A week before Thanksgiving in 1986, I accepted a job at a local gas and oil company where I live. We had plans to leave town for the holiday, but the office supervisor needed a bookkeeper immediately. I knew by her tone, she wouldn’t hold the job open, so we canceled our trip.
This job was different. My work experience was in a bank but I wanted a change. Most of the women were home-grown and had worked for this company several years. Our boss had money. I mean he was well-to-do. He was president of the school board which was how I knew him. My husband was an assistant principal at the junior high, and we sometimes gathered at the same school functions. He and my spouse and my spouse’s boss were great fun to be around at these activities. They were always the entertainment of the evening.
Gas an oil have a language of their own. And my new boss was different with his own language in his personal environment. He did not have the same sense of humor that he had outside his office. I learned in a hurry, this place was all business. He wanted all work and no play.
“It will take about six months to learn the language here.” He told me one day. “Hang in there.”
“I can already see that. I thought you drove up to a station, put gas in your car, then drove off. I did not know there were gas prices, fright prices, rack prices, and base prices. On top of all that, there are taxes. It is an education for sure.”
One day I needed a pair of scissors so I went on a scavenger’s hunt in the lobby. When I finished using the scissors, I found there, I put them in my desk drawer---assuming they had been put in the lobby by mistake.
“Where are the scissors?” I heard the blond yell one afternoon. “They are missing from this drawer.”
Realizing she was ransacking the counter where I found them, I finally replied, “Here are mine,” and I handed them to her.
“These scissors belong in this drawer. If you want a pair for your desk, you’ll have to purchase your own.”
The girls gathered around my desk to educate me on the office low-down. They told me, “In this office (twelve women and three men) we have one pair of scissors and one bottle of whiteout. We get our rubber bands from the post office when they bundle our mail.” There were more items to share but I had heard all I wanted to hear.
What an education. Perhaps that’s how he made his money, penny-pinching over the years. I had to remember the fun times at school functions, but the laughter was strained a bit now. I often read and remembered I Peter 2:18, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.“ I also donated my scissors when I retired seventeen years later.
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