Thank you goes to Linda for her idea of bringing us together for this
Time Machine Blogging Challenge.
Directions: Pick a time in your life that was critical to your development. You can go back or forwards in time. It can be real or imagined. After all, it is real if you imagine it!
Choose an idea or a skill or a value you hold dear in the present and infuse it into that time period.
Share your story of what happens to positively impact your life.
Stepping in The Time Machine I am in 1997:
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Television cameras were pointing at me as my turn came around the table to speak up, in front of me was President Chandrika Kumaratunga. She had a wonderful green sari on and was smiling profusely. My mouth went dry, was I really in Sri Lanka?
How had I arrived here? was this really me about to take my turn to speak?
Time stopped as I took a breath and my mind went blank!
I had travelled a long way upon my journey Sometimes our ‘Journey’ takes us along various routes and detours but each road is one of discovery …
Time travel back to 1969:
“ But Dad, I don’t want to work in a factory”, can’t I go to art college?”.. I wanted to say, but I knew it was worthless, even my teacher had tried to persuade my parents about further education, but to no avail. I had to respect my Dad’s wishes, that was how it was.
I was the eldest of 5 siblings and I was needed to bring in a wage, and the factories brought in the best wages.. And it was either the sewing factory or the Poultry factory; both had been on our girls school antennary to visit in our last term as we were given ideas for career paths.
The slaughtering of chickens had sickened me, and the stench of it had stayed in my nostrils the whole day. No way was I going to work there!.
So at the age of 15 I left school to embark upon the next step of life out in the big wide world. I was plunged into an alien world of whirring machines, learning new names for them as well as new skills to operate them .
I would learn to mask my embarrassment of the more forward thinking girls, and laugh with a grin upon my face while noticeably turning red over their teasing of a shy girl..
I would learn to master many skills within the textile trade over the next 30 years, and I would wear many hats with many names within the clothing industry, From machinist, I climbed through the various ranks to Training Manager. During this time I also held the title of Mrs, and Mum, to two children with a Mum break of around 5 years in between.
The one trait that got me through all of those years was to Respect all as equals. No one was lesser or more than myself. I didn’t adopt habits of swearing or cursing and surprisingly in every place I have worked, while being very open minded, as I can laugh along with the rest over a good joke, others would always curb their language when I was around and would respect my dislike of its use. I could also communicate with top executives and was not afraid to voice respectful opinions and ideas to help production costs
I ran many teams over the years putting in new styles, and would overhear some wonderful stories, that would make your hair curl and it would often make me smile when I walked back and forth to hear conversations alter as girls would say “watch your language Sue’s about!”.. I would never expect anyone to do something I couldn’t achieve myself, and would sit at any machine on the factory floor and work for long lengths of time to show girls I could earn my money in the minutes provided in Piece-Work. And if I couldn’t I would get it retimed.. ( as I was the one with the stop watch!)
I would act as negotiator in Union disputes and always tried to treat others fairly. Earning the respect of both parties involved. I would hire, and yes at times have to fire, I would represent Industry as we linked with Education and took pride in being part of the first Business and Education Partnerships in schools, which helped create links for work experience for students in our area. I would put on fashion shows which I helped students design and then sew under supervision in our factories.. Life was Full on..
So began the mutual respect between us, and I was pleased to call this real Team-Working at its best.
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”
― Albert Einstein
A collection of memories
Fast-forward to 1997: I was back in the room with camera pointing straight at me
The day had already been non-stop. I was here on a business trip and for this first week I was part of the London Chamber of Commerce Trade delegation, we had been to a lavish reception the evening before at the British High Commission in Colombo, And had visited a wonderful building in the morning where the prices of Tea had been bought and sold to listen to someone else speak.
I cleared my throat,… the person next to me finished what they were saying and I took a sip of water. I began speaking my rehearsed lines, but the only thing I could hear was the drumming in my ears from the pounding of my heart.
“ My name is……… and I am the Training Manager for…………… We have Nine Divisions World Wide and employ at the present time 2,980 people. We are here to familiarise ourselves with current sewing training, and to meet with local colleagues in Sri Lanka. We are also here to familiarise’ ( I knew I was repeating myself and I could feel my colour rise ) ‘ourselves with training cultures with the view to source training availabilities by visiting colleges.”
I turned to my colleague M, who was the Training Development Executive for help, and she then took over to fill in with more details; the next delegate spoke as the cameraman turned his lens on them. The whole event was surreal.
The month prior we had nearly cancelled our visit due to a bomb exploding in the Capital of Colombo by the Tamil Tigers. To be honest thinking back I never had given the world of politics much heed, so wrapped up within my own world of work had I been. It would be later I would find out more about this fascinating Woman before me in the Green Sari and how tragedy had struck her different members of her family and how later another bomb explosion was to take her sight of one eye. I have huge respect for this lady.
The warmth of everyone I met in Sri Lanka had a huge impact upon me for along while to come.. I saw how the other half lived as they washed their clothes in the river, and saw how many lived on so little. I saw the rubbish piles on the streets in our travels, and the heavy carts both people and cows pulled along. I marvelled how the children walked to school all neat and tidy in their uniforms, and held my breath often as we travelled the long distances to our Factory bases along roads where no rules seemed to apply, and where Cows were the only ones who seemed to have rights of way.
What struck me beyond any thing else, was that most of the time the people smiled.. They were courteous and respectful and even though they had nothing much their happiness radiated out and was contagious..
I saw the contrast of how the rich lived with the lavishness splashed out for those in business at the reception we were given in the British High Commission and the poverty so many endured just a few miles away.
For those of you who may be thinking our firm exploited these girls, let me say their factory conditions were newer and better than our own in the UK, They were purpose built on new industrial sites. We were there to help set up training which would get these sewing machinists recognised as skilled machinist, Ours were not the sweat shops we see all too often on foreign shores.. Many families relying on their incomes and our firm also provided free medical care which extended to their immediate families.
I left the industry for good in 2004, it was to be the same year that the Earth quake hit on Boxing Day December 26th. Where thousands perished. I remember sending my colleagues messages. And later learnt many who had worked within my old company had lost their lives that day. I took with me the respect I have always had for others and applied it within my daily life.. Both with people and with Nature and our Animal Kingdom..
If we all of us had more respect for each other the world would not be as it is today, I have great respect for all throughout all walks of life..
Its up to each of us to learn to respect not only others but to remember to also respect ourselves
We are all of us worthy of respect!
Regardless of what backgrounds we have come from or what religion we follow or the colour of our skin
WE ARE ONE
Thank you again Linda for bringing us together for this
Time Machine Blogging Challenge.
And if you have survived to read down this far.. I say thank you so much for staying the course and reading.. The Irony of this Post is that on Tuesday my daughter is to travel out to Sri Lanka
Bon Voyage Love you J, Mum. xx
The next up for Time Machine Blogging Challenge is Sarah for October 12th .
Also Thanks go to Sindy for creating the logo of the Time Machine.
Love and Blessings
Enjoy your week