Thursday, July 31, 2014

No tie- no job

Can you imagine these days being sent home from work because you were not wearing a tie.?

On my first day at my first job I turned up one July morning without a tie and very nearly got sent home because of that. There are or weren't apprenticeships for office work in those days, so it was a question of learning on the job.  In large offices if was known as "sitting next to Nellie" in other words the new recruit was sat alongside someone more experienced and learned by watching or being lead along.
In terms of dress of course, you did not know until you arrived, unless you already knew someone who worked there.  There were obviously fairly universal rules and some specific to one place, fads and foibles of the owner or manager etc.
I went to work at a branch office of a large insurance company and had been interviewed at the Head Office in London, so I had not even been to where I was later assigned.
So early on that first Monday morning taking an early tram to New Cross Gate I stood outside the office and waited for someone to arrive.  The Chief Clerk was first, he looked at me a little strange after I had told him who I was, but he made no comment about my grey slacks and open necked shirt and my jacket over my arm.

As the other staff arrived, he introduced me and still no one made any comment about my attire until the Branch Manager arrived.  The Chief Clerk took me into the Manager's Office and introduced me and the first words the Manager said were "Where's your tie?".  I replied that I did not have one.  " You cant work here without a tie" he responded and told the Chief Clerk to take me away, as though I was fouling his office.
The door to the office had been standing open all this time, so of course everyone outside could hear
 all that went on, and most of them were grinning like apes.  To this day I don't know if they were laughing at me or the Manager.  One of the male staff, beckoned me over and pulled a tie out of a drawer and handed it to me.  He explained that all male staff were expected to wear suits complete with ties, but as I was a junior I was excused the suit but not the tie.  Just as well really as at that time I did not own a suit.
This then was my introduction, not just to the world of work, but to the intricacies of office life.

Tell us about your first day at the office.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never had a job