Work Experience Reconsidered — Part 3
My third job was very similar to the second one but in a completely different environment and setting. Having moved from Helsinki to London, I decided to explore the travel market by apply to different travel agencies. Little did I know that London travel agencies were a far cry from the ‘elite’ one I had worked for in Saint Petersburg. The travel agency where I got a place was called First Choice. It had many branches with one positioned in Richmond, Surrey, where I happened to live. I spent zero money on travelling to work, for I walked from my home to the agency. It took me 2 minutes. My lunches cost me very little as I ate at home during an hour lunch break. These were the positive points. The rest was less glowing.
The salary I received was official but constituted of 500 GBP, after tax and different pension and etc payments which was not many or high as the basic salary was so low. Just for information, the rent for the flat where I lived in with my husband cost 1,300 GBP per month. My salary was just a third of the rent price.
My colleagues certainly were not that lucky and did not live in Richmond, Surrey. They lived in council flats in other areas of the borough and had to take bus to work. Although First Choice sent its employees on a week-long training, this could not compensate for the general lack of education of my colleagues whose geographical knowledge was minimal. When asked to book a trip to Zurich they would run to me to ask where that ‘blooming’ town was located.
As employees of First Choice we had to wear uniform — a shirt, a jacket, and a skirt. As it was autumn when I started I quickly noticed that my colleagues do not wear tights and walk about with bare legs when it is rather chilly. To my question why so, they replied that they do not have money to waste on such trivialities. Their salaries as mine were the same 500 GBP.
After three months of working at the First Choice I thought that I had enough and changed the job.
The conclusion: if an organisation or a company calls itself First Choice they should really think whom and why they hire and for what salaries. Obviously, low salaries do not attract the best people. But then, even with the best salary one would not be able to find great people if general level of education in the country is rather low.
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