A knock on the door

I was expecting a parcel and when there was a knock at the door I hurried to open it. Instead of our post lady dressed in orange, there was a young man standing there. I guess he was in his early twenties, very smartly dressed, and had obviously taken care over his appearance with tidy hair and beard.

I think I guessed what he wanted before he even spoke. He politely told me that he had some information about energy use – and I stopped him right there. I told him in as nice a way as I could that thanks but we were well-sorted as regards energy suppliers, cheap rates, service agreements, etc etc. He knew as I was talking to him there was no point in trying to persuade me, or try to tell me anything else; he looked not so much disappointed as resigned.

He thanked me as he turned away, and I thanked him  and said I wished him luck for the rest of the morning, and success elsewhere.

“No-one wants to listen to me,” he said, dejected as he walked away.

I felt so sorry for him. A couple of  years ago, my son was the same; smart – in appearance as well as his attitude, intelligent, good-hearted, with lots to offer, eager to work, desperate to make a success of his life. He struggled to find a job – too many talented young people out there, too few jobs… in fact too many talented people of all ages and too few jobs. My son went for an interview and was so excited to have been successful at last – he had a job, a paid job… working for a charity.

My heart sank when he said he was going to work for a charity, but I congratulated him and kept my doubts to myself. He was thrilled, not only a job, but a job which would help other people, help people less fortunate, give people a chance…

Within a few days reality struck. His job involved being dropped off with some other young people in an unknown part of the city, going round knocking on doors, trying to persuade people not only to donate, but to sign up to donate regularly each month. He was on a schedule and was supposed to knock on a certain number of doors and sign up a certain number of people to donate… Of course he managed neither…

I don’t know if it was a scam – it was a proper organisation and the charity it supported was a proper charity, but the way it was organised… On some occasions they were dropped off in quite rough areas, and I was actually anxious for them for their safety. It didn’t matter whether it was raining or blowing a gale, they still had to work all day – and in bad weather, where could they have their lunch? In housing estates, where could they find a loo? My son had little success – he knew that some of the others would virtually bully people in signing up, especially the old, but he just wouldn’t. On one occasion he knocked on the door of two old people who clearly had issues with senility. They were keen to sign up, but he just couldn’t let them do it – he wasn’t sure they were capable of making that decision, they were frail and they plainly had little money for themselves. He pretended he hadn’t got the right forms, and said he would try and come back, but they weren’t to worry if he didn’t…

When the handsome young man knocked on my door today, I thought of my son. Nobody would want a job like this, going round trying to get people interested in something most people wouldn’t be wanting/needing/have the time for. He had dressed so smartly, trying to be professional even in this job, he no doubt had as high hopes as my son when he got the job… I just hope something better comes along for him, something where his efforts will be appreciated.



  1. David Lewis

    How’s your son doing now. Does he have a job in his chosen field. When I was young there were more jobs than people to fill them. Ended up getting a job that I loved and was schooled for with great wages and benefits and pension plan. Kids are not so lucky anymore


    1. Lois

      Yes, thank goodness! He works in finance now – lower end of the ladder but he really enjoys it. I know his experiences weren’t happy but those sort of things do make you more resilient, and understand what it’s like for those who have no choice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.