Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

When is a job not a job?

30 September 2011 by
When is a job not a job?

Pride of Britain chief executive Peter Hancock says hospitality needs people to do their jobs for passion and pride, as well as proper remuneration

Some of us are lucky enough to do jobs we actually enjoy but for far too many, work is a necessary evil, a chore that one grudgingly does in order to feed and house the family and that would be given up within seconds of a decent lottery win.

All over the country there are thousands of people doing work they hate, perhaps for bosses they do not respect. And I regret to say the hospitality industry is not immune from this unhappy state of affairs.

Granted, there are notable exceptions in the form of high achievers, at all levels, who love what they do and who are capable of inspiring the less fanatical within their teams. The general observation holds true, though, that most people if given a choice would rather not have to turn up day in, day out, for the paid employment that sustains them.

By contrast, when you ask people what they do to amuse themselves away from work they brighten immediately and can often demonstrate real passion for their preferred recreational pastime.

In my case, being on the water is about the most fun I know of without having to doff clothes. For others it might be cycling or pressing wild flowers. The critical thing is that these are activities we choose to do in our own time and are therefore the opposite of "work" even though they may involve a great deal of effort.

From time to time I repeat an earlier error and agree to play golf. It's not a bad way to kill a few hours and reasonably healthy, too, but if you're not very good at it the frustrations often outweigh the pleasure. Whenever I do play, however, I am astounded at the application so many golfers put into their game. Endless days of practice, the most expensive equipment, long agonising over which club to use in certain situations and, of course, the masochistic self-criticism when a shot has gone badly.

Just imagine how brilliantly our businesses would function if everyone put as much love and energy into their everyday work as they put, when time allows, into their leisure pursuits. Actually this is the case in a few forward thinking companies. For some there is no distinction between the two - the concert pianist, the master of wine, the entrepreneur, the racing driver, all of them make their living by doing what excites them and it would be foolish to believe that a chambermaid could expect to experience similar thrills while servicing yet another messy hotel room (notwithstanding the risk of being jumped on by French politicians).

I guess that's what wages are for.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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