Grab a brew and check out part 2 of our ‘Trading places’ job swap experiment! See part 1 here

Deputy shop manager Scott from Northern Quarter shop joined us at 08.30am, and declared it was the earliest he had ever got out of bed to start work! Many of the centre staff start work at 07.30am, so this seemed like a luxury to us!

Q. Why did you want to do the job swap?

A. I wanted to do the job swap to see first hand how the funds we raise in the shop support the centre help the animals.

Q.What did you learn about the work your colleagues on the rehoming side do?

A. Aside from the daily routines and duties of care, I was moved by the emotional resilience, strength, determination, resolve and passion for the animals that the rehoming staff call upon. They deal with relentless pressures and perpetual challenges within their positions.

Q. What was the highlight of your job swap?

A. I think it’s fair to say that hanging out with bunnies and directing their fashion shoots [taking photos for their adoption profiles] was a highlight. Moreover, spending time with, and getting to know, the animals that we work so hard to support was immensely galvanising.

Q. What are you most grateful for that you don’t have to do in your role?

A. Waking up at six in the morning, (earlier in the case of most of the rehoming centre staff) and cleaning up poo, just for the rabbits to resoil their pens within 5 minutes….

I feel very grateful for the privilege to work for these animals, with these people and in this institution, where a culture of empathy transcends norms of individualism and capital gain.

Shop manager Karen from our Northern Quarter shop got out of early morning cleaning duties because she travels into work from Yorkshire, so we let her have a sensible start time, but we did not let her off with ‘light duties’!

Q. Why did you want to do the job swap?

A. I thought it would be good to get a better insight into the  running of the centre in order to appreciate the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

Q. What did you learn about the work your colleagues on the rehoming side do?

A. I’m sure everyone has said this but it’s how hard they work and how dedicated they are to the animals.

Q. What was the highlight of your job swap?

A. Socialising with the animals I found it really calming and the rabbits were just gorgeous. Although I realise the staff don’t get to do this, as they too busy keeping the centre running! [We have volunteers who spend time with our bunnies though!].

Q. What are you most grateful they do that you don’t have to do in your role?

A. All the hygiene and safety requirements and also the heartbreak when you can’t help an animal.

Karen hanging out with her new litter mates
Our final participant was Lorenz from the Withington shop, who recently completed a Kickstart placement and secured a permanent job with us as the deputy shop manager.

Q. Why did you want to do the job swap?

A: I wanted to do the job swap because I wanted to see how the money we raise goes towards all the animals. Also finding out more information on how to look after certain animals, as a rabbit and cat owner myself. I’ve learnt so much useful information to create a better living area for them.

Q. What did you learn about the work your colleagues on the rehoming side do?

A. I’ve learnt just how hard the rehoming staff work, everyone assumes it’s all just fun work playing and cuddling the animals all day but it’s not. So much effort goes into maintaining a clean, healthy and safe living environment for them. It’s a challenging role having so many animals in their care and all the team know each animal so well and it’s amazing to see that and the bond they share with them. You can really tell how much they care about each animal in the centre, and how they really try their best to give them a better life until they are adopted. It’s heartwarming to see the love for the animals and a great atmosphere to work in.

Q. What was the highlight of your job swap?

A: There were many highlights for me including, working with such an amazing team of people who make you feel so welcome, and also how could you not mention all the amazing animals you get to work with, who might have not had the greatest start in life but you can see the trust they grow in you and you can see their true personalities shine through, from having playful rabbits jump all over you and use you as a climbing frame, to naughty kittens wrestling around you and wanting lots of attention and you to play with them. Also in this role it feels very rewarding to make such an impact on their lives, just any help makes it so worthwhile.

Q. What are you most grateful they do that you don’t have to do in your role?

A: I think the biggest thing for me is I don’t have to know about such tragedy. Seeing the conditions some of these poor animals come in is truly upsetting, hearing some of the stories today was heartbreaking, I would do whatever I could do possible to look after them but to hold it together would be challenging. The rehoming staff are really brilliant and strong to look after such amazing animals, and after speaking to the team you can really see their love for the animals and how much fight they put into making their lives better, which is incredible. But also the work they do is hard and not everyone is cut out for that. I’m grateful that they get to look after all the incredible animals and give them the opportunity in life they deserve, I really wish I could do that.

Q. Anything else you would like to share about the job swap?

A: It’s so interesting to learn just how hard the team works and how the role is so misunderstood, people just think it’s just cuddling the animals all day but it really isn’t. The staff put their life and soul into the animals to make sure they give them the opportunity they deserve. Also, I learnt how important both the centre and retail roles are for the charity. All the work the retail staff put in all contributes and benefits so much, I might not be in the ‘trenches’ with the animals but I still help so much getting the money in. But as a whole it’s been interesting to see how much work goes in and learn about all the jobs and responsibilities the rehoming staff do. I’ve loved the job swap and think it is very beneficial and the same works vice versa.

Lorenz’s bunny joy!
A word from our Branch Manager, Susie Hughes: I am immensely proud to be part of a charity that gives so much when it has so little. The RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch staff comprises of a team who are fiercely passionate about the work we do and give their all, in every aspect of the branch’s operations. We are so lucky to have such brilliant people on the team.

In during the second quarter of 2022 our retail staff are going to be doing a ‘shop swap’ to see what it is like to work in the different stores we have.

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