Eyebright has recently had a big staff turn-over. It was a case of our ‘Joy Givers’ discovering in lock-down that there was life after Eyebright. The age of our people was creeping up and lock-down aside, retirement had been looming on their horizons. Our new staff have wound back the clock, leaving me, at sixty-four years old, the undisputed elder.
Vittoria Taylor, at twenty-six, is our youngest addition.
From Garin college, she went to NMIT to study Tourism and Hospitality. She then went straight to a job with SBL buses, where, amongst other things, she organising travel itineraries, for South Island visitors. While still a teenager she bought a house, and that of course, has proven to be a fortunate decision.
Technology undermined the need for professional Itinerary planners, and after 14 months Vittoria became surplus to requirements at SBL.
Her next job was stocktaking at Mitre 10 Mega. Unlike Eyebright, where we count our stock once a year, at Mitre 10, stock is tracked in real time. When you buy something, it is recorded as having gone from stock. When stock levels drop to a certain trigger, replacements are automatically ordered. In theory there will always be an accurate count of every item, but due to human error and dishonesty, theory and reality can deviate. Vittoria’s job was physically counting every item. Seventy percent of the time she would find no discrepancies, but when she did, she would reset the stock level at the true figure. It took about half a year to do the whole shop, and then she would start again. She loved her time at Mitre 10, but not being one for settling into a comfortable role, she was scheming an adventure.
Twenty-one year old Vittoria set off in 2015 for her OE. She had organised a job as a nanny at a grand home in Surrey, east of London. Her employer, had however, changed her mind and announced that “I’m going to quit my job and be a stay-at-home mum”. Apparently untroubled by what was to become of Vittoria.
Vittoria got busy networking on social media, and landed another job at another grand manor. She was to take care of two boys, aged seven and nine. This entailed cooking, cleaning, school drop-offs and pick-ups, organising ‘play dates’ and interfacing with the school. Both parents worked in the city. The boy’s mother left for work each week day at 7am, not to return until twelve hours later. She was an executive in a company creating educational software for children.
Vittoria was the ninth nanny for these boys, so you can imagine who was in charge. As far as they were concerned, she was just another nanny passing through. The older boy was easy care, and low maintenance, but young Dexter became dependent on Vittoria to the extent that he didn’t want to go to school, and when he did, he might only stay for half an hour and then say he had a sore tummy, so he could come home. He would then miraculously recover so he could enjoy the day with Vittoria. Vittoria was powerless to do anything about the heart rendering scenario which engulfed her. Dexter’s parents said “Leave it to us. We’ll sort it out in our way.”
Vittoria filled her weekends with work at a friend’s café on Saturday, then on Sundays she coordinated activities at a church she had started attending. The church had three services each Sunday plus associated programs.
Her intension was always to spend twelve months in the UK, and that’s what she did. A friend in Nelson asked her to be her maid of honour at her wedding. Her UK life came to an end and Dexter was left to chance his luck with nanny number ten.
Within two weeks of returning, Vittoria landed a job at Columbus Café. She served tables, washed dishes, and later learnt how to be a barista. What she enjoyed most about the café was the youthful vibe and meeting lots of people.
In 2018 she joined the staff at Pagani, ladies wear. This was to be her taste of corporate life. Pagani’s in Richmond is one of twenty-eight stores, all controlled by head office.
Mitre 10 felt like ‘The Waltons’ in comparison. Despite being a small cog in the big Pagani machine. Vittoria thrived on giving outstanding service, taking joy in helping customers to find the right garments.
Her positivity did not escape the notice of Therese, and when we found ourselves having to hire new staff, we went head hunting. Employing Vittoria has proven to be one of the smarter things I’ve done. She has now been with us for three months and has exceeded my hopes, helping keep Eyebright as the go-to place when you want to feel great.
Four months ago, when key staff were leaving, I wondered if Eyebright had seen it’s best.
Au contraire, Eyebright has emerged strong, positive and continues to get better.
Nothing else comes close to being as important as great staff; and that we have in spades.