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    Mawgrim
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Travelling On - 5. Progress

It had been dark for a couple of hours by the time he got home. Windscreens on the parked cars were already opaque with frost. He hurried in from the cold. The house was warm, but with the silent efficiency of central heating rather than the crackle of logs burning in James’s kitchen. He flicked on the light. Jerry had left him a hairball on the dining room floor, as if in protest at being left alone yet again.

Sighing, Craig went through to the kitchen, dumping his bag and putting on rubber gloves to clean up his cat’s vomit. As if by magic, the cat flap opened. Jerry looked up at him expectantly, his eyes wide and tail high.

‘Don’t go thinking you’ll get fed that easily. Couldn’t you have thrown up outdoors?’

Jerry stared, unblinkingly, the look on his face seeming to say, would you go out in the cold if you felt sick?

Having dealt with the hairball, he opened a sachet of food and fed the cat. ‘Better not puke that up if you want to keep all of your nine lives.’

He loaded his washing machine with the dirty clothes he’d brought back, then set it going. Finally he made himself a cup of tea and settled down in his usual armchair to check his phone. Thirty-three new emails, a couple of messages and two missed calls. Great. He checked the voicemail first. One was from the manager at the site he’d booked in for a service visit on Monday. They were short staffed due to illness, so no one would be there until ten, but the first screen didn’t open until twelve-fifty, so that would be okay, wouldn’t it?

Not really, Craig knew. At around half an hour per screen, assuming nothing much needed doing, he’d be struggling to get all six screens finished in time. Still, that was how it was these days. The other voicemail was garbled. It sounded as if someone had accidentally rung him while their phone was in a pocket in the middle of a noisy pub. The number wasn’t familiar, either. Oh well, if it was urgent, they’d call back.

He started on the emails. Most were irrelevant; communications between the weekend emergency engineers and the OC. He skimmed through them anyway, just to find out what had been going on while he was away. A sound problem at around midday on Saturday. That must have been when he was walking through the woods with James. Then a picture issue at one-thirty; the one that had led to James ‘distracting’ him in the kitchen. He smiled at the memory.

There were several company emails from the head of their department, reminding everyone of the monthly meeting on Thursday and they should all update the tracker and service reports by Tuesday evening latest. He also mentioned ‘exciting new developments’. Probably more bloody paperwork, if you could call it that these days as it was all online. Stuff that took up time, anyway, mostly tick box exercises that only really proved you’d ticked the boxes. Mike and he often wondered if their younger counterparts had really done all of the work they’d signed off. It just didn’t seem physically possible to check so many screens in such a short time.

He read the rest of the emails. There were only two he needed to answer, which took just a couple of minutes. His Monday plans remained unchanged and he’d given himself an easy day by making it one of his local sites; a mere forty miles from home. As he sipped his tea, Jerry came through and jumped on his knee, purring. ‘Back to normal again,’ he said to the cat. ‘Another week to get through.’

One of the messages was from James. Hope you’re safely home by now. Will be thinking of you when I’m alone in bed tonight.

Wish I was there with you. He sent back. He had happy memories of that bedroom. Never mind. He’d be back again soon. All he had to do was to get through the week.

As he didn’t have to set off too early Monday morning, he called in at his local mini supermarket and bought a freshly made egg salad. He could eat it at the cinema once everything was on screen. Looking down at the almost empty basket, he chucked in a large bag of crisps, then returned it to the shelf and picked a chicken wrap instead. No harm in trying to eat a bit more healthily, when he had the chance.

Once in the car, he set off towards Branfield. The traffic news had warned of tailbacks on his usual route, but it was just Monday morning traffic and starting at ten meant he had plenty of time. There was a Starbucks close by, so he’d grab a coffee there before it was time to begin work. He’d only been driving for a few minutes when his phone rang. Mike, of course. He always liked to catch up after a weekend.

‘How’s it going?’ Craig asked.

‘Just on the way to my first emergency of the week. Sounds like an ICP board again.’

That was a fairly routine one. ‘Got your spare handy? Some of the latest updates are causing problems.’

‘I know. So, had a good weekend?’

Blissful. Wonderful. ‘Not bad. I went to visit a friend in the country.’

‘A friend, eh? Not that rich man you’ve been hoping for?

Craig laughed. ‘I don’t think he’s particularly rich, but it doesn’t matter.’ He pictured James, sitting at his kitchen table right now and even the brief vision gave him a warm, happy feeling. ‘It was a good break from all this.’

