When I was a young Senior Management Trainee with the National Bus Company, one of my training periods was with the engineers which meant that I was basically shadowing skilled and semi skilled engineers in both York and Bradford. To be quite honest I was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard as they used to say. I am one of those souls who does not have an engineering bone in my entire body. Ironic really as my dad was a skilled engineer who built his own workshop and actually built scale locomotives that he ran on tracks in his own back garden. My brother in fairness also had this skill and indeed he now hosts the said locomotives and train tracks in his own garden.
Me I had absolutely no interest in any of it, I tried when I was younger but it just was not in my nature. I would like to think that i was more artistic and creative but the facts are that i would much prefer to draw things and mess about like that than build trains. So as you can imagine when it came to donning my overalls i was well and truly a spectator, yes I could and did carry and lift things but I was most certainly not encouraged to hit anything with my hammer. Indeed one supervisor described me as knowing the square root of sweet FA about engineering, which I think summed it up nicely, although to be fair he used language which some would describe as colourful or as my old English teacher used to call it “Anglo Saxon.”
So my secondments resulted in me having a new found respect for these rare breed of men who were absolutely in their element lying face down on a cold road in the middle of nowhere tinkering with bits of buses. I was always amazed at how these guys were able to diagnose and then fix these old beasts as quickly as they did and often they would spend all day extracting the Michael and winding each other up.Indeed the day revolved around banter often it was very good natured and involved lots of in -jokes. Indeed you needed to spend some time with them to understand the sub cultures that existed within each depot.Interestingly they worked in small groups with skills that linked together well.
For someone like me I was treated as something as a pequliar eccentricity. they were curious to understand exactly what it was that I was going to do in the future. (Indeed come to think of it so was I ) All that they knew was that I was apparently one of those bright young things that one day was going to be a future gaffer. Well looking back I am not sure if that plan ever quite worked out but suffice to say I was lucky that my career ended up the way that it did. However, no surprise none of what I ever did ever involved any engineering work, nor will it ever, however I still maintain a very healthy respect for those gifted people who not only can fix and make things but enjoy doing so.