Do you remember that bizarre place full of odd people I told you about in my first blog? Well, this was where it all happened. I was 19 years old and in the middle of my apprenticeship and still a bit wet behind the ears.
HR was nonexistent in 1991 (in this place anyway), it was one of those places that if you were off sick or on holiday, you were always expecting that when anything went wrong, the blame would be on you, and sometimes it was; with the continuous threat of being fired every week . By the way, I hear there are businesses still working like this….you know, still in the dark ages.
I had three days off on the sick, can’t remember why, but whatever it was, it couldn’t have been nice. So towards the end of the week I was back in work looking over my shoulder waiting to be blamed for something (I didn’t do). First break came, and into the mess room I went (that’s what we called it, it was no canteen!) An electric cooker stood in the corner (that was never cleaned) it still had at stains on it from the 70’s. There was an old, long wooden table with two long benches either side, all with chunks taken out of it, so the table would be covered in yellow plastic (which was used to cover the cars in the spray booth) taped down with masking tape.
A fridge that never worked was at the end of the table and was only used for old milk bottles with milk left in them, just to see how bad it would turn. Next to the half-full milk bottle would be the rat trap, which regularly caught the night shift (rats and mice). One morning the trap had gone off and the rat escaped….apart from his leg (not nice).
Anyway, I was sitting in amongst everyone else with my back against the wall and was half way through my cheese and pickle sandwich. In came the foreman, earlier than normal with a serious face (though he looked like this all of the time). He speaks up, “Lads, I’ve been speaking to the boss and he’s not happy with the amount of time some of you are having off. Dave, you especially this week, so this is for you; a written warning letter.” Everyone around the table was silent, not one of them looked at me, what was I to do? My mind racing trying to access the situation and then it happened. I stood up. I’d had enough, so I walked over the table, through their sandwiches and cups of tea saying
“I don’t agree with it and I’m not going to open it. The boss can have it back!”
The envelope was tight in my hand as I stomped up the yard and into the offices, down the corridor and pushed open the door to the boss’s office. He looks at me startled by what just happened. “What’s up Dave? What is the matter?
I’m standing in the middle of his office; both of us looking at one another as I throw the envelope out of my hand on to his desk. As it lands it, spins around, all the way to his chest. He picks it up while the foreman runs up the corridor shouting my name. “Dave….. Dave, open the envelope!”
I look the Boss in the eye, “I’ve just been given a written warning letter; I don’t agree with it so you can have it back….I don’t want it!”
I could see the Boss didn’t have a clue what was going on; he handed the envelope back to me, still sitting down at his desk. The foreman appeared by my side, “Go on, open it!”
And this was how the letter read
Was I embarrassed? Yes….. but only for a moment, because I had no idea what was inside and I still stood on my own two feet that day. I showed them that from that day forward, if I disagreed with something then I would speak up and would not be walked over. From that day on I would stand firm on my own two feet (I gave the other ones back).
As this is the easy Blend, I thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to. Today it’s Adam Ant – Stand and Deliver
You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)
Until the next Easy Blend blog………..
Stay warm and fuzzy……..