22 September 2016

My Mum the 1960's Workplace Disruptor

Workplace culture can inspire disruption. This is a direct result of forward-thinking leaders who are not afraid of challenging the status quo; of having their own beliefs or ideas questioned to changing acceptable means of production.' quote Chicago Tribune 

It's been a hot topic for a while now with plenty of businesses and individuals writing content about disruption, myself included Five Digital Marketing Disruptions'. Disruption is not a new topic, it's been around for years, we don't always acknowledge what happened in the past.




Disruption in a Dry Cleaners

A few weeks ago I was chatting to my Mum about workplace disruption. She told me about her experiences in the workplace and in particular in the mid-1960's when she was employed at dry cleaners in Hull. Mum managed a team of five women and oversaw the Iron Presses, which involved skill and strength. The bosses son soon started at the company, and instead of working his way up through the ranks, he was fast-tracked to Management. 

This is nothing new, we've seen this happen before, but what really irked my Mum was the insistence of the bosses son Richard, being referred to as 'Mr Richard'. And to add insult to injury, one of her many tasks was to train 'Mr Richard'. She wasn't happy, he had been fast-tracked to Management with no experience and she was expected to pass on her knowledge and skill.


What happened?

She refused to call him 'Mr Richard', and simply called him Richard. The other employees were horrified and shocked she wasn't 'towing the company line' or 'showing respect'. Mum's response; 

"If he calls me Miss Christine, then I'll call him Mr Richard. They are expecting me to train him, pass on my expertise, knowledge and skill, respect works both ways."


My Mum Christine and Uncle Keith

Albert Einstein

Mum often used many quotes and sayings, "What part of No don't you understand" being one of her favourites, but the quote which had the most impact, 'If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got". This quote is attributed to Albert Einstein, but it's something Mum always quoted to my brother and me, using it as a source of inspiration to help us instil life changes or challenge the status quo.

"If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
Albert Einstein, German-born Theoretical Physicist and Mathematician


I say bravo to my Mum, a true 1960's Workplace Disrupter. From one simple act in a Dry Cleaners in Hull in the 1960's, Mum's refusal to call the bosses son Mr Richard has helped shaped who I am today. Thank you, Mum, for teaching me how to be strong, confident and brave.



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