Jobs For The Girls

“Get a job with a pension” was the plea of Alan Pickering’s’ parents. He did. He became a pensions guru. Someone has to do it and there is no reason why a man without sight but with plenty of vision couldn’t do the job. He did so well at it he got a gong.  This is what he said about how he got there.https://www.pensionsage.com/pa/Guest-comment-Vision-without-sight.php

Not everyone gets the benefit of support as they make that transition from school to the world of work. #Shappi Kharsandi, tells the story about how, with looming poor grades at A ‘Level, her school thought she wasn’t university material, but she had such a bubbly and outgoing personality. They recommended she become a holiday rep. She wondered, if she had been at a half way decent fee paying school, how that conversation might have run: “We think that while you might not be university material you’ve got such a bubbly and outgoing personality, we recommend you become Foreign Secretary.”

There’s something in this. Expectation is everything. It can enable you to grow into the person you think might want to become. If people don’t have much of an expectation what is to become of you?

In my final year of school, I was summoned to my housemaster’s sitting room for a careers discussion. When I got there, he was sitting in an arm chair, smoking a cigar, glass of whisky on the table, reading #Playboy. “Sir,” I protested. “You’re reading a porn mag.”

“She reads Homes and Gardens,” he said in his own defense, giving a cursory nod in the direction of his wife who was, curled up on the sofa, absorbed in the world of interior designs.

A silence hung between us until he put his “reading” matter down. I waited. “Well, I don’t have any advice to offer.” Then he went on to offer his equivalent of “you might not be university material but you’ve got a bubbly personality.”

“Being a blind bat and as gobby as you are, we had just better hope that you can find yourself a very old rich husband to marry. With luck, he’ll die and leave you all his money, but not if you’re too gobby.”

The Careers Counsellor had a more considered approach.  He asked me what I had in mind. I explained that I was thinking of a career in the arts or the law. It was the seventies. A lot of episodes of #Crown Court had shaped my view of my potential to put a better argument and a better performance. If the law wouldn’t have me, maybe I could act and just pretend.

“How much do you weigh?’ he asked.

“No idea,” I answered.

“You’re quite a hefty girl and not a lot of sight I note, I’d recommend you consider basket weaving.”

As recommendations go, being bubbly and a potential holiday rep, or even Foreign Secretary, would be a considerable step up from being a basket case. I mean this in the nicest way imaginable to weavers, but this was not what I had in mind.

I wondered what was wrong with these people? What was it about them that meant they had no vision? Why could they not see the life of adventure that I could see for myself?

It was listening to #Shappi Khardandi that bought it all back: The #Playboy magazine, the smoking teacher drinking whisky in the afternoon, careers advice that was not careers advice at all. It was the seventies. Shappi was feeling rather smug about how it turned out. I know what she means.  I’m more likely to annoy than make people laugh as much. Oh heck, I’m feeling pretty smug about it too.

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