19. My first Practical Lesson of Good Worker Relationships

I was only 26 years old when I learned my first lesson of good working relationship. That was that whatever position I held that I did not always know more than the others that work around me or for me. My position at that time was as a manager in the deep South. I had been living before in Queens, New York, and was sent south to be the plant manager of a rather small operation in the Softgoods industry of about 125 individuals.

The second day as manager of this clothing plant I heard a commotion in my outer office. The lady who took care of this office was dealing with an hysterical young lady. This young lady who I found to be about my age was yelling and crying saying; I want to see the boss man, I want to see the boss man. My outer office worker was doing her best to shield me from this young woman. When I heard all this going on I told my outer office lady please allow the young woman to enter my office. This young woman entered in a very hysterical manner she cried out; Mr. boss man, Mr. boss man it is terrible, it’s terrible. I stood up and said what is wrong honey? (Now I know that nowadays it is not proper to call a female honey,) but I’m from a different time, and on top of that from New York City. I still call women honey and many of them call me dear. Well, that is something else. Anyway, I said what’s wrong? She said Mr. boss man, it’s terrible, I am pregnant, I’m pregnant.

At once I knew that I lacked a good answer, and how to help this poor confused and hurt individual. So I said; honey, it could not have been me, since I only came here yesterday. She stopped in her tracks sat down and laughed. She became a wonderful worker, and a friend. (I also know that today the boss is not to make friends with the help.) The lesson to me was that you always don’t have the answer, but if you can be human, and perhaps use a little humor many problems can be solved.


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