Old Friends, Old Jobs!

Here’s hoping that you had a great Easter break.

I was delighted on Good Friday to have an old friend, Sharon Thomas, turn up with her husband for a short walk and lunch. Sharon and Clive were friends from my days at Wordplex, which was a horribly long time ago now. We first met in 1981, I think, when the company was expanding in Kingston.

It was a fascinating time. I had been employed in computing for a while, and had been working for a company selling advertising space on Prestel – a truly dreadful information system: slow, cumbersome and horrible to look at. I left that company on the day I saw the sales director and managing director rolling about on the sales floor, each attempting to thump each other in the face or throttle the other with their ties. 

I didn’t feel that company was right for me.

We did escape to the seaside too!

I had also worked for a company in Ludgate Hill, right in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was while I was there, working with a self-confessed drug smuggler, that I bought my first decent umbrella. I was a city gent, after all. That company collapsed when the finance director disappeared with all the company’s money and, I believe, the managing director’s wife. I think the two were later found in the Bahamas, probably with very nice suntans.

It was after that interesting interval that I applied to a job advert in the Evening Standard. I read that there was to be a series of opportunities to apply for jobs in a new office automation company: Wordplex.

I went along, and met some pleasant women, and then a tall, aloof man who eyed me austerely, before sending me over to meet Dick Houghton, the Region Manager. He seemed happy enough, and sent me to meet his boss, the UK managing Director.

I was hired, I later learned. I was to have a new car (my first company car: a Ford Cortina Mark 4 1.6 GL – lovely), a massive salary of £16,600 as a trainee salesman, and the potential of a considerable income based on commissions and bonuses.

They were happy times. Under Dick Houghton, I worked for Richard Frost with a team of other salesmen: Martyn Bryant, Peter Sutherland, David Ashworth, Graham Corbould,  Alan Mushett – and the Customer Support Representatives: Sharon, Lyn Downs, Cathy Ellen, Anne Shepherd, Lindsey Whithair … I’m surprised I can remember the names even now – I generally can’t remember people’s names when I’m still talking to them!

Those days don’t seem nearly forty years ago. It’s a shock to realise how much has happened, how much time has passed – and how many friends have died. I think I will have to write a book based on those days. Something to help me remember – and chuckle. Because most of the stories were hilarious. I recall those days with enormous fondness. I felt that I was in control of my life and career, and the world was an exciting place to be working.

But I can’t write that book. Not yet. My agent wants this manuscript completed first, and she’ll break my legs if I don’t crack on with it!

No idea what that Dalmatian was thinking!
3 Responses to “Old Friends, Old Jobs!”
  1. Lindsey Russell says:

    From the expression on your ridgy’s face and the other dog – is a cockadoddle belonging to your friends? – spotty dog has just farted and is trying to kid them it wasn’t her :)


    • Well, to be honest, if one of them was going to make a stink, it would be the Spotty Dog. However, she never winces in appreciation. She just leaves the room quietly before anyone else has noticed! Yes, the pup was Sharon’s. Lovely little thing, only six months old.


  2. Alan Mushett says:

    Mr Jecks, how the devil are you? This is Alan Mushett here, and i reckon I could help you write that book and provide some more names!


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