Saturday, 21 December 2013

Two more work days until Christmas

Saturday is not normally a work day for me but here I am, covering for someone today. On the way I shall pick up the apprentice at 8.40am for a 9am start. As no-one really clocked that I was in today I have a very quiet schedule so I am hoping that maybe I can wangle a small treatment for myself. That would be a treat.

Whereas Monday is just ridiculous with almost every moment from 10.30am through to 6.30pm back to back with clients squeezing in. Thank goodness I pencilled in a 20 minute break to rest my arms after one huge block of intensive work otherwise I am sure there would have been no hesitation to fill it all.There are no lunch breaks, no tea breaks. Nothing. We've become a spineless nation with no employment rights any more.

The apprentice I am picking up used to be one big pain in the backside and detrimental to the business that all us staff wondered what our boss was up to. Our boss can be really hard and strict at times with us on the one hand and yet on the other a real sweetie. She is the sort that takes in stray dogs and wants to nurture the broken and wounded. The thing is, business is business and you have to protect it. I don't think any of us regular staff could understand the battering she has allowed the business to take with an apprentice who could be surly and slap dash and unreliable but probably worst of all, seemingly confident with wrong information to clients about matters outside of her knowledge base or remit. Or perhaps the unreliable was the worst when a client came for their treatments and we had to turn them away because the apprentice had not come in once again.

To be fair, this apprentice has great potential. I've experienced a lot of trainees during my training and not many have "the touch". A nice firm touch during a facial is essential and she has it when she can be bothered.

Several final warnings later and then finally notice to quit, the apprentice has finally pulled her socks up. She is now a joy to have around and beginning to be a real asset. For some reason she likes to work with me, or at least she says she does! I keep her occupied when I can and she knows I do the dirty jobs too. I share things I have learnt and I have no hesitation to ask her to do something such as make me a cuppa which is a big thing for me. I do not ask anyone for anything unless I feel secure asking. What is more, on those days when I am back to back and she isn't, she will help me by bringing cuppas and cleaning up. When apprentices are busy with clients and I am not I will assist them so I tend to be egalitarian on that score.

What I have discovered from this apprentice is how she did not originally want to do this job nor career and now she does and that, with the notice to quit, has helped her to change her mind and to apply herself. The other apprentice originally started off well, seemingly so in stark contrast to the first apprentice, and is now a different sort of nightmare. I know she clearly resents the whole idea of an apprenticeship and working for little money in the way young people think the world owes them a living.

My son was once an apprentice but he never gave me that impression but I think he was a nightmare with one employer who finally had to let him go. And now I know of someone else becoming an apprentice. Something I think I have realised that is inherent in apprentices is that it was never their first choice so they are always going to be dissatisfied. Employers see apprentices as a cheap work option, even my lovely boss although she has stayed more than the distance and provides lots of opportunities and specialist training. There is so much commitment to having an apprentice and it is no easy option.

I never thought I'd say this but such a pity our first apprentice is not in at work with me on Monday as I really could do with her support.

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