Monday, December 25, 2006

[downwardly mobile] clever move for professionals

A prestige job gets the girl

When the Thunderdragon came out with his post on shelf-stacking, it caused much mirth:

Thus, over Christmas, the busiest time of the year in supermarkets, I shall be spending most of my time stacking shelves for not enough money.

Shelf stacking really is a horrible job. It is boring, uninteresting and monotonous. You could probably train an ape to do it... though I doubt most people would be willing to buy their fruit and veg from them... Something I have never understood is how some people can be willing to spend their entire working lives stacking shelves in a supermarket.

I say:

Not so fast. I am in a job where brain fatigue is the greatest danger. My consultancy work has me preparing 10 to 30 minutes for each hour face to face and as the preparation needs to be done during ‘non-working hours’ and as it is intensive and as it clashes with Blogging, which is also intensive, the result is burnout. So the idea of doing a shift, driving a train, say, clocking on and clocking off and not having to think the whole time, well – it looks to have its merits.

To do shift work stacking shelves doesn’t seem too bad then, saving one’s brain for the other working hours. We’re talking sanity and lifestyle here and it seems I’m not alone:

Bankers, teachers and chemists are leaving their professions to become train drivers, research has found. Flexible hours and a salary which can top £35,000 a year were among the main attractions, drivers union Aslef said. A life in the cab traditionally drew applications only from those already working on the railway.

More here …


Ian said...

Funnily enough, my brother used to work in local government until earlier this year. Guess what he does now? Thanks for posting this, I hadn't realised he was part of such a marked trend.

ThunderDragon said...

The difference between shelf-stacking and train driving, however, is that shelf stacking certainly doesn't pay £35,000 a year.

Working for 40 hours a week, a shelf-stacker at my supermarket (which has high pay compared to most) could earn £13,500-odd a year. Of course there can be double-time for bank holidays, but working all of them could barely earn you that much more!

Shelf-stacking itself is a job that requires a virtually no thought. A sufficiently-trained ape could do it. No shelf-stacker I know likes their job - including those who have done it for nearly a decade - or more!

Whilst I can see how at first-glance not having to think in your job might be nice, after a while it becomes monotonous and excruciatingly boring.

james higham said...

Yes, of course there's a difference between train driving and shelf stacking and the latter is hardly a career move.