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Guest Moderator : Joseph Harris www.SmilePoetryWeekly.com

Moderated by : Eva Rosenberg  mailto:eva@workinghumor.com

Assisted By : Gunjan Saraf   mailto:gunjan@workinghumor.com

17th April  2002    #     Issue 55
One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are
hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life,
a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.
~ Henry Brooks Adams


Moderator's Comment -
                           ~ Joseph Harris

Proxy Comments and a Call for Help -
                  ~ Gunjan


Unreasonable demands
                                ~ Gunjan

Decisions, decisions
                                ~ Gunjan

Precision Engineering
                                ~ Gunjan


                                ~ Joseph Harris

Traveling with Laughter
                                ~ Joseph Harris


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Moderator's Message

Hi, readers of I-Laugh,

Watching all the action surrounding the Queen Mother's lying
in state and funeral I wondered that no terrorist activity had taken
place, for, as always in Britain, access was very easy. I am writing
this just after the City of London Police (an anachronism of history
- a police force for one square mile!) revealed that it 'believed' it had
foiled an attempt by the IRA - that is our indigenous terrorists, who
are on the way to being made into a tourist attraction. "Visit ten
bomb making factories in a morning - preserved exactly as they
were when in use."

But it reminded me of the dedication of people who carry out public
service duties, often for much less pay than they might command
elsewhere. Police, secret service, military, sanitation workers,
teachers, horticultural staff ... the list is long. As Gunjan points out
in his take on 'Unreasonable Demands', money is not the most
important thing in where we work. The atmosphere of the
workplace, the job itself - and in public service, the satisfaction
of pleasing and helping other people.

But the need to put food on the table, particularly if others are
dependent on that, can send us in directions we would rather not
go. That is when it is important to make the best of a bad job. I'm
not quite sure how I would judge the following in relation to this. In
Holland a Government job centre has accepted an advertisement
for prostitutes! The owner of the bar who sent in the advert says it
is getting difficult to find girls to do the job, particularly now
immigrants are not available so easily.

In this, as in so many areas which could not fit within a moral
framework, there is usually the involvement of large groups, such as
the mafia and the triads. Often girls are tricked, one way or another,
into these areas and kept there against their wills. This is an extreme
situation of the job one would rather not do. But it does highlight the
challenge: how do you cope when you have to accept a job doing
what you would rather not?

In 'Decisions', below, Gunjan illustrates an aspect of this which also
raises the question of how to assess the best benefit to yourself - in
both money and satisfaction terms - when deciding on a job offer.
Always bearing in mind that things can often turn out very differently
from  what one expects.

A BBC radio presenter here has just won compensation through a
tribunal because her  female boss took a dislike to her and made
her life a misery. Now 'a soft answer' may well 'turn away wrath',
but you have to be good at the soft answer. And the presenter -
red hair being a sign of temper potential - may well have risen to
the boss's bait. And where does this bullied girl go from this point?

In these situations - and I know they are the experience of a very
large number of workers - if you want to stay sane, a good laugh
is essential. Laughter is beginning to be studied (scientists have
to find something to do!) and it seems that - as we already knew -
it releases tension and sets the good juices flowing in the body.
And if we can find nothing else to laugh at, why then, we must
learn to laugh at ourselves.

Uncle Joe (a.k.a Joseph Harris) - Guest Moderator
Poet of fun on Smile Poetry Weekly
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===> Proxy Comments and a Call for Help

Dear LaughMates,

As Eva has been incredibly busy with the taxing stuff,
(We haven't grown big enough to get her to quit that
yet :-) she hasn't been able to put together all your
replies to her comments in last week's issue.

Uncle Joe or me didn't do it cause we were sure,
Eva would like to have her say on the matter. So
we'll take those up next week ok?

In the meanwhile, we do hope you haven't yet done your
good for the day as we are counting on you for help today.
Nothing touchy (pardon the pun). Just a simple matter of
rating I-Laugh at the Cumuli Ezine Finder.


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Shouldn't take you a minute.... and we'll be grateful
eternally ... nah... that's too long .... well atleast till
we bother you again with something like this :-)

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=====  Continuing Discussions  =====

====> Unreasonable? Demands

Moderator's Comments :
In a highly encouraging comment on this topic Gunjan underlines
the need for workers and employers alike to get to know each other.
I certainly applaud the concern to pay wages on time;  but the
importance of a happy atmosphere is very clear.
~ Joseph

Hi Friends,

This one is about an 'Unreasonable' Demand made by employees
to their employer.

I had been instrumental in changing the pay-scales, the date
on which salaries were paid, and general relations with
employees in our family owned firm.

