Working Lives

A Sackable Offence (1950s)

Location: Manchester

Sheila worked as a comptometer operator in Manchester.

At the age of fifteen, in 1952, I took a job in an office of a Textile Company in Manchester. Part of my responsibilities included invoice production. I was sent for a one week course at a Comptometer School on Deansgate. A Comptometer, for those who have not heard of this wonderful machine, was a large calculator with the middle row of keys slightly indented, so that rather like a QWERTY keyboard the operator did not need to look as he or she added, subtracted or performed percentage calculations.

My results after one week were as follows:

Average % on Calculations 89%
Adding results 25 out of 27 after one hours work
30 out of 37 after one hours work.

Miss S showed a keen interest in her work and made very good progress. Adding should improve with practice.

Job Centres, tribunals, unfair dismissal, not yet in the employees’ dictionary , I was asked to leave because employees were expected to get 100%.

Sheila talking to WISEArchive in 2005.

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