29th January 2007
I was reading the other day about the famed man management skills of football managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourhino. It reminded me that when I was a supervisor with Ferodo Brake Lining a long time ago that on at least one occasion my own man management skills werenâ€™t all that bad.
George was the night shift sweeper-up on my shift, employed to keep the passageways of my section and other sections in our block clean and dust and debris free. He was without any doubt the most lazy idle sweeper-up in the world. He should have been shown the door long since but this was pre-Thatcher when trade unions were very strong and the only offence that warranted the sack was murder, and even then the offender might have got off with a written warning. So how to get rid of George?
On company headed notepaper I wrote to him pointing out that the company had just taken on, as his opposite number on the day shift, a man with only one leg. I went on to say that as that it was clearly unfair that a man with two legs should be paid the same wages as a man with only one leg the options now open to George were –
(a) Carry on with the company, but on half the wage he was on previously. Or –
(b) Have a leg off.
I signed the letter with a fictitious name and added under the name Manager and Chief Executive. I put the letter in an official Ferodo envelope and handed it to him at the start of the next shift. Five minutes later he was in my office.
â€œHave you seen this?â€ he said in a shocked tone, brandishing the letter, and all of a shake.
I took the letter off him and read it. â€œHmm,â€ I said. â€œActually I do know about this, George. The Manager and Chief Executive left this for you.â€
I handed him two pieces of paper. One was a leaving notice, made out in his name. The other was an appointment with Cavendish Hospital, Buxton, to have a leg amputated. He looked at them in turn.
â€œYouâ€™re to sign one of those and let me have it at the end of the shift,â€ I said.
He thought about it for about ten seconds or so then said: â€œTha can have me answer now. Because Iâ€™m not having a leg of, tâ€™jobâ€™s not worth it.â€
With that he signed the leaving notice and handed it to me. Man managers? Iâ€™ve shit â€˜em.
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Terry Ravenscroft,19 Ventura Court
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