surinenglish

Oscar winner

It's such a rare pleasure to deal with professionals in any capacity. Unfortunately, of the scores of working people we've come across over the last three and a half years while running the pub, I'd say that only about ten per cent have managed a top quality job. We're talking about many different nationalities here, so it's a widespread problem. Sadly, it seems that most people are working in a field they're not very good at or not very interested in, or both.

What a joy, then, to meet Óscar the 'malagueño' electrician today. He arrived bright and punctual carrying a box of tools the size of Brazil, homed in on the three niggling problems we've been having, found the most effective solution for each one, charged a very reasonable amount and left with a cheery wave, presumably on his way to spread a little more professional sunshine around town.

What a difference compared to the two previous visits we'd been paid - one by a chap who brought no tools at all, asked if he could borrow a screwdriver (no, really) and then scarpered muttering something about being poorly parked but, actually I suspect, not knowing how to fix the problem. The other bloke arrived late, gave an exorbitant quote and pinged off sharpish presumably with the sound of my chin hitting the floor still ringing in his ears.

In almost every field I can think of from banks to mobile phone companies, from tradesmen to salespeople, the general level of incompetence is quite astonishing. I bet if I logged the time I'd wasted over a year rectifying what were all perfectly avoidable mistakes it would come to hundreds of hours. That's hundreds of hours that could have been dedicated to something far more productive, like downing a few pints, for example.

The reasons for this sorry state of affairs will almost certainly be varied and complex but careers advisors in schools might want to take a long hard look at themselves. Mine suggested I become an accountant because I was half decent at mental arithmetic. That's like recommending someone become a chef because they can open a tin of oxtail soup. Ironically, I got the distinct impression that that particular careers officer had chosen the wrong career.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to find job satisfaction, of course, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. It's good for the economy and spreads not a little sunshine into the bargain - just ask Óscar.