BALANCING THE BOOKS

Remember when you first joined the workforce? You may have been a “little green behind the gills” or perhaps you were said to be “wet behind the ears” or even niave.

This has happened to many of us in the past. You would join the workforce in a junior position with a supervisor or foreman giving you directions on what to do. One reader of this magazine, Neville Chant, wrote in and told me of a electrical apprentice being sent to the store to ask for a long weight (wait). He further mentioned that this apprentice was not entirely “green behind the ears” went down the road to a local milk bar, waited there for awhile then went back to his workplace and told the tradie who had sent him out on the errand, that they were “out of stock”.

Neville went on to say of others who were sent to the store with a requistion for a box of “short circuits” and a box was handed over by the storeman. Upon return the tradie would open the box without the apprentice being able to see inside and then say to the apprentice that “they are too short” and hand the box back to the apprentice and tell him to return the box and ask for longer ones.

But of course I have heard of many other examples of such tricks being played on new employees in the workplace. Such antics are not wholly the reserve of male employees. Quite a few nurses have mentioned to me of when first training they would be sent to the storeroom for a pair of fallopion tubes.

Bank officers and I also imagine new staff in some accountants offices were asked to go out and obtain some scales to “balance the books or ledgers” Another trick played on newcomers was to ask them to go to the stationers and get some “Verbal Agreement Forms”.

For morning tea, a new member of the staff may have been sent out to the local cake shop or bakery for some “randy tarts”.

Others have been sent out to hardware stores for “left handed” hammers, screwdrivers or even striped paint. I did hear of a staff member (aged in his 70s)at one BBC Hardware store took pity on some and took them to the paint department where he got some strips of cardboard and tinted them in various colours and placed them in a tin so that the poor new bloke could take back to his place of employment a tin of striped paint.

Has such things or similar happened to you?

Don’t forget to contribute your memories and also any old photographs that you would like to see published in this magazine’s “As We Were” section.