A significant step forward has been taken this week in the evolution of our business; we have become employers, rather than employees! Okay, admittedly we’re only talking our teenage daughter, Emily, and one of her friends, but it’s the first time I have ever been actively involved in paying someone to work for me. Even in the dark decade at HSBC, while there were occasional attempts to inflict responsibility on me, these were always resisted strenuously. My laissez-faire approach to such things (summarised as, “I won’t hassle you, you don’t hassle me”) meant I was never tagged for my leadership potential. Which is just the way I wanted it, given the sense of humour removal and frontal lobotomy which seemed to be required once you reached a certain level there.
However, I now find myself the co-employer of a workforce of two, albeit a workforce only there for two hours a day after school. Old habits die hard though, and I have largely avoided the lengthy, tedious and on-going training process, mainly consisting of teaching them the difference between poppy and picture jasper. This is likely because I’m not sure I know the difference, so such things are far better left to Chris, who could likely assemble a fetching necklace/bracelet set, in less than 60 seconds, under conditions of total darkness.
No, my role in this business deals more with paperwork than the gemstones, with the occasional assist in areas like sterling silver letter blocks, where all you need is a working knowledge of the alphabet. I can also cope if the item comes in a box with its name written in marker on the top. I know the limits of my competence, and am entirely content to work within them. It will not, therefore, be too long before my employees’ knowledge (let’s just say that again…”my employees”…cool!) will surpass mine in certain areas. It hasn’t quite happened yet, going by the comment overheard yesterday, specifically, “What colour is black onyx?”
I do like to think we are lenient bosses in most areas, though we did have to forbid the use of their mobile phones during “business hours”, or else we’d never get any work out of them! We also have supreme right of command and control over the CD player; if feeling particularly generous, we may allow them to slip one disc of their choice into the selection. There is, however, only so much Pink we can stand, especially as we struggle to reconcile it with Emily’s avowed (newly discovered, but quite welcome) hatred of pop music. There’s also her belief that punk started with Blink 182; our attempts to enlighten her as to the role of obscure bands like the Sex Pistols have met with little success, but much eye-rolling.
Still, we have been impressed by the genuine work they’ve put in – think it was a stroke of genius by Chris to employ two of them, as it makes it more of a social experience. Previous attempts to employ Emily have terminated after less than 30 minutes in a welter of whining, sighing and suddenly discovered homework, but this seems, so far, to be working. And so is Emily. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some supervisory and adminstrative tasks to perform. 🙂