It’s a been a while since I’ve been on one of my poorly-researched rants. So buckle-up folks!
Let me start this week’s blog with a disclosure. I don’t actually have any children. (*I believe this true at the time of writing.) I do however co-own a business. In fact, I co-own two. I was speaking to a candidate yesterday who suggested that being a director of a company must be better than being an employee. In many ways, and in a normal market, I’d absolutely agree. In my naivety, and before I ever became a director, I assumed my toughest decision right now would be which model’s bumhole to snort my cocaine out of. However, in a Covid world, our decisions this year have been mainly based on how we can keep the lights on AND retain all of our staff – albeit on a reduced salary. All sales-focused companies suffer with the polarity of “famine or feast”, but I really think we’re all due a bit of a feast some time soon thank-you-very-much.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. After an aggressive lockdown and the speed bump of “Lockdown 2: The Frustrating One”, both businesses, like an old heavyweight getting up off the mat on the referees eight count, came out swinging. There isn’t an Instagram model’s bumhole in sight yet, but we have seen a steady financial improvement across both Rice and JOYN. The team is back full time and things were starting to hum. And then something disruptive and totally unnecessary happened.
The School Holidays.
The world, seemingly not content with keeping parents locked up with their children for an extra two months, decided kids and parents needed another two weeks together. And, as a selfish recruiter who likes to rant via my blogs, this week, which should have represented another step closer to recovery, has been slow as shit. If you’re a recruiter working on more than three vacancies, you will have been affected by the school holidays. Either a client is away, a candidate is away, or both. And right now, when you work in an industry that is all about momentum, the last thing we need is absenteeism.
So hear me out on my argument and solution.
Kids currently get about thirteen weeks “annual leave” from school, plus stat days. This is taken at the same time for everyone. The outcome of this “en masse” exodus from the classroom is largely negative. All flights, hotels, and baches double or treble in price. Adults take what little leave they have when a school tells them to- not when suits their family. Non-hospo and tourism businesses die a death at the same times every year. Hospo and tourism businesses then have huge peaks and troughs, which screws cashflow and staffing rosters. Mums (typically) who would actually like to pick up their careers again are dissuaded to by the hassle of childcare over the almost non-stop school holiday calendar. And who, apart from the teachers, benefits from this madness? Once upon a time, school holidays weren’t really holidays. Certainly not for kids. They wouldn’t be at home, zapping goblins online, only pausing to scream for cheese on toast as their mum tries to take a dump in peace. Instead, they were back home working on the farm, or picking fruit, or in a treacle mine. These kids went on to build the Eiffel Tower and jump in front of horses for the suffrage movement. Today’s kids get trips to Queenstown and trampoline parks, and we wonder why so many young people are Tik-Tok obsessed narcissists?
So how about this for a better solution: Give all adults five weeks annual leave as a minimum instead of four, and an extra stat day whilst you’re at it. Give kids the same amount of annual leave. Allow parents to decide when they take their family on holiday. They can take their kids out of school at any time except exam time. Yes, kids would miss some stuff, but they’d still be at school for an extra EIGHT weeks a year! They’d be little geniuses. Tourism and hospo would see consistency. Parents, especially on low income, would be able to book flights and accommodation at the same rate as I can. Parents of both genders would have more options should they want to return to work. And I wouldn’t be sitting here leaving voicemails for clients who won’t call me back for two weeks.
So what are the drawbacks? Well, I’ll deal with a couple of obvious objections:
“But Sean. Kids get tired and they need a break”. Right. Kids don’t need a Happy Meal after Soccer until you take them for one. Then they need one every week. Kids a hundred years ago worked six days a week. We never had cheaper coal or cleaner chimneys. Being with your mates for six hours a day, five days a week, with five weeks holidays shouldn’t tire any kid out. If it does, send them to a military academy in Alaska. And give it a year under this new regime, and no one will remember any different.
“But what about teachers? They have a tough job and need the time to plan lessons”. Now, regular readers will know I’m a “loony leftie” who typically supports almost all public sector workers and trade unions. However, and as unpopular as my opinion may be, I have a lifetime of evidence to suggest a teacher is more likely to be trekking in Peru over the summer than sat behind their desk marking books. Sorry guys. I ain’t buying it. We can even pay them a bit more if they whinge too much. We’re in debt anyway right?
Anyway, Scott’s on the blog next week and I’m back once the holidays are over. Hopefully I’ll return to my happy-go-lucky self by then, but feel free to tell me I’m wrong in the comments in the meantime. Enjoy your Friday, be it at the desk or stuck in a queue at Butterfly Creek.