‘Got to be better than mine. Cheryl had me tiling the kitchen all day Saturday. So,’ he said, getting down to the serious business of gossip. ‘What do you think about these “exciting new developments”?’

‘More crap, I expect.’

‘Yeah. Tariq’s friend in head office told him it was most likely a re-shuffle. Seems like they might be changing our job descriptions again.’

‘Great.’ Since digital, they’d had two of those, each making things worse than the last.

‘They’re doing the same in some of the other departments. And they’re going to cull a few more cinema managers, I heard.’

‘Most of mine are running on a bare minimum already.’

‘Mine, too.’ It’s bloody stupid, is…’ he broke off. ‘Got to go. The OC are calling me.’

‘Speak to you later.’ After Mike had gone, Craig realised his mood, previously fairly cheerful for a Monday morning, had suddenly soured. He knew how this week would play out. By Thursday, there’d be all kinds of speculation doing the rounds. There were a few people in the department who seemed to thrive on predictions of bad news. He’d heard some of them were even running a book on who was most likely to be made redundant and truth be told, his name was probably on it. Like a lot of the older guys, who’d been around since the film era, he didn’t fit in with the new way of doing things. Instead of being a ‘cheerleader for change’ - and yes, that was one of the vomit-inducing catchphrases used within head office - they asked difficult questions and pointed out reasons why certain ideas were doomed to failure.

The duty manager didn’t arrive until almost ten-fifteen. Fifteen minutes might not seem much but it could be the difference between finishing the service on all six screens or not. Unlike some, Craig never signed off on work he hadn’t fully completed.

He had the service routine down to a fine art by now and was getting along well when he discovered screen three’s 3D filter needed re-alignment and the focus had also drifted slightly. Checking the timesheet showed it wasn’t due on until one-thirty, so he left those adjustments until the end and cracked on with the other screens. But then he discovered a sound issue in five - left stage channel not working - so that delayed him as well. The last half hour, as the cinema opened to the public, was a crazy rush, made worse by the staff directing customers into screen three. Back in the old days, letting customers into an auditorium when service work was still underway would have been frowned on. ‘Never let them see the workings behind the magic,’ an old engineer, now retired, had said. But these days, no one cared and finding a member of staff to escort them out would have just taken up more valuable time, so he ran his test patterns surrounded by pensioners, finishing just five minutes before the show was programmed to begin.

He ate his lunch in the box, sitting next to the main server, where, thankfully, a table and chair had been left for the convenience of whoever was programming the weekly schedule. He checked his phone to see what had come in while he’d been working. Looked as if Mike was having a busy day. As he finished up his salad, a message pinged in. James!

I’m just starting to strip… it read.

Craig’s mind turned abruptly dirty. He imagined James peeling off his shirt, that look in his eyes.

Another message arrived. …the wallpaper in the lounge. Got you going there!

Craig smiled. The temperature in here has just rocketed. He watched the little dots doing their dance as James composed a reply.

Having a good day?

Better for hearing from you. He wondered if he should bitch about the meeting, then decided against it. This wasn’t James’s world and he didn’t want to come over as a bitter old cynic, even if that’s what he was. Talk later? Should be home fairly early today.

Look forward to it. Better go. Steam’s beginning to rise.

Craig finished his lunch, then filled in all the relevant forms on his laptop. It was only two o’clock when he’d done. He strolled up and down the projection room, making sure everything looked fine on screen, then packed up. Might as well get in an early day while he could. It made up for all the times he was out from early morning until most of the way through an evening; all of those wasted hours staring at the walls of yet another room in a Deluxe Inn. He didn’t even feel guilty about it as he might once have done.

Back home, he called in to see Madge. He’d bought her a jar of home made tomato chutney from Cassie’s Cabin as a thank you for feeding Jerry.

‘Oh, you shouldn’t have,’ she said.

‘I don’t like to take you for granted.’

‘That’s nice of you, anyway. I can have this with a bit of bubble and squeak. Tea?’

‘Oh, er, yes please.’ Madge’s house was the mirror image of his own, but far more homely, even if overstuffed with trinkets she and her late husband had brought back from their many holidays. Every one had a story. The mantelpiece was crammed with photos of her two daughters and their families.

‘So, how was your weekend?’ she called through from the kitchen.

‘Good. Oh, I meant to ask you if you’d mind looking after Jerry again this weekend, too?’

‘Of course.’ She popped her head around the door. ‘So, going back again, eh?’

‘Yes.’ He was in for an interrogation now.

She brought a tray through with cups and sliced Battenberg cake on a fancy plate. ‘Tell me about him, then.’

