THERE’S nothing at all wrong with the different occupations and services upon which we all depend. We respect and admire them so why do so many let us down or disappoint us? It is difficult for most of us to grasp why politicians, the judiciary and policemen are so out of touch with popular sentiment.
We appreciate hotel cleaners far more than we value those of higher status. In theory all but rogues should respect the police and courts: On the contrary the police and judiciary often dismay us yet oddly they attract the contemptuous gratitude of criminals.
We respect doctors but health centre receptionists are often deplored for their brusque discourtesy. Journalists by nature must be enquiring and challenging but some are merely palace journalists. They toe the establishment mantra (Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq etc). Oh, we know that in all professions there are saints and sinners but allow me to generalise.
There are many callings which we look up to. Seafarers and those in the fire service, road workers, farmers, nurses and carers, but why do we loathe town hall functionaries and telecommunications providers?
The answer lies in the kind of people often attracted to these occupations. One needs an aggressive competitive streak to become a fighter pilot or train as a footballer. Those who are outgoing and confident of their abilities will find a career in sales stimulating. Entrepreneurs are visionaries and ambitious and so it goes on.
Those attracted to the police or security services get pleasure from uniforms and authority. Civil servants and teachers prefer a job that is secure; offers early retirement; plenty of holidays and perks. Such job applicants, in my opinion, get unfairly high pensions.
One career appeals to those for whom experience and qualification are not required. It helps if you’re an immoral confidence trickster. Your chances of job selection are further enhanced if, despite your personal failings, you are convinced that you are right and everyone else is misguided. These job applicants make a beeline for parliaments; birds of a feather flock together.
Most us lead near blameless lives and our lies tend to be small and white. We don’t dip our fingers in the till, make up the rules as we go along, or make decisions that reflect badly on others. This is why parliamentarians don’t understand how we tick and we in turn cannot understand them.
The celebrated author and poet Rudyard Kipling summed politicians up perfectly when his pen traced the immortal words: “I could not dig: I dared not rob / Therefore I lied to please the mob / Now all my lies are proved untrue / And I must face the men I slew / What tale shall serve me here among / Mine angry and defrauded young?”
Who defines status when the market trader and the barrow boy are held in higher esteem than the banker and the lawyer? When we think of cowboy practices, fairly or not, we think of builders.
In 20 years direct dealing with contractors I have yet to meet one whose ethics didn’t stand head and shoulders above some professionals who do sell themselves on integrity. It seems to me that the answers to all our problems lie in the personnel department, these days called human resources. Sadly they are not renowned for being resourceful and many successful applicants are far from being human.