Honey I shredded my life

For reasons that may be revealed in the fullness of time I embarked on a clear out last night. It is an intimidating task. The first thing I opened was an old briefcase that my father gave me when I started work back in the stone age.

Inside were my employment performance appraisals for the best part of 20 years. Naturally I started to read them. The dilemma was keep or shred. It might seem odd keeping them for so long. However they brought back lots of memories. Not of the appraisals but of the people, mostly managers who became friends.

I saw how in 1985 my next of kin was my father and in 1986 it was not. He had died. The man who signed that year’s appraisal was one of the three people who sorted me out the day my father died. Such traumatic events brings out the very best in people, in this instance Keith Haisman, Gunter Grehl and Frank Leeson. Where are they now?

There were constant references to how frustrated I could be with life, the universe and everything. One boss wrote something that I found quite remarkable.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 14.22.20

The man was clearly delusional but this was all I kept from 20 years of feedback. Thanks David.

And the rest was shredded. Irretrievable. It does not seem to matter any more. The past is the past. I suspect there will be a lot more shredding of memories over the next few months. If you see the blog looks a little tear-stained then forgive the nostalgia.

What did amuse me though was the amount I was paid. My first job as a graduate paid precisely £4,063 per annum. Hardly enough to keep Lulu in biscuits today. I remember my mother telling me that she once earned 8s/6d per week. Hard to fathom. I wonder what I shall find next.



29 thoughts on “Honey I shredded my life

  1. Firstly Andrew, I think you missed your vocation as a headline writer – brilliant!
    Second, while it’s a trip down memory lane it can bring out the sentimental – and sometimes there are shocks along the way when your actual memory doesn’t tie in with what you see on the page. Having said all that – what about the school reports – I bet they’d make good reading 🙂

  2. Although you are shredding the papers, I envy your having them to shred, Andrew. As I may have mentioned before, when my mother died my father tossed all family records into the landfill. It had never occurred to me that I needed to ask for them for protection, For some reason he had saved my brother and my report cards from elementary school. The pathway to my present level of genius was obvious. LOL
    My first job was cleaning tables in my parents’ delicatessen. My compensation….pickles. 🙂

      • I remember looking something up on the net about Saturday jobs for my daughters and I found a teenage bakery worker who listed all the perks, including “and you get a free pie and coke for lunch”!

        I’m not at all surprised by your appraisal.

      • My first Saturday job was in Freeman, Hardy and Willis. I don’t know if it still exists but I was a dab hand at selling shoes. 🙂 No pies or coke though.

  3. Sometimes this kind of stuff has got to be done. MY first post-graduation job paid 64 pounds a week (1977). One old document I’ve kept is my USDAW Membership card.

    • Thats very good. Unless its a 30′ container box. Happy Halloween. Nobody did Trick or Treat here. Lulu tried but only got biscuits. She does Bite or Lick.

  4. A task with much mixed emotion. I hope you feel lighter at the end but also reinforced (sounds like concrete, but you know what I mean) by what you’ve done, where you’ve been and how much people have cared. I have lightened my archives a couple of times, but much remains and I keep adding to it. My first post university job paid £990 per annum (Research Assistant at the National Maritime Museum).

    • I think the key is whether the job was enjoyable. I worked with a lot of very entertaining folk in Havant West Street branch. The manager was a bit like Capt. Mainwaring. A lovely man but made us keep our jackets on no matter how hot it was. No dress down Friday in the 70s. Happy days.

  5. When I was helping clean out the closets of my grandfather’s house, we came across two boxes of all the letters his grandchildren had sent to him over several decades. We sat down on the floor, divided them and read them aloud. Several of my cousins then used theirs in a bon fire that night. I kept mine. I’ve never read them since, but I just couldn’t destroy them.

    • I have letters going back to the 1940s Marylin, between my father and his parents. Some are scraps, some are pencilled notes. I will keep them all.

  6. I do think there is something nice about reading physical papers.
    Having recently cleared my mums house out, I have a pile of paperwork that steps into the past that needs sorting.
    LOL, I remember my first wage as a lowly shop assistant in Leeds. £3.17.6d

    • Was that per hour, per day, per week or per month Vicky? I take it wasn’t per year. Even in Leeds 😀

      My first journalism one was around £4 grand a year. The job before that was a council one, can’t remember how much, just that it was less. Archaeology used to pay £35 a week I think, and you had to find rent out of that. (Early 80s).

      A kept up his paper round when he got his apprenticeship, because it paid more.

  7. I’m not sure how I missed this post. Must be other ones that I missed as well.

    But with today’s post I did some clicking and found this one. I am in the same boat. Lots of yearly papers from supervisors that I have kept over a period of 35 years. At some point they all must go. Funny how some of us are sentimental and other folks don’t give a wit about anything from the past.

    My dad died in 1984 and now it seems eons ago. He also died suddenly.

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