‘He’s about the same age as me. Bit more hair, bit less fat.’

‘You aren’t fat, love.’

‘I’m fatter than I used to be.’

‘Happens to us all as we get older. What’s his name?’

‘James.’ He found himself telling her all about him; how they’d met while stranded in the snow, the way something had just clicked between them even though they didn’t know much about each other. His smile and twinkling blue eyes.

‘Think he might be “the one”?’

‘Well… maybe.’ Craig was scared of admitting his feelings for James in case it jinxed everything. It still didn’t seem possible it had all happened so quickly.

Madge’s eyes went all misty. ‘When I first met Eddie, it was like that. Love at first sight. I knew I’d spend the rest of my life with him.’ She poured tea into the dainty cups. ‘So, he’s bought a farm, did you say?’

‘A farm cottage with a bit of land. It needs a lot of work. But the place has a comfortable feel to it. It’s like you can leave all the rush of today’s world behind and really relax there. You know, I didn’t even look at my phone once all weekend.’

‘Too busy doing other things?’ She smiled knowingly.

Craig felt himself blushing. Discussing his sex life with a seventy year old was well out of his comfort zone. ‘We, er, knocked down an old fireplace.’

‘Well, whatever you got up to, you certainly look better for it. I’ve not seen you so happy in ages.’

Once he’d got away from Madge and the lure of Battenberg cake, he rummaged around in the freezer drawer and found some tuna steaks that were still in date. He always kept it stocked with frozen mixed veg and oven chips, so he cooked some of them to go with it. The meal felt - and looked - a bit more substantial than his usual ready meals for one. It was possibly even healthy, although it was probably best not to shock his body too much all in one go after so many years of junk food. Once he’d eaten, he picked up the phone and without a second thought, called James.

The phone rang a few times before he picked up. ‘Sorry about that. I could hear the damn thing ringing, but couldn’t find it right away.’

Just hearing his voice again made Craig smile. ‘Get much stripping done?’

‘Nearly two walls. Woodchip’s a bugger to get off. But underneath, it’s not too bad. Might need a skim. Can you plaster?’

‘Get plastered, yes. Actual plastering, no. I’ve filled a few holes before…’

‘Yes, well, maybe next time.’

Craig hadn’t actually meant it in a suggestive way, but now that he’d started… ‘Sorry. It just slipped out.’

James chuckled at that. ‘Let’s hope not.’

Talking on the phone with him was as easy as in person. Craig looked at the display some time later and found they’d been chatting for almost an hour. Not about anything specific, just an easy progression from one topic to another. ‘I’d better get off soon. They don’t mind us making a few personal calls each week, but I don’t want to push my luck.’

‘Don’t you have your own phone?’

‘Somewhere. But I never used it much so the battery kept running down. Then I lost it, although I’m fairly sure it’s somewhere in the house.’ Since Matt had left, no one had really talked to him apart from colleagues, but maybe he should dig it out again? Then he wouldn’t be relying solely on his work phone. He could even turn it off sometimes.

‘I’ll let you go, then.’

‘Bye for now.’ He was reluctant to break the connection and after he did, spent a while looking around his living room. It wasn’t much less boring than a Deluxe Inn, really. This house was somewhere to keep his stuff and provided a roof over his head. Nothing else really. If he ever moved, he wouldn’t really miss the place.

If he moved… Craig let his mind wander and imagined what it would be like to move in with James. So far, everything had gone well, but wasn’t it a bit soon to be thinking like that? They weren’t a pair of lovestruck teenagers, to go jumping in without really considering the consequences. He remembered Marge’s comment about meeting her husband and knowing she’d spend the rest of her life with him. How could she have been so certain? He liked James. He liked him a lot. He could easily envision living with him in the old cottage. But how would he earn money out there in the sticks? He couldn’t just expect James to support him. That would be a sure way to ruin any relationship. Yet he couldn’t carry on working as he did now, either. There’d be no point living together if he was never there; at the beck and call of the OC. Plus, he didn’t even know what these ‘exciting new developments’ would bring. Maybe the company would make him redundant and take the decision out of his hands?

By Thursday, he’d spoken to James a couple more times, including a very steamy conversation on Wednesday night. He’d never realised phone calls could be so much fun. The memories of it buoyed him up during the long drive to London for the meeting.

Theories and speculation were still running rife . ‘We’ll know it’s bad news if there’s someone from HR there,’ Emlyn said, as they stood outside the office block, smokers having their last drags of nicotine and non-smokers with them because the smokers always had the best gossip.

