Irene de Bruyn kindly sent me the following regulations of Huddleston & Bradford, a London bank dealing in foreign exchange.
The rules and regulations concern workers’ conditions in 1854 and provide a clue to why the trade union movement, 60 years later, became so reactionary.
1. Godliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business.
2. The firm has reduced the working day to the hours from 8.30am to 7pm.
3. Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The clerical staff will be present.
4. Clothing will be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colour.
5. A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff bring 4lb of coal each day during cold weather.
6. No member of the clerical staff may leave the room without permission from Mr Roberts. The calls of nature are permitted and clerical staff may use the garden beyond the second gate. This area must be kept clean and in good order.
7. No talking is allowed during business hours.
8. The craving of tobacco, wines or spirits is a human weakness, and as such is forbidden to the clerical staff.
9. Members of the clerical staff will provide their own pens.
10. The managers of the firm will expect a great rise in the output of work to compensate for these near-Utopian conditions.
WHY MEN DIE FIRST
Win Kuppers asks a simple question: Why do men die before women? He says the question has gone unanswered for centuries – but at last he has the answer: “It’s because they want to.”
He says this is because if you put a woman on a pedestal and try to protect her from the rat race you’re a male chauvinist.
But if you stay home and do the housework you’re a pansy.
If you work too hard there’s never any time for her. If you don’t work enough you’re a good-for-nothing.
If she has a boring repetitive job with low pay this is exploitation. If you have a boring repetitive job with low pay you should get off your lazy behind and find something better.
If you mention to a female how nice she looks its sexual harassment. If you keep quiet its male indifference.
If you cry you’re a wimp. If you don’t you are insensitive.
If you make a decision without consulting her you’re a chauvinist. If she makes a decision without consulting you she’s a liberated woman.
If you appreciate the female form and frilly underwear you’re a pervert. If you don’t you’re gay.
If you try to keep yourself in shape you’re vain. If you don’t you’re a slob.
If you buy her flowers you’re after something. If you don’t you’re not thoughtful.
If you’re proud of your achievements you’re full of yourself. If you don’t you’re unambitious.
ANYTHING TO OBLIGEA young engineer was leaving the office late one afternoon when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.
“Listen,” said the CEO, “this is a very sensitive and important document, and my secretary is not here. Can you make this thing work?”
“Certainly,” said the young engineer. He turned on the machine and showed where to insert the paper. He then pressed the start button.
“Excellent!” said the CEO as the machine swallowed his paper. “I just need one copy.”
Moral: Never assume that your boss knows what he’s doing.