Where has respect for front of line staff gone? 169



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When I was a little girl I wanted to be a teacher, a nurse or even ambulance officer. But how times have changed… It seems that so much respect has been lost for these front line professions. Kids of today don’t want to go near them and instead they just want to be famous, or rich.




According to a recent study, children were asked what wanted to be when they grew up and the top three choices were sports star, pop star or actor.

It’s not surprising when you consider the emphasis popular culture puts on the success of celebrity. We have Australia’s Got Talent, The Voice, MasterChef, MasterChef Kids and now The Voice Kids!

On top of this so many celebrities are idolised, and when you look at some of them as role models this is a little frightening.

There was a classic example this week where Justin Bieber who is a celebrity idolised by so many called a teenage girl in a bikini a “beached whale”, shattering her confidence. In the previous week he tagged a building with graffiti then posted the photo across social media laughing at the incident. And of course, there are of course countless other examples of footballers and pop stars who show so many indiscretions but are still heralded as idols.

Why is this I wonder? Is it about the money, the adoration, the dream of a quick path to happiness? Surely giving back, doing something you love and having a satisfying career is more attractive option than the desire to pursue something as fickle as fame?

Back in my parents day if you were smart you became a teacher. But today the profession struggles to get the calibre of students it needs. When I reached university things had already begun to shift. Nobody I knew wanted to be a teacher and there was only one person in our group of friends who wanted to be a nurse and we all thought she was crazy!

We asked her, “Why would you want to clean dirty sheets, deal with rude patients, work shift work and have horrible wages when you could study business or law and get much better money”.

She told us of her overwhelming desire to help and we really respected her for it. However, 10 years on and she had had it with nursing and is now working in IT, is a lot more respected in her role, as well as earning more money having better hours…

But I’m pretty sure it was the respect issue that really drove her away from nursing. After working countless nights for unappreciative patients her kind caring nature was broken.

How many teachers who leave teaching have the same experience. They begin with great intentions but then struggle to cope with the disrespect they get in classrooms and even from parents.

Police officers also bear the brunt of a disrespectful society, you only need to go into an inner city area on a Friday or Saturday night to see how badly they are treated.

Has our generation become too self involved that it is all about “me”, rather than choosing roles that give back and help others choose to chase money or fame… Or maybe as a whole we need to support these roles better, offer them more respect, better working conditions and much better pay. Perhaps this will encourage those kind hearted individuals to stick with these roles and more to the front line professions?

I’m keen to hear your say, have you found that there has been a loss of respect for the key frontline professions? What do you think we need to do about it? 


Kate Chaundy

Kate Chaundy is a writer on the Starts at Sixty Editorial Team. "I spend my time seeking out, researching and writing on the topics our over 60 community ask about". Kate has more than 13 years in marketing and communications and a lifetime of experience as the daughter of baby boomers.

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