And a Warm Welcome To…
Always make a good first impression, that’s what my dad always said to me. Wise words. I still try to live by it now. In fact just a few years ago I did that very thing.
I was working back at Cosford, as an instructor in Personal Development for the trainees…teamwork skills, leadership skills, confidence and public speaking. How to set proper goals in their career, that sort of thing, and it meant we often did some wacky and odd ‘games’. Sometimes we would do one-on-one coaching with those trainees with specific issues to help them overcome problems that they might have faced.
One of the oddest things we did included juggling. It was a sort of metaphor for the trainees future career and the lives they had ahead of them, how to keep things like their work career going, whilst maintaining a life outside work – family, friends, hobbies, that sort of things.
In essence we would teach someone to juggle, and throw in a new ball every so long to show that they would first start off concentrating on work, and then have to concentrate on their family who would be supporting them, and who would need support themselves…and so on…as I say, a great metaphor for life really.
So one morning I was planning on using this ‘game’ as a bit of an icebreaker in a class, and was wandering around the offices behind the classrooms with two juggling balls. Almost unconsciously I started juggling with them (I am able to just about manage two balls with one hand – and three balls with two hands) and wandered into the admin office.
Here a couple of the Corporals were standing around idly chatting, and the Flight Sergeant was talking to a Corporal who I didn’t recognise. They’d both got a cup of tea in their hands, and the Corporal looked a bit shell-shocked.
It was the obvious shell-shock of someone who was newly posted in and I immediately knew that this must be Jess who was going to be our new admin support NCO – and she would be the one who would be sorting all our paperwork out for us, booking vehicles if we wanted to travel anywhere, organising all our admin and most importantly organising our files, which none of the rest of us liked to do, so she was a very welcome arrival.
I walked across to say hello, still juggling with one hand as I crossed the small office, only to get in a bit of a muddle. The balls went out of sequence and I fumbled them, one went back up in the air and looped away from me.
The ball, filled with rice or sawdust or whatever it is they fill those bloody things with, looped up and over towards Jess. Hit her on the end of her nose, dropped down on to her chest, bounced up slightly, and then landed, with a rather fateful and sickening ‘Plop’ into the cup of tea she had been holding across her body.
Whilst the others in the office cracked up into laughter, Jess looked down at the ball bobbing, sadly, in the first cup of tea she had been given in the first five minutes of her first day in a new job, and slowly looked up at my rapidly reddening face.
“And this…” said the Flight Sergeant, over the howls of the others “…is Sgt Alex…”