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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

“Quick! Hire a teenager while they still know everything!”
Sunday, October 22, 2023 @ 5:12 PM

This is a well-known saying in the context of computing, the internet and mobile phones. In my experience it’s true – never has a teenager let me down with regards to these new-fangled technologies. In fact, I think my six-year-old grandson knows more than me!

But, a teenager as labourer is a different matter – or so I thought …..


I recently hired Oliver, the elder son of friends and neighbours Nick and Julia. Oliver has just turned 19 and has completed his A-Levels. He achieved the high grades he needed to take up a place at Exeter University (UK) to study Economics and Spanish.

However, like many students these days Ollie has opted to take a gap year. He wants to travel and needs to earn a sizeable sum to finance his trip.

He has struggled to find a decent job here in Andalucia. The pay is pathetic. First he went off to Champagne, France for 10 days to pick grapes for friends of his mum and dad. That was a great experience. A new country and the chance to practice the French he had learned at school.

Back here, he gets occasional work in bars and restaurants, but they all pay less than the minimum wage, in so doing, breaking the law.

“So,” I thought, “I could do with some help around the garden. So, I offered Ollie a day’s work at 10€ an hour.” [The same as I pay other people who work for me.]

The night before he was due to come, I made a list of possible tasks, thinking that if he does half of them, I’ll be happy.

There were ten tasks in all, ranging from moving stuff too heavy for my 73-year-old back; vacuuming the pool; tidying the flower beds; moving soil; mowing and strimming the lawns; erecting screens; and generally tidying up.

Well, to my astonishment, he completed the lot! In 10 hours! He was industrious, quick to learn and certainly earned his 100 euros.

I was delighted and so was he.

I must see if I’ve got another day’s worth of jobs before he heads off on his gap year.


© Pablo de Ronda



If you need work doing, I can thoroughly recommend Ollie. You can contact him via me on 636 52 75 16 or directly on 664 88 56 40



100 euros, A-Level, Exeter University, gap year, garden work, Julia, mowing, Nick, Ollie, Pablo de Ronda, strimming

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