Thursday, 28 March 2013

Reading the small print

Working as a secretary at a school, my contract of employment has a slightly ambiguous phrase at the end -  'and any other reasonable requests'.  Today was one of those days when I queried what was reasonable and what wasn't!
See, my work colleague left today and although she was born in Finland she spent most of her youth and young  adulthood in New York.  She has lived in the UK for about 25 years now but still has a distinct American accent.  We love her.  We love her attitude to life, her American expressions and her whole character.  But she's going on to pastures new, becoming a deputy head in a new school that is opening in London and today was her last day. 
Tradition dictates that on your last day, all the staff gather in the staff room and your line manager reads a speech saying how wonderful you are, gives you your farewell gift and you do a return speech.  Wine and snacks are provided - it's a nice event.  But my colleague isn't just your average person.  She's vivacious and fun and one of my fellow secretaries traditionally writes a humourous poem whenever a member of the office staff leaves.  But this time she thought it would be fun to write a song along the lines of New York, New York.  And she thought it would be 'fun' for us to sing it to her.  Right in front of the whole of the rest of the staff.  One by one we said 'no'.  Sore throats, inability to hold a tune, hating standing up in public.  And then someone said - 'but wouldn't she just love it, we ought to forget about how we feel and do it for her'.  Well of course that was it.  How could we refuse now?  So with the strains of Frank Sinatra's backing track playing softly off a phone,we stood there, with 80 pairs of eyes watching us and we sang.  And our colleague beamed with pleasure, tears in eyes - she knew we would have had to be coerced into doing this - and it was so worth it. 
However I do think it was a bit harsh when I was speaking to the Head of History later and he told me 'not to give up the day job'.  Cheek!

11 comments:

Sandie said...

A moment you will all remember, love the way you told this story

Alison said...

That made me laugh, Deb...when I left Scotland to move down to Whitley Bay, one of the staff at the school I was in wrote my 'farewell' poem to the same tune!!..the whole staff sang it though..you've brought back another great memory!!
Alison xx

scrappyjacky said...

I think all the staff should have been coerced as well!!!!
Very brave of you,Deb....but obviously very worthwhile.

Abi said...

How rude of your co worker! I'm sure it sounded beautiful and I'm sure she appreciated it! x

Ruth said...

Brave girl!

Amy said...

Oh the things we do! I bet she loved it ... and it probably wasn't as bad as what you'd thought it might be!

Rhona said...

I could just picture you all singing - well done for doing it for her and putting your own doubts behind you. You'll always remember it and I'm sure you might just be able to get a scrapbook layout out of it!
Have a wonderful holiday and Happy Easter
xx

Denise said...

I can just picture it!Lovely story and I hope there are some photos!

debs14 said...

There are no photos (I hope!) I was only given half an hour's notice that I was doing it and I had spent 15 of those minutes saying "It's my worst nightmare, don't make me do it."

S said...

How fun . . . for the audience. What a good sport you are!

Maria Ontiveros said...

LOL! I'm sure you'll never regret it!
Rinda