For The Love Of Bob Cratchit
By Daria Campbell
I love A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It is one of my favorite stories even when it is not Christmas. It is one of those stories that is just perfectly written and beloved because it touches on so many aspects of the human condition. That is why it has been made multiple times and has been in many different formats and mediums as well as being quoted and referenced millions of times from many different sources.
I want to take the time to look at Bob Cratchit and Scrooge for a moment from a Human Resources point of view. Bob Cratchit was Ebenezer Scrooge’s Clerk. He worked long hours for barely any pay and was expected to support his large family with one sick child. He was not only under paid but he was abused both mentally and physically being forced to work in the cold with 1 piece of coal on the fire during the winter which made him wear a comforter, gloves and he would try to warm his hand over the one candle flame. It was a miracle the man was not sick all the time and almost blind from working in candlelight.
Scrooge was a horror. He fails dismally on all fronts as an employer. His WHS, his bullying policy, his renumeration, and his annual leave policy. Cratchit feared him because he reminded him almost daily that he could “lose his situation,” as Scrooge put it, and the worst part was Scrooge liked it. He like the power he had over this poor man even though he worked hard for him and never complained except when he asked for one day off in the year.
But let’s go back to Bob Cratchit. After all these years of abuse and mistreatment he still was willing to come to work on December 26th and on Christmas Day toasted to the health of Scrooge calling him the “Founder of the Feast,” to the disgust of his family. He was truly a man with an amazing heart who really did not hate his employer and was not bitter but who was hoping down deep that things would just “get better” one day.
Cratchit had no idea what was going to happen to Scrooge that Christmas Eve to turn him completely around, but he is the one who gained the most from the transformation and he never said, “Well about time!” He was just quietly grateful. He was a good man and a great employee.
In conclusion I hope whoever reads this never find themselves in a workspace where they feel like Cratchit. Even with all our laws about workplace treatment there are still companies and supervisors out there who treat people like Scrooge treated Cratchit before he changed. Know that there is no excuse for this behavior. But if you must endure there is a lot of power in not letting people steal your joy. The reason Bob was able to endure was because he was putting his family first and had their love to sustain him through the hardest of days with Scrooge. As the Ghost of Christmas Present noted, Bob was content with everything he had because he had “enough”. Sometimes being content is the greatest power we have. Bob was content but then he was rewarded for it when Scrooge changed.
This holiday season I wish you all love, joy, peace, and contentment in your life and may it continue into 2023!