Dad had wanted to pay salaries as late as possible in the
month. He felt this reduced the chance of employees leaving
their jobs without giving us notice as, by the time they got
one pay-check, they had already put in 8-10 days work for
the next month.

I knew how it felt to be broke at the end of the month and thus
insisted on paying salaries on the first working day of the month.
As to people who might leave due to this arrangement, I was
happy to let them go.

I had been strongly influenced by a little incident. Ian Chappell,
one the most respected captains of the Australian Cricket team,
was doing a stint at commentary, when he was asked by a fellow commentator
how he motivated 'his boys'. Ian's instant reaction
was: "Why on earth should I have to motivate them? If playing
for Australia was not motivation enough, then I don't want them
on my team!"

Well playing on my team wasn't a great honor, but I started looking
 for enthusiasm since this incident, and was most happy to let
people - who weren't thrilled to be working with us - go.

I never realized how well this strategy worked, or how close-knit
our team had got, till this 'Unreasonable' Demand incident.

It happened one month that our payments from our biggest
client got stuck and, due to some problems, work with other
clients hadn't been too hot. So for this month's salary we would
have to rely on the biggest client. Well the first of the month
came and went and there was no sign of his check. By the fifth,
when we still hadn't paid the salaries, I was feeling more run
down than I had ever before. It was on the 7th, when I had
started feeling like hiding /tearing my hair out or doing
something crazy, that one of the employees who I was quite
fond of, collared me. He used to call me Bhaiya (elder brother).
He said without any preliminaries: "Bhaiya, I'm afraid I'm going
to have to resign!"

I really didn't know what to say. Before I could, he added: "Most
of the others will be leaving too!"  All I could say was: - "I'm really
sorry! I understand. I can't blame you for wanting to leave. The
crazy thing is that I can't even give you your break off pay checks

His reply .... "It's not because of the checks that we want to leave!
We all know about the problem. Heck, we discussed amongst each
other, helped the one or two who had no savings, and it won't bother
us if we don't get a salary at all this month, but none of us can bear
to see you this way! It's been 5 days since you cracked a joke, 3
days since you smiled, and almost ten days since you really pulled
any of our legs! That is something none of us are being able to digest!
We'll stand by you in any kind of trouble as long as you don't
change the wonderful atmosphere that we had here!"

Friends, it was one the most touching moments of my life, and a
lesson which I had tried to pass on to others being hammered
back to me. I don't think I can ever forget it - and I think I owe it
to that wonderful person to keep smiling .... come what may !

Wishing everyone tons of fun at work...

www.workinghumor.com  - Let your Humor Work for you !

Comments :


===> Decisions

Moderator's Comment -
No decision is easy, when you don't really know how it will
work out. But if you think through the likely benefits and
disbenefits it should be a better decision than one taken
unthinkingly. Better still if someone adds their ideas to the
~ Joseph

Hi Friends,

While I was running a Graphics Design firm, Mr. M, a graphic
designer who was learning things extremely well and doing a
great job, came to me asking for help on a decision.

He had been with us for approximately 1 year, and was
drawing a salary of around 4K. He said he had been
approached by a multinational ad agency which had
offered him 8k. The money sounded great but he loved
the atmosphere in Aspiration, so he couldn't really
decide what to do.

I asked him to evaluate a few simple things. On the day he
had joined Aspiration would the Ad Agency have sought him
out. If he had done a lot of running around he may have been
taken in as a Trainee (which probably paid better than the 4K)
but he wouldn't have been sought after.

In the agency he would have been kept at one type of job and
would have probably got a small increment at the end of the
year, so today he wouldn't have got 8K there.

Similarly I asked him to think what he would probably be
earning 2 years down the line at the agency. He felt that it
would probably be in the range of 10-12K.

I told him to think of the possibilities of where he would be in
2 years with Aspiration, as here, he was not just having to stick
to the designing, but also had to meet clients quite often, look
after the pre-press aspects of the designs he completed, and
co-ordinate with the printer - thus learning about the printing
industry as well.

After a few days thought he said he had decided to stick
with us. He stuck with us for two years. When he left us he
got a job abroad worth about 28K!

It's just my 2 cents worth but I feel sometimes a job in which
you have to do quite a few things, or wear quite a few hats, is
a big bonus on it's own, and can be the launching pad for you
to move into managerial or even entrepreneurial situations!

Best Wishes,
WZ-ard of Virtual Travel

Comments or if have you a tip to share -

===> Precision Engineering

Hi Uncle Joe...

Just read somewhere (in Laughmate DC's Morning Message)
that ....

