioning,’  I find that inevitably I receive lots of CVs that bear no relation to the original ‘perfect candidate’ we first spoke about.  It seems sometimes that the recruitment company’s idea of finding the right candidate is a bit like testing if spaghetti is cooked, if you throw enough of it at the wall, some is bound to stick!

A recent article in the local paper about the level of unemployment in the 17 – 24 age group  pricked my social conscience and I placed an ad in the local job centre, giving a full description of the job and what was needed for a candidate to be successful. I was heartened and also saddened by the 145 replies I received via email.

I have often been criticised for being ‘too grammatically correct’ when writing an email – I tend to use capitals at the start of a sentence, proper words and spell them correctly and, horror of horrors, I break my message down into paragraphs to make is easier for the recipient to read.

This is an extract of one of the emailed CVs I received:

 I’m writeing about the job you put in the job centre as I think I could do it.  I am working as a carer at present but the moneys not much good and im a bit fed up and could do with a change.the only thing is the advert said I’d have to work some Saturdays and Friday night is mostly when I see my mates down the pub so I couldn’t do many Saturdays I hope that’s ok with you

There were a few that were really good, but too many were like the example above. They had no idea what a prospective employer was looking for. No grasp of how they should present themselves.

I asked about twenty people to attend interviews. Five just didn’t turn up or bother to get in touch; six were already receiving unemployment benefit and had no intention of working for me, just wanted me to sign their sheet to say they had turned up so their payment would continue. Surely this can’t be right?

Of the remaining nine, they all turned up on time and were reasonably well presented. I offered the job to a young man who I thought would work well with our team; he was young and bright and with training I thought he would do well.  I arranged some training days for him and spent some time re-organising the service reception area, setting up another work station in time for his first day. He didn’t turn up for work.  I rang his home to enquire if he was ill and his mother told me he had taken a job at a nearby Call Centre as ‘the money was a lot more than what you offered him.’

All this left me wondering just what happens these days when teenagers are getting ready to leave school. What sort of advice do they receive about the world of work?  Do they really have any idea what will be expected of them?  And, most important of all, do they get any advice or help from their parents and immediate family?

It’s all well and good government telling the private sector to buck up and take on more young people, whilst I fully  expect to offer them training to do the job, I don’t expect to have to give them training in basic courtesy and common sense.

 

 

 

Nothing wrong in asking for a pay rise


 

A recent survey by YouGov for the Sunday Times, found that British women are less likely to ask for either a pay rise or a promotion, than men.

I’m sorry, but this isn’t news to me and the findings don’t surprise me in the slightest.

Although women can manage the household budget and make most of the larger financial decisions at home, they are totally embarrassed about managing their own worth in the workplace.  One friend once confided that if she was worth a pay rise, then her boss would make sure she got one.  I wasn’t sure if she was scared of being told ‘No’ or not confident enough to ask.

Most men don’t seem to have the same reluctance, they also have more confidence to stand up for themselves and on average get paid more than  women doing the same job – (on a personal note, this has always seemed an appalling situation to me, employers should set a rate for the job irrespective of the gender of the person doing it.)

In these uncertain times, hanging on to a job, any job, it a top priority for men and women alike. Unfortunately, most of the low paid, part-time jobs are done by women and when cuts have to be made, this is where the axe usually falls.

I haven’t any solutions and perhaps it is just that women are more interested in the broader picture of life, than the narrow view provided by work; whatever the reason women do need to find more confidence in the workplace.

See the full YouGov survey results here