One morning, a guy of roughly my age attempted to attract the attention of one of the medical professionals stood close to his bed. “Nurse,” he called. Said medical professional responded with a terse “I am not a nurse, I am a junior doctor” and turned on her heels as if the man had hurled some unspeakable insult or slur in her direction.
On another occasion, an elderly gentleman knocked to the ground the bottle of hand sanitiser that is attached to the foot of each and every bed as scant protection against the spread of MRSA. The bottle landed at the feet of the ward sister who assured the man “don’t worry. I will get someone to pick it up.” Apparently, bending down is not in a ward sister’s job description.
There were countless other examples of this “it’s not my job” attitude made worse by a management structure that was less ladder and more mille-feuille; thousands upon thousands of individual layers with each bound not to step into the zone of another.
How different to the world of demolition. For although everyone on site has a prescribed job and each job is governed by specific training and enforced by an increasingly onerous and intrusive card scheme, we don’t do pigeonholes. If there’s a bit of scrap lying about that might cause injury, anyone from a site operative to the managing director will pick it up and put it where it belongs. During intense overnight possessions, it is not unusual to see a senior director wielding a broom or fetching the tea and coffee for the crew.
I am immensely proud that my country had the foresight to create a system to provide free healthcare for all its citizens, not just a privileged few. I am enormously proud of the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals that work ridiculous hours for pitiful rates of pay to care for often thankless others.
But I am rather more proud of the demolition industry in which petty empire-building and overly-strict adherence to prescribed job descriptions are not allowed to stand in the way of getting the job done.