No tie, no pay!
09 October 2017
My father-in-law was the guest of honour at a special dinner on Saturday night. A group of retired police officers came together to recognise the time when, fifty years ago, they all became cadets in the Kent County Constabulary. There were 24 guests all together. Dad, however, became a police cadet 66 years ago and served in Kent all of his working life. Back then, he was a young policeman in a very different era.
He has an abundance of wonderful stories to tell; far too many to regale you with here. As a young bobby, he would go on parade at the start of his shift and make a note in his pocket book of all the registration numbers of stolen cars in the country, in case he happened to spot one while out on the beat. At the end of the week, he would queue up for his wages, paid in cash, which were distributed by his section sergeant. On one occasion, he dutifully arrived for his money while off shift, dressed casually in his civilian clothes. His sergeant sent him away because he was not wearing a tie, refusing to pay him until he made himself more respectable.
How times have changed, eh? Apart from anything else, isn’t it unusual these days to contemplate a lifetime of working for the same employer? It’s far more common for younger people, of course, to seek out opportunities and progress their careers by switching employers. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s just the way things are done these days. However, all careers have a singular thing in common. They all start somewhere. For many of you reading this, your career is starting out with an apprenticeship and who knows where it will lead you; somewhere exciting, I hope.
I suppose dad’s police cadet-ship was not dissimilar to an apprenticeship. He was only 17 when he joined up. Unfortunately, he is the only surviving member of that very first cadet cohort way back in 1951. What a sobering thought! When he thinks back on his career, and all of his experiences, he has one overriding piece of advice for young people starting out in the world of work – find a job you enjoy, and it doesn’t seem quite so much like working. Wise words.