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Working For The Yanks Part 1 – Graham May (25th)

I found this draft after my computer man recently updated my system to Windows 10 . I have not found Part 2, as yet, but am still looking.

Monday morning, mid July 1982 and I had a hangover. i was also going to be late for work despite only having a mile to drive from home. There was a slim hope that the Old Man might also be late as we had both been to a “do” at the Golf Club the previous evening, but as I swung into the company car park his Jag was in the usual spot. I had only recently secured this plum position as Financial Controller for the UK subsidiary of a US multi – national organisation and felt I had coped quite well so far. The last thing I needed now was a major cock up! The pretty girl on Reception pulled no punches and stated that the Managing Director wanted to see me in his office immediately, adding that he was not in a very good mood . I entered the inner sanctum and started to waffle but was cut short. ”READ THAT DAM THING AND THEN TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK”‘ he said flinging a rolled up telex in my direction, ”BLOODY YANKS HAVE SENT THAT TO ALL THEIR COMPANIES WORLDWIDE JUST BECAUSE SOME ORIENTAL OR ASIAN OUTFIT HAS BEEN TARETTED BY LOCAL EXTREAMISTS.”‘

Back in my office I had a strong black coffee and a couple of asprins and then scanned the long list of security arrangements which had to be in place asap, The Main Door and Reception Area were to be locked at all times. Suspicious parcels were to be placed in Fire Buckets and placed outside for the Bomb Squad to deal with. No casual callers were to be admitted etc, etc. The list went on and on and then came the kicker – all Executives and Senior Managers were to take a different route to work each day and also examine their cars for possible booby traps every night and morning. I could not help laughing out loud at the ludicrous suggestion that all this was needed here in rural Oxfordshire.
Just then the Old Man wandered in with his pipe going at full bore, followed by his Secretary pushing a trolley laden with tea, coffee and sandwiches. It was obviously going to be a long session especially when he announced “”I KNOW IT IS DAMMED SILLY BUT WE WILL ALL HAVE TO COMPLY WITH THIS, SO GET EVERYONE IN AND SPREAD THE WORD. YOU TAKE THE RANK AND FILE AND I WILL DEAL WITH THE MAMAGERS IN MY OFFICE”

All went reasonably well and we started to pack up as 5 o’ clock approached. Suddenly there was a chatter from the telex room an another epistle arrived from the New York Office. The Old Man stuck his head round the door and said ” TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT TOMORROW UNLESS THEY NOW WANT US ALL TO GO AROUND ARMED TO THE BLOODY TEETH !” The telex was short and sweet – we were to be visited by an internal audit team in three weeks time. Further details to follow. Next morning I asked the Old Man what to expect and it was not good news – he had just had a memo advising that we were also to expect a visit from a Sales Vice President and his sidekick who were going to ”SHAKE THINGS UP’.’ I cannot repeat his verbal reaction!
The next two weeks were chaotic but the only ridiculous incident involved an unregistered parcel which had promptly been dumped in water and left outside as per the directive. The local army bomb squad declared the parcel safe and then told us that it had been addressed to the Company next door. Red faces all round as well as a stream of obscene expletives from their Manager when his soggy, innocuous parcel was eventually handed in ! All these odd practices gradually fizzled out after a few months, despite the fact that we never received an official recall from Head Office.