‘Always look on the bright side,’ Mike put in, then started whistling the tune made famous in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. A few of the others joined in, Craig included. Some of the head office types looked askance at them as they went past, clearly assuming they were slightly mad.

‘Right,’ Emlyn said. ‘Best go in and see what delights are awaiting us.’

There wasn’t anyone present from HR, which made everyone relax a bit. No redundancies today. A Powerpoint presentation had been cued up onto the screen at the end of the meeting room, entitled ‘New Roles, New Opportunities’. That sounded slightly ominous. Craig sat with Emlyn, Mike and Tariq; the old guard, who’d all started before the digital rollout. The newer ones clustered together similarly. Tony, Maz, Paul and Greg, who was young enough to still have the occasional outbreak of acne. He was so skinny Maz could probably bench press him with ease. Mind you, she could probably bench press any of them without breaking into a sweat.

‘Help yourself to tea or coffee,’ Nick, the head of their department, was smart casual personified in a pale blue shirt and tan chinos. He’d never been an engineer, but give him an Excel spreadsheet and he could make anything seem possible. ‘Sandwiches will be coming in at one.’

Craig glanced at Mike. It was going to be a long meeting, then.

The first half hour was fairly routine. Carol, the admin assistant, went through all the figures showing breakdowns by area, cinema and screens. Richard, the senior engineer (who was actually younger than Craig) told them about the latest server and projector updates, plus the bugs they might expect when these were loaded. Greg diligently made notes; slightly pointless as Carol would email them the minutes by tomorrow latest.

Eventually, all the normal business was done and Nick took the laser pointer, circling the words on the screen. ‘So now, let's get down to the exciting part of today’s meeting.’

Emlyn, who was only three years away from retirement and old enough not to care what anyone thought, yawned theatrically.

Nick ignored him. ‘“New Roles, New Opportunities”,’ he recited, in case any of them couldn’t read. ‘We’ve been working on this project for a couple of months now, based on information from the tracker, data from the OC and feedback from you guys.’

No one had asked Craig for feedback, but judging by the smug expressions on Tony and Greg’s faces, they must have contributed.

‘I appreciate all of you have had to adapt to new ways of working as we’ve transitioned into the digital age. Now we’re in a position to finalise the roles you’ll be inhabiting going forward.’

Was there a course somewhere that taught people corporate speak, Craig wondered, immediately hoping they wouldn’t sign him up for it.

Nick changed the slide to one showing a number of blank speech bubbles. ‘Let’s hear from all of you what your role encompasses right now.’

As expected, the youngsters chipped in first. ‘Dealing with emergencies,’ Maz offered.

Nick clicked again and one of the bubbles filled with the word “emergencies”.

‘Servicing equipment,’ Tony added.

Another bubble filled with the word “servicing”.

Mike leaned close to Craig and whispered in his ear, ‘Driving too fast.’

Craig suppressed a laugh as other aspects of the job were mentioned and filled in. Finally, only one was left empty.

‘Anyone?’ Nick asked, finger poised over the button.

‘Training,’ Greg said brightly.

‘Exactly. A crucial part of our role has always been to train the people on site so they can deal with a wider range of issues themselves, in conjunction with support from the OC. If we get that aspect right, then there’ll be far less need to run around fixing things. We need to be…’ he changed to the next slide with a flourish. ‘Proactive instead of reactive.’

Emlyn made an odd sort of noise and Craig looked over quickly to make sure he wasn’t having a coronary. He was red in the face, yes, but otherwise seemed fine. ‘How are we going to train them when they either don’t care or don’t have the time?’ he snapped, voicing the opinions of at least half the engineers in the room.

Nick still appeared relaxed. ‘Glad you brought that up, because we’ve come up with a solution. Greg, would you care to elaborate.’

Greg smiled confidently. ‘I was finding the same problems at my own sites and worked out it was because our main issue is time. There are only a few hours before a cinema opens to the public and most of us are working flat out to get service work completed in that time. So I’ve been trialling a new concept at some of my sites. I get in earlier to do my own work, then the managers come in at nine and we have a good thirty minutes to an hour to do some training. I’ve devised a schedule…’

‘Wait a minute,’ Craig said. ‘How do you get in earlier without anyone there to let you in?’

Greg held up a bunch of keys. ‘Simples,’ he said, like those annoying meerkats in the adverts. ‘I had spare keys cut and got all the alarm codes for my sites.’

