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In the last fifteen years I’ve had just one vacation, a seven days in New York.
About ten years ago some friends and family were telling me to take a vacation, it had been five years since I had taken time off and gone somewhere. I kept telling them that I couldn’t because who would look after the factory. I mean there was the customers, the workers, the vehicles. Who would see about all of that?
They said, “Oh God Michael, cool it nah, you think that if you not there for one day the whole factory goin’ to close down?”
After much debate I decided that I could leave the sales manager in charge and try a week in New York. It would have been too much money to go back home to Scotland for such a short time.
The first day in New York at eight o'clock sharp I reached for the phone. “Michael,” my wife said, “What are you doing?” “Oh, nothing, I was just going to phone the factory to make sure everything is OK.”
“Michael, Michael, Michael, you are on vacation, relax, put down the phone, what happened, do you think that just because you’re not there for one day the whole factory’s going to close down?”
Feeling a bit guilty, I mumbled something and put down the phone. For the entire week I resisted the temptation to call.
When I reached back to Trinidad however, the first place I went to was the factory.
I found the doors closed, there was nobody around, deserted. After the long flight and all it gave me an eerie “Outer Limits” kind of feeling. What the hell was going on?
I immediately drove to the house of the nearest employee and found him at home.
He explained to me that at eight o'clock in the morning of the day after I left, the sales manager decided that he was going to change the way that things were run around the place. Too much slackness was going on. So he came outside and started telling people to do this and that and all kinds of things. The workers got vexed, who the hell did he think he was. And the kinds of things he was telling them to do! Even the boss didn’t tell them to do that!
“Look,” he said, “Mr Jones left me in charge here and anything I say to do you have to do it, right?”
They said, "Fuck you!!!!”
Well now he got really mad. “Right,” he said, “that’s it, everyone outside, right now.”
So everybody packed up their things and went outside. He then padlocked the doors, jumped in his car and drove off.
The factory stayed closed for the whole week.
“What happened Michael, do you think that just because you’re not there for one day the whole factory’s going to close down?”
The really incredible part of the story is that the next day when I met the sales manager he watched me with a smug look on his face and said, “OK Mr Jones, which one of them are you going to fire first?”