In these days where power naps and gigabytes are king, we often hear of people saying they are “stressed out” or have to go and “chill” for a period to regain their composure. We have heard that in extreme instances, individuals have gone on stress management courses or have been known to seek inner peace through a therapist from an oriental academy. Unfortunately, this situation is not entirely confined to the United States and we have been brought news of the occasional stress ball or stress reliever finding its way into some Glasgow offices. However, we can honestly say that at CRGP the working environment is blissful and that our staff are all happy and friendly. And if you don’t believe this to be true just ask Jimmy.
In early May, Jimmy bade farewell to CRGP after 15 years’ service.
In an earlier life, Jimmy was a civil servant and he worked at the Johnstone local office of the Department for Health and Social Security. He was promoted to the level of deputy manager and after 40 years he retired at the relatively young age of 58. However, inactivity did not suit him and after a couple of years he noticed an advert in the JobCentre that had been placed by CRGP.
“They were looking for a young person or someone with office experience,” says Jimmy. “I had 40 years’ office experience so I applied and was interviewed by Roger Fleming and Tom Gilchrist. At the interview I was told they were looking for someone to look after correspondence and do some filing. I got the job, it was part-time, 9.30am-12.30pm and this suited me fine.”
Looking back on the CRGP staff at that time for Jimmy was almost like recalling a classroom of schoolmates. He started to reel off names like the morning roll-call: Colin Dair, Tom Crombie, Bill Davies, Bob Turnbull, Derek Brown, Kenny Veitch and Douglas Graham – all still active in the company.
Jimmy witnessed the company’s growth and he was soon involved in many different tasks, one of which involved the photocopying of plans and dealing with the printing of photographs until digital processes were implemented. It had also moved from Lynedoch Place to Herbert Street. The arrival of computers meant the departure of plans but in the time leading up to this the company had grown substantially from 20 to 60 staff. Filing and the amount of files also greatly increased and where Jimmy had two or three four-drawer cabinets this grew to a small army of 14 free-standing cupboards.
He had taken on a bundle of other duties from his photocopying days and those included filing correspondence, keeping records – using barcodes – of jobs that were finished and had to go into storage.
“I recall in my earlier days with CRGP that when a job was opened there was only one file but over the years this seemed to grow to the point where there might be 14 or 15 different files for the one job,” says Jimmy. “The reason for this was quality control so that anyone could examine immediately each stage of a project.”
As Jimmy went through all of the other areas in which he was involved it soon became clear that this man had become a vital component in the CRGP mechanism. He was a man for all seasons, he was a man for all reasons and he was a man whose hours were confined to the mornings. Would it be fair to wonder how he got on with his colleagues? Was there a lot of flashing teeth, snarls and growls as people beat a path to his desk to “book” his services.
“I was never happier in all my life at work than I have been for the past 15 years with CRGP,” says Jimmy. “It was an excellent place to work. When I left the Civil Service it was so militant with trade unionism, I was glad to get out of it.
“From the day that I went in to the day that I left CRGP, I’ve never experienced one cross word with anyone. Everyone was so friendly.”
Is it hard to believe what Jimmy says? Why should it be in these days where we hear so much about stress, anxiety and despondency among so many working groups that CRGP can buck the trend? Has this company got something that it should pass on to others? Perhaps Jimmy can give us the answer.
“There is a very relaxed atmosphere in the office and I cannot say that I’ve seen any animosity between departments. I certainly have not detected anything. It may be that because I am the oldest person in the office there is an attitude to ‘look after the old man’ but everyone around me was happy and they all got on really well together. It is a really excellent place to work and any time a new member of staff was started they just seemed to fall into the same pattern.
“The company also looked after me very well and there was never any sign of penny-pinching. I used to get an annual review and one year Derek was the director in charge of this. He gave me a generous increase but then said the company would like, in appreciation, to do something else for my wife and me. He said that the partners wished to give us a holiday in the Costa del Sol, indeed this they did for the past three years.”
Jimmy has certainly seen a huge difference between the working environment he endured as a civil servant to that of being part of the team at CRGP. But he does reflect that he was perhaps not best informed on some occasions. He was attached to, and depended greatly on, his old trusty Remington typewriter and consequently he somehow managed to escape having an email address. This he felt was a slight disadvantage to him, especially if on the rare occasion someone decided to leave. And it was often three or four days after their departure that Jimmy realised they were gone.
“I was actually sorry to retire because I really enjoyed my job but people outside the office were saying to me ‘are you not thinking about giving up work at your age?’ so I guess they may be right although I know I will miss the many friends I have made at CRGP and of course the crack first thing in the morning always got the day off to a good start.”
One thing is for sure and that is the staff at CRGP will miss Jimmy’s friendly and organised approach to work. He was amiable, companionable and a good working colleague to us all. We wish him and his wife Margaret many years of happy, contented retirement.