‘Alarm codes?’ Emlyn said. ‘Don’t think I’d want to be turning off alarms. Someone could break in while I’m busy in projection, steal a load of stuff and I’d be none the wiser. Then guess who’d get the blame.’ He pointed at himself.

Mike spoke up. ‘We’ve always been told not to work alone for Health and Safety reasons. If you had an electric shock, or slipped and broke a leg, no one would find you for hours.’

‘You could get stuck in a lift,’ Tariq added.

Craig knew he was speaking from experience, having had that happen once in a cinema. Even though managers and staff had been on site, it had taken them nearly two hours to get him released.

Greg looked at them all. ‘Well, if you’re going to be negative about it…’

‘We’re not being negative,’ Craig said. ‘We’re pointing out the reasons why we don’t already do it. Hell, if I could start at seven or eight, like I used to when there were still projectionists to let us in, that’d be great. I’d have a lot more time to be thorough.’

Greg stared at him. ‘How long does it take you to check a screen?’

‘Around half an hour, depending on whether there’s much wrong.’

‘I can do it in fifteen minutes,’ Greg sounded smug. ‘And if you want to know how, I’m happy to show you. It’s down to efficiency and multi-tasking.’

Craig felt his blood pressure rising and not in a good way. ‘Go on, then. I’d love to see how it’s done.’

Nick stepped in, holding out his hands in conciliatory fashion. ‘Let’s cool it, guys. We’re all on the same side, after all. We all want to be as effective as possible in our roles.’

The younger four nodded enthusiastically.

‘So, Craig, if you touch base with Greg afterwards I’m sure he’d be pleased to show you his methods. Carry on please, Greg.’

Craig tuned out as Greg talked enthusiastically about staying at the cinema until six or seven in the evening, so that as managers went off shift, he could provide mini training refreshers. Bet they loved that.

At lunch, when they went outside for another nicotine break - or in Craig and Tariq’s case a venting break - Mike lit up first and said, ‘Is Greg actually human, or does he just plug himself in at night to recharge?’

‘He’s ambitious,’ Tariq said. ‘Bet he sees himself doing Nick’s job in a few years.’

‘What about the others? You’d think they’d have more sense,’ Craig said. ‘I worked with Paul a few times when he joined the department and he seemed fairly sensible.’

‘He’s been assimilated into the great company collective,’ Mike said. ‘Only way to explain it.’

After lunch it didn’t get any better. ‘Going forward’ there would be new targets and measures of effectiveness, most of which involved completing even more online forms.

‘And I’m pleased to introduce our newest incentive,’ Nick announced happily. ‘We’ll be adding up all the scores each month and the winner will receive the “Engineer of the Month” award.’

‘What a load of pointless drivel,’ Emlyn said, once the meeting finally ended around four. For most of them, it would mean not getting home until late in the evening, as the major routes out of London were always clogged by mid afternoon.

‘Could have skipped the entire afternoon. That training session on filling in the new forms was a waste of time.’ Tariq shook his head.

‘Copy and paste,’ said Mike. ‘Quickest way by far. Any form that takes longer to complete than the job you just did is stupid.’

No one hung around, wanting to get away as soon as possible, but during most of the two and a half hour drive, Craig was speaking to one or the other of them on the phone. He bet that Nick - and Greg’s - ears were burning.

When he got home, he still felt unsettled and angry. Everything he’d once enjoyed about the job seemed to have become less important, while all the parts he hated were expanding. He’d messaged Greg though, purely because he wanted to see if he’d just been bullshitting. He bet Greg hadn’t expected anyone to take him up on the offer. They agreed to meet at a site around an hour and a half’s drive for them both the following Tuesday.

Friday was another comparatively easy day. Traffic was always far worse, so he’d booked in to do some sound and picture alignments at his closest site. Even better, the former chief technician still worked there, in management now, but was quite happy to come in early and make tea, help out and chat about the good old days. It was amazing how much more you could get done even with someone just moving sound kit from one screen to the next. He finished early, then went home briefly to change, pack his bags and feed Jerry before setting off for Derbyshire. The workday week receded behind him and the road led onward toward two blissful days and nights.

Copyright © 2021 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

15 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

 

I bet Craig will discover that Greg is making a lot of short cuts and mising potential problems. Hopefully, this stupid new scheme will be the push he needs to quit is job. James will be happy to help him find something to do locally.

 

It's another step towards Craig becoming totally disillusioned with his job.

