Wednesday, 13 July 2016

New Order - In A Lonely Place


Pressure, under pressure


NEW ORDER - In A Lonely Place

Pressure, under pressure, we have all been there at some time. Here are two little incidents when I found myself under extreme pressure.

I was working at British Airways  Cargo and had been there for about 13 year when the section I was working in had closed down and I was going to be re-deployed to another department.  I was asked ,as I expressed an interest in working in the passenger department would I assist for a few weeks as 'an auntie' . Sounded good to me and sounded like a bit of a jolly. Basically you had to assist with unaccompanied minors who were travelling to and from Heathrow Airport.

I would meet them and take them to where ever they were going and ensure they were met or deposited at the correct place. It was pretty straight forward and good fun. There were usually only 1 or 2 per flight. That was until one day the manifest showed 40 kids were due to go on a flight to Kenya. I was with this old woman called Eve. She was in her seventies and was a career Stewardess and was from the Old School.

Suddenly we were swarmed with screaming kids who all had to be checked in tagged and corralled for lack of a better word. It was pandemonium. I suddenly realized that Eve had done a runner and I was left on my own with no help whatsoever. It was sheer hell, I had only accounted for about half of the expected names on the list. I had a microphone and kept making announcements for missing kids as well as checking some in and tagging them and putting them into my makeshift coral. I was pouring of sweat by this time and completely stressed but I just could not stop as there was a flight that had to meet its target.

Eventually I managed to round them all up and like the pied piper they all followed me through departures to the departure gate where I signed them off to someone else. Fuck that! I headed for the Bar and had a few welcome refreshments to get back down to planet earth.

When I returned,  there was Eve, she said she did not feel well and had to see the medical. What an Old Pro or should I say Old Crow.

Boy that was some experience one I am not likely to ever forget. I decided to stay with boxes rather than screaming kids.

The other pressure moment was when I was in Jeddah in the eighties. It was a normal day when a colleague came to me and said you are wanted by Mr Whaby H Whaby our big boss. 'He wants to see you immediately over at the Conference  room'. I arrived there and was told to give a talk on what the department does and what are the future plans.  I said where and he pointed me out to the stage floor. There were about 400 delegates there, I was handed a microphone and was almost pushed out onto the stage.

I was flabbergasted and in shock, I did not know what to say or where to start. I mumbled something about getting some notes and I will be back in a few minutes. I just panicked and had to escape somewhere.  I passed my Boss who gave me that stare which says  'you are sacked mate'.

My head cleared and I returned and I got onto the stage and asked if there was anything anybody wanted to know or clarify about the department. When I was asked a question it was Ok I could respond. It was just the getting started.  This went on for some time I gained my confidence and it all  appeared to be a success. My boss came on to the stage and thanked me and I slunked of back to my office. Nothing was ever mentioned about it again. I must have just escaped by my skin of the teeth. It was an uncomfortable moment and it was there I learned exactly what a panic attack was.    

By Old Pa

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New Order - In A Lonely Place
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14 July 2016 at 08:54

Stressful times Old Pa. Great writing. I'm loving these memoirs.