On this day, the twenty ninth of December in the year nineteen sixty eight, I walked for the first time as a very young employee nervously and apprehenively into the retail establishment where I was to work. It was in my home town and only a short walk from my house.
I was greeted by the manager, Mr. C..... a fairly elderly (or at least elderly to me) gentleman, and introduced to the other staff. Yes, in those days managers were shown respect and call Mr. .... and not by their first names. It would have been unthinkable to call him Jack. In all the years that I worked there with him, no-one ever called him by his Christian name.
We worked from 9 a.m. - 5.30, closed for an hour from 1-2 for lunch and at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays as it was half-day closing in the town. A 41 hour week. Everyone started and finished at the same time. There were no different shifts, as today. And, ofcourse definitely not open on a Sunday!
Now, 40 years on, I am still working in the same building in the same business. What changes I have seen in that time though! Some for the better and many not. During these years I have seen at least 9 different managers come and go. Some through retirement, some moved to other branches, one for dishonesty, another `asked to leave`, and so on. The business has been owned by at least 6 different companies at various times through those years too.
I can`t say that all the time has been happy, most of it has, but there have been times and with certain managers when I have seriously felt like walking out and not coming back. But, I stuck it, and in the end the manager/s went before I did!
There have been amusing incidents with staff and customers, sad ones too, as someone once remarked, we really should write a book about life in a store. Maybe I`ll share a few of those on here in the coming weeks. (it will give me something to blog about!)
Little did I know that when I walked in the door in 1969, that I would still be there 40 years later.
One thing I do know for sure, ........ I shan`t be there in another 40 years time!........ well, unless the government raises the retirement age!!!