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I had flashbacks to my 7-year life in corporate culture.  "cheerleader for change’ - and yes, that was one of the vomit-inducing catchphrases used within head office" This made me laugh out loud!  Office Space was a documentary, not a comedy.  I have worked for a family owned independent garden center for 16 years and I will never go back to cubicle hell!  I love the direction this story is going.

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Greg has an overeager head up his ass...I suppose when the managers come in at 9AM, they've nothing to do but laze around!!!!

Someone once said that bean counters were nothing but financial historians at war with the past, in this case, these financial warriors lack the depth and breadth of expertise to understand that sometimes sensible rules put in place years ago were done so for a reason!!! 

‘Exactly. A crucial part of our role has always been to train the people on site so they can deal with a wider range of issues themselves, in conjunction with support from the OC. If we get that aspect right, then there’ll be far less need to run around fixing things. We need to be…’ he changed to the next slide with a flourish. ‘Proactive instead of reactive.’

Massive move to major layoffs, can you say redundancies???  More to the point, while this training program sounds like the cat's ass, what is the seniority level of the folks Greg wants to train, point in case, where are the annual turnover figures for that position!!!!

Emlyn made an odd sort of noise and Craig looked over quickly to make sure he wasn’t having a coronary. He was red in the face, yes, but otherwise seemed fine. ‘How are we going to train them when they either don’t care or don’t have the time?’ he snapped, voicing the opinions of at least half the engineers in the room.

Nick still appeared relaxed. ‘Glad you brought that up, because we’ve come up with a solution. Greg, would you care to elaborate.’

Greg smiled confidently. ‘I was finding the same problems at my own sites and worked out it was because our main issue is time. There are only a few hours before a cinema opens to the public and most of us are working flat out to get service work completed in that time. So I’ve been trialling a new concept at some of my sites. I get in earlier to do my own work, then the managers come in at nine and we have a good thirty minutes to an hour to do some training. I’ve devised a schedule…’  

What liability is incurred, when a service person enters to work, and through no fault of their own, gets hurt and lays around till help arrives?

If a site manager, who's been trained by Greg's program and gets hurt, and there is no one around...what then??? 

Finally...after years of cost cutting, deferred maintenance, will the local manager be trained well enough to understand, spot critical areas of urgently needed facility repairs??

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8 hours ago, CincyKris said:

I had flashbacks to my 7-year life in corporate culture.  "cheerleader for change’ - and yes, that was one of the vomit-inducing catchphrases used within head office" This made me laugh out loud!  Office Space was a documentary, not a comedy.  I have worked for a family owned independent garden center for 16 years and I will never go back to cubicle hell!  I love the direction this story is going.

As you may have guessed, some of this story is autobiographical! One of the things that always struck me when working in the cinema industry (particularly in the latter years) was the way people in head office perceived those who worked in the field or in actual cinemas. We were seen as inferior beings. The further removed your job was from what I considered the core of the business - showing films to the public - the higher regarded you seemed to be. One experience that really brought this home was when we had to attend the compulsory company Christmas do. Everyone was split up from their regular departments and put on a table with a load of strangers. You then had to introduce yourself. As they went round and various people announced they were from HR, marketing, finance etc, people smiled. When I said ‘ cinema engineer' they looked at me as if I was from another planet!

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7 hours ago, drsawzall said:

What liability is incurred, when a service person enters to work, and through no fault of their own, gets hurt and lays around till help arrives?

If a site manager, who's been trained by Greg's program and gets hurt, and there is no one around...what then??? 

Finally...after years of cost cutting, deferred maintenance, will the local manager be trained well enough to understand, spot critical areas of urgently needed facility repairs??

All extremely good points. When I was in the business, most of us refused to go in to a site alone. Even when there were staff and management on site, if we were going into a little-used area, such as behind a screen frame or on a roof, we'd tell them where we were going, how long we expected to be there and borrow a walkie talkie, just in case.

The local managers (except for the odd one or two) generally had no real interest in learning about projection equipment. Firstly, their own job took up most of their working hours and secondly, most of them weren't technically inclined, or even very practical. That's why they'd gone into management, rather than become a projectionist when they decided to take up a career in the cinema. The only thing both departments generally had in common was a love of films.

when I left the business, the turnover of management was gradually increasing as their workload increased. Older managers who had been on a decent wage were encouraged to take early retirement and the new ones started on a much lower salary while expected to work twice as hard.

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33 minutes ago, Mawgrim said:

As you may have guessed, some of this story is autobiographical! 

I'd suspected you were projecting yourself into this story.:)

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Typical of corporate greed!  Squeeze everything until there is nothing left then sell because the "bottom line" looks good!

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