My story about Revolution really played merry hell with my statistics. I had a slightly above average views, quite a bit less than average likes and only five comments. Often I might get a “I didn’t really like it and there isn’t a ‘don’t like’ button to push and anyway I was waiting to see what other people would say’. But I knew that was going to happen. I know that anytime I have mentioned, in the past, that things need to change I get nothing or negatives and usually from people who have all they need and don’t want to give any of it away to people who don’t have very much at all that they need. So if I wanted to have a nice pleasant blog with lovely comments I would post plenty of photos of koala bears and interesting flowers. And I do because I am fascinated by Australian wildlife and I love gardening and our scenery is different from the rest of the world.
So when the wind changes a ship will turn hard into the wind and turn onto a different tack. But don’t be surprised if I turn back into the wind.
Forty-seven years ago I returned to Australia after about six months in Europe. It was the middle of the school year so I headed of to the Commonwealth Employment Service to find a job to fill in time until the year started up again in another six months. I filled in all the forms carefully and honestly because I have always filled in forms carefully and honestly and I hadn’t ever, before, found it necessary to lie. I explained to the officer at the CES that I was willing to take a factory job or anything. He told me that with my qualifications I might find that difficult.
Anyway I head off to my first interview. I answered all questions carefully and honestly. I am told that even if I could do the work I wouldn’t last because I’d get bored because it was dull and repetitious. I didn’t get the job. Back to the CES to a very polite “I told you so”
I go to another interview. I had learned a lot in a very short time. This time it went differently.
Fill out this form please.
Um. I not good wiv writin mate. How ’bout you just ask the questshuns an I’ll tell ya the answers.
Right. What was your last employment?
Where was that?
Um, I ferget the name but they made brass things on a big machine an I had to move the stuff into another room when the box was filled.
Where was this?
About five tram stops up the road but I don’t remember the name of the street.
I got the job. In the factory there were two lines and our line assembled the fans that blow the heat out of domestic gas wall heaters. First came an electric motor with a spindle on each end and it had to be fixed to a cradle and an impeller was attached to each end. Then the assembled blower was passed into a soundproof booth and tested. Any blower that wobbled or scratched or made any kind of noise was rejected.
The fault could have been something as simple as one screw having been tightened crookedly. My job was to dismantle all the component parts and place all the parts back on the line in the correct station. After my first day I wondered whether this was a good idea. So the next day I had a good look at one rejected blower and spun it by hand and noticed that the left hand impeller had a bit of a wobble. I marked it with a marker pen and sure enough about three hours later it came back rejected.
I had a chat with the line boss who was a nice enough bloke and I showed him.
So what are you saying? –
Well if I just took this impeller off and fixed it or replaced it then the blower could go straight back on the line.-
I’ll have a chat with the foreman.
So then the foreman came over and I showed him. After a bit of umming and arring he told me to do what I could.
So instead of pulling all the components apart I worked out what was wrong and fixed it. At the end of the next day the foreman came and said the line had gone over target for the first time in four months. I was pleased. But more was to come.
Now every morning at 9.a.m. another line started up assembling the same things and the same line closed down at 3 p.m. It was the “Mum’s Line”. Mothers, mostly Greek, Yugoslav or Italian, with primary school children worked a short shift. The Manager was a forward thinking and really decent man who had said he wasn’t happy about mothers working when their children were at home. It was a revolutionary concept in factory management. He ran a short line and mothers could take their children to school in the morning, work a shorter than normal day, and get off in time to pick up their children at the end of school.
Anyway a few days later the foreman came in and said I was to report to the Manager. I hadn’t met him before and was just a little apprehensive. I was even more worried when he told me to sit down and then he slapped my application form on the desk.
“First of all,” he said, “you even conned the Human Resources Manager into filling out your form and secondly you lied through your teeth. Didn’t you?”
“Yes. I did. I’m sorry.”
“Right well here’s a new form. Fill it out and fill it out properly. Now get back on the line and report to me after ‘knock off’”
The upshot was that I wasn’t sacked. He told me about the fact that I’d changed the way the line worked. It was an improvement and production had gone up. He told me that a lot of the migrant ladies had difficulty with English and would I like to set up a class to teach English. They planned to close the “Mums’ Line” an hour early every day and they had a room they could set aside as a class room and would I teach them English?
I thought all my stars had aligned.
It never worked. The next week the company was bought out by an American firm and the American firm said that it didn’t fit within the parameters. The whole idea was scrapped. The “Mums’ Line” was scrapped and if the mothers wanted work they had to work the same hours as everyone else or go ‘somewheres’ else.
It was a bit of a shame, because I liked working in that place.
That was when I was young. Now I am accustomed to this sort of thing. It still doesn’t tick any of the boxes for me.
And if you wanna know what really stirs a 78 yo soul then watch this:-