It was clear that there would be no company car other than a pool car, whose use I would need to book with the Security Manager. I read the papers I had been given and decided that I’d better begin doing what I was being paid for
I made my first call to the Sales Manager of the company that printed the big boxes to arrange to see him. He was free, so I told him that I’d call round as soon as I could find his office and so started my new job.
January – First week at work
After the first few days I was beginning to find my way around and to become acquainted with more and more people across the company as a whole. I was settling into a routine, asking questions both of departmental directors, managers and shop floor staff. Involving this lower echelon of employee attracted the attention of York, who wanted to know what I was playing at. I explained that, if I only spoke to senior staff I was likely to miss things. He had wanted examples. I told him, for example, that if a director – by virtue of their seniority – insisted on their personal clients’ jobs getting production priority, that could disrupt the schedule that had been planned by the works manager according to production criteria. In turn that could cause delivery delays for a stream of other clients potentially losing goodwill and future sales.
He wasn’t convinced. I told him that he should welcome this in-depth analysis. If he’d commissioned an external consultant to do what I was doing, he’d be paying per day what I was being paid in two weeks. I emphasised that I was only able to get away with my approach while I was still an unknown quantity. Nobody I was talking to knew whether I’d been appointed as an ‘axeman’. This explanation not only satisfied but delighted him. It seemed that believing I could be a tough disciplinarian displayed a quality that he expected of all his managers. Before he left me to carry on, he asked me what I’d have said if he’d stopped me from interviewing anyone other than managers. I told him that I’d have handed in my notice because I couldn’t do my job with my hands tied. He nodded, apparently satisfied, and walked away.
It was clear, nonetheless, that he was impatient for results. I reminded him that an-information based marketing strategy was what I’d promised at interview – and what he’d agreed to. I stressed that it would take at least two weeks to collect the data and a further three or four days to analyse and evaluate it. He said that he’d not press any further but would still expect a weekly report on progress.
Having cleared things up with him, I felt more confident that he’d back me up if anyone complained about my line of questioning. I was learning other things though about the set-up of the firm. It was a private limited close company. York was the majority shareholder by a long way – his wife and brother were minority participants. All the other directors – sales and production – were simply employees, appointed by York. From the shop floor staff I was picking up indications that employees – including directors – were sacked by him, or at his direction, often on a personal whim. I was beginning to think that my best strategy should be to deliver quick results and then hand my notice in. I neither liked nor trusted him. Apart from anything else, I could now see that putting more effort into our website co-operative would be a more rewarding use of my time
Today’s photo is one that I took in January 2020 when I enjoyed a weekend of photography in London. This is another shot taken from the Millennium Bridge at dawn on my second day.
The Exif data are as follows: Pentax K-1 36 MP full-frame camera with a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 28 mm and f/16. The shutter speed was 30 secs and the ISO 100. The shot was tripod mounted, without filters and post processing in Lightroom Classic.