Business Insight 6 – Meritocracy (blog & vlog)


We got married in September 1973 and returned from our honeymoon (a week in a caravan in the New Forest) to the rooms above the shop: a mattress on the floor, a loo and a cold tap. It’s no wonder that my future Mother and Father-in-Law were horrified that their lovely daughter was actually going to marry this dreamer.

Something had to happen and happen very quickly.

Jaeger wouldn’t give me a rise of £5 to £33 per week; this would have given me parity with a colleague who was older but not as qualified, and working in another factory in Sussex. I used to have to go to his factory once a week to sign off his work as a requirement of the powerful trade union. I was told that I had to be more patient, however I had just got married and needed to find somewhere to live and the extra money meant that our combined (including my wife’s) wages would give us the multiple required to get a mortgage to buy a 2 bed flat.

Alpine Double Glazing were advertising for salesmen and were offering £40 per week plus commission (this actually turned out to be a lie as there was no basic, it was commission only). I went for an interview and was offered a job which I accepted, believing that they were going to pay me £12 per week more in basic than I was already earning, plus commission. I handed my notice in and was then offered the £5 increase by Jaeger, but decided that if that’s what it took to get a rise it was probably a good time to move on anyway.

INSIGHT 6:- Don’t work for anybody who doesn’t run a meritocracy. Even though I was younger than my colleague, I was actually better qualified and better at my job. He only had the advantage of age, as he was five years my senior and married with kids (a factor which was apparently more important salary-wise to my employer, until I handed my notice in).


To access the ‘vlog only‘ section of Advice, click here.

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