Bob a Job

First of all, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and Santa brought you what you asked for!

Looking through the business section of Sunday’s Telegraph , I saw this article (it is also in Monday’s Independent) about the revival of Bob a Job week or Scout Job week.

Bob a Job week was introduced in the late 1940’s as a way of raising money for Scout Groups. The basic premise was that a Cub or Scout would knock on the doors of people in their street and ask to do jobs for the people in return  for a ‘bob’. A ‘bob’ was the slang name for 1 Shilling which was part of the pre decimal monetary system we had in the UK prior to 1971 and to quote Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman in the book ‘Good Omens’

the British resisted the contaminated foreign notion of decimal currency for a long time because (a) it was foreign; and (b) they thought it was too complicated.

1 Shilling when decimalised was the equivalent of 5 pence and as an example 1 Shilling in, say, 1960, would be worth around £2 today.

The name of Bob a Job week was changed to Scout Job week sometime after decimalisation as it was wanted to get away from only getting 5p for a job. Indeed I can remember being somewhat miffed at doing a load of work for someone in the early 1980’s and only getting 5p!

I know our Cub Pack always participated in Job week and Akela, or to give him his official title ‘Dad’, gave prizes to the three Cubs who raised the most money. I don’t remember doing it in Scouts though.

Job week was stopped in that form in the 1990’s when, quite rightly, there were concerns about young kids knocking on stranger’s doors asking to come in and do jobs for them. And so other ways of raising money were devised. Although there was an attempt to revise it in 2001 by getting Groups to do bag packing in branches of Asda (I was so pleased to spend my birthday that year, on my day off, bag packing in the store where I worked!).

It seems as though the Scout Association are to re-launch it in 2012, but with more of a business feel to it. The idea is being run by the chief exec of an insurance company who is also a Scouting Ambassador, who says –

We want young people to come together as teams rather than working individually – it’s about putting the Scouts back at the heart of the community.

I was a Scout and I had 11 business learnings before the age of 20. The biggest single one is making things happen and getting on and doing it. It is about determination and persistence, never giving up and sticking with it. It’s what makes good Scouts and good business leaders.

I have to admit that I do like the idea of Job Week as it does instil into the Scouts that we can’t just get something for nothing and they have to work to get the money. It will also be interesting to see how it all works out with the business context.

I’m sure more information will be released in the near future and I’m sure I’ll be writing about it!