After I explained the situation, he said that it seemed reasonable enough that we should have a bonus and decided to have the time and motion study. And he sent his big, daft son to do it.
We gave him a really hard time. He shadowed us nine hours a day while completing the study. The only time he was almost safe from our constant teasing was when he was eating his dinner from a tray, in the office. Even then, we would walk up to the window and wink at him, laughing hysterically as he reddened.
We didn’t laugh when they gave us the bottom line for our bonus. The targets were higher than the department had been sending out the year before. I wondered whether he was having the last laugh on us, as we had spent too much time teasing him instead of working.
Lily and I both needed the money so the only thing to do was beat the target. We worked like lunatics, building a wall of completed orders between us and the rest of the factory. This was good because it allowed us to have a laugh away from the prying eyes of the supervisor and managers. In the end, we worked so quickly that Johnny Walker called us into his office and told us we were going too fast, and were putting too much pressure on the other departments.
I could not believe it. I always seemed to be getting into trouble for working too hard. I told him I needed the money and would carry on working at this speed…or even faster if I could. His reply was to threaten us with lifting the bottom line. He actually sat there and told us, “It’s the only way to stop you two working”. The only thing for it was to threaten to leave.
It was obvious that they didn’t want to lose two good workers and they offered us a rise in basic wages. Lily was married and not keen on leaving anyway. But the extra money worked out at only two shillings, which would be lost in tax as we moved to a different schedule (meaning tax bracket). They offered me another job that involved travelling and taking customers’ orders, but I did not have the confidence for that just then.