The difference between Mechanical Engineers and
Civil Engineers is -

Mechanical Engineers build weapons,
Civil Engineers build targets.

Where does Precision Engineering fit? :-)

coz 7 days without a pun makes one weak

Moderator's Comment :

Precision engineers make the weapons work - or not. The British
army now has (as its main hand-weapon) a gun that jams,
particularly in sandy environments! I suppose the troops are
being trained to stand up and shout 'Bang, you're out', loudly
(and, as is the Brit tradition, only in English).

You may be sure that that result was 'engineered' with some
'precision' by 'graft'-ers who would have been very 'civil' and
know the 'mechanics' of how to access their own bank accounts;
and the flow to those may well show them also skilled in 'liquid'-ity
~ Joseph

Comments -

Cartoon Break

Old trick

What was that again?

Be Prepared!


=====  New Discussions  =====

====> Chums

Who are your Friends?

I joined the Financial Times just as it was moving into a
purpose built complex which contained the printing works and
the FT's own financial magazine for investors. At the time the
paper was also expanding its financial coverage and expanding
into carrying news. Everything was new and bouncing.

They had spent goodness knows how much on the printing
presses and the linotype machines for hot metal production;
within a few years, of course, the whole of that technology would
be obsolete for mass printing. But it would be a clever person
who could have foreseen the changes, or their speed.

I happened to have brought with me some knowledge and
experience of calculating machinery from my time in The
Royal Air Force and so I was involved in the production of
stocks and shares information. And, in the teeth of some
opposition, it was the machinery I recommended that was

For reasons which I cannot recall I joined a group that repaired
at lunchtime to the pub, literally, just round the corner. It was a
jolly enough group, and I settled into the routine quite happily,
feeling befriended. One day I was late in getting to the pub, and
the group was in full swing with chat and drinks. I started to
apologise for being late and sought to join in the conversation.
I suddenly realised that no one was listening or responding. It was
the same to them whether I was there or not there.

This was a painful realisation, as you can imagine. When I reviewed
the six months 'friendship' - with a new sense of futility - I realised that
I did not really enjoy drinking in the middle of the day and returning to
the office with the heaviness that drink brings, I was wasting time that
could be used to think and perhaps learn, and that I had not worked
out how to recognise a friend.

Perhaps you have the answer to that most difficult of questions. How
do you recognise a friend?

Joseph Harris

Comments :

====> Traveling with Laughter

Later, while I was still on the Financial Times, I traveled in to
work with two or three other FT journalists. One was a technical
artist who drew the charts, and introduced many innovations to their
presentation. To my shame I cannot now remember his name. But
for a couple of years we - declared aficionados of the Goon Show -
made the various funny voices to one another, trying to keep a 'skit'
going for the whole half-hour train journey.

This kept us highly amused, particularly at the failures to deliver
either the right voice or a credible continuation of a 'skit', and sent
us to our desks smiling and in good mood. At other times I traveled
with a serious specialist in labour affairs - a very nice man, but no
joker. And at yet other times with the local Member of Parliament,
who at times was very friendly. Though, inevitably with a professional
politician, I realised that there was continuous calculation going on
of whether I was actually of any use to him or not.

Thank goodness I never had to write on politics, so in the end it
became clear that he considered time spent with me wasted.
And to think I had been one of those who worked to get him
elected!!!! (An election victory which caused a political storm.)
He is now a Lord because a cousin had no heirs. If I had had to
write on politics I think the realisation of the corrupt and stupid
people who interfere in our lives would have had me constantly
in the courts fighting libel actions!

God protects us from the risks of our least sensible possibilities!

During this period I was becoming very ill, and I think without the
good humour of that friend, and our shared laughter, I could not
have continued working for anything like as long as I did. But that
is quite another story.

I am on the one hand intensely serious, to the point of boredom; on
the other a complete idiot. In that idiocy, that ability to laugh at myself
and with others has lain the seeds of my getting through what have
often been very tough times. In the seriousness is the ability to
undertake whatever work has come my way. I am not suggesting
that everybody should be like me. But I am stating very firmly that
laughter, particularly shared laughter, makes the hard times easier
and the easier times enjoyable.

You owe it to yourself - you owe it to others; find a way to bring

Joseph Harris
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Comments :

===========  This week's Humor  ==========

(Way back in Issue #15, I had described how I had realised
for myself God's sense of humor. It had taken me a
long long post! Here it is, in a brief and most beautiful way!
~ Gunjan)

Look at the world around you, and you'll see God's creativity;
Look at the dinner table, and you'll see God's providence;
Look at the mirror, and you'll see God's sense of humor.

Comments :


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