Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCLXVII. A Permanent Job (5 of 12)

Ben and I collided early on.

Ben had high hopes for me when I joined his department.  Yossi told him that even though I wasn`t a good fit at Production Control, I was intelligent, curious, well-educated, easy-going, hard-working, and above all able to innovate and suggest different ways of carrying out a given operation.  The latter was invaluable to a department like Records.  There was a crying need to effect changes; but his staff simply did their work; they did come up with a few bright ideas, but nothing that could really resolve Records numerous problems.

Years later Ben told me that Yossi hadn`t exaggerated, except for the fact that I wasn`t willing to work hard.  Since he was the type that spoke his mind, he told me:  “Tu était paresseux!”  (You were lazy!).  But my unwillingness to pull my own weight was apparently not the only problem.

The set of cards that I was responsible for was “Machinery and Equipment.”  Since that didn’t fill my whole time, I helped the individual that was in charge of “Tools.”  In both sections, up-to-date information was critical; and there was a need to understand what a given piece of equipment, or tool (especially a special tool) did.

I learned as much as was possible about my sections; I never saw my work as simply entering figures on a card.  I suggested many improvements; and some of them would prove critical when Records finally entered the 20th century.  So where were the problems?

According to Ben, I took my sweet time doing my work.  I was reluctant to work overtime; my attitude was:  I didn’t need the money, so the work can keep!  I didn’t take dah’ouf (urgent) seriously; my (stupid) argument was that emergencies occurred in hospitals only!  But a plane sitting idle for even an hour can mean a monetary loss of thousands of dollars.  Despite the best efforts of Ben, progress in resolving these issues was slow.

(I would recognize years later my irresponsibility.  My only excuse was that I was still young and lacking in maturity.  Time would bring maturity, and I can say that thereafter I earned my wages with one exception:  Throughout my working life, I would hear from my superiors that “I was not pulling my own weight.”  As I am writing this, I have to agree with them!)

One day Ben called me in his office and closed the door; something was serious I thought, for he almost never closed his door.

After all these years, this is what I remember from what he told me:

“I am greatly disappointed in you, and I am not the only one.  You can do so much more, but you’re not trying hard.  You did wonders on occasion, but only when you decided it was important to resolve a given issue.”

Ben had a file on his desk which he now opened and said:  “This is your file that I received from Human Resources.  You’ve been here for 11 months and IAI has to decide whether to make you kavou’a (permanent) or dismiss you!  I spoke with Mar A’tzmon, he, based on my feedback, felt you have a lot of potential, and firing you would be a loss to IAI.  Of course, he (A’tzmon) left the final decision with me.

I am allowed to extend your probation period by another 9 months if I can justify that, and I can easily do so.  The question facing me now is should I ask for an extension?”

He was silent after that and looked at me.  The ball was now in my court.

After recovering from the shock, I proposed a plan that is used in modern management, but was not, to the best of my knowledge, used at the time.

If Ben was willing to sign on an extension, I would do my best to improve, but I would need his help.  He was to note the occasions when I did, or didn’t, meet expectations.   Details and clarifications were important here.

He agreed and we shook hands on that.

Thereafter Ben literally hounded me.  When he brought something to my attention he explained the impact of my action or inaction.  He always stressed that he didn’t expect perfection, for such a thing simply didn’t exist.

And so I retraced my steps, and gradually realized where I went wrong, and how could I make amends.

Three months later, Ben notified me that I was now a permanent employee of IAI.

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