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 – CCLXX. A Permanent Job (8 of 12)

Every large industrial concern carries out a cyclical count of its inventory.  IAI was no exception.  All through the year, a team of three visited the various stores, and counted and recorded the actual numbers of the various articles in that store. At the end of any given year, the complete inventory was tallied and the cards at Records adjusted accordingly.

The Stocktaking department included a manager, Avigdor (who reported to Accounting), and two employees, Nessim and Leslie, who were responsible for the accuracy of the figures reported on the stocktaking sheets.  Nessim and Leslie rarely did any actual count, rather they supervised the storekeepers who did the actual tally, and noted the figures.

Avigdor was a Sabra born and bred in Richon Letzion.   If you were to restrict me to describe one person only in IAI, it would be Avigdor.

For the most part, Avigdor was not very busy.  A large part of his day was spent boiling water and brewing tea!  He loved to talk, and if he engaged you in a conversation, you were sure to fall behind in your work!  What he did though was very important.  He had been in the Air Force for many years, and his vast experience came from ascertaining that planes were ready for their sortie.  He was a veteran of the 1948 war, and no doubt had paid his dues.  Nobody therefore begrudged him his cushy job.

Avigdor planned future stocktaking, directed his staff, and answered their questions.  He liaised with Ben, Records`staff, Stores, and Accounting.  He didn`t hesitate to visit a store when he had doubts and personally carry out a count.  He also reviewed the tally sheets, and checked all additions.

Ben and Avigdor were the best of friends – most of the time.  Ben mostly accepted the figures on the tally sheets and was willing to adjust his figures.  But at times, he didn`t.  And this was the beginning of the hostilities.  The battle was won for whoever could prove his assertions right.  And Ben was often the winner; why?  Because he approached it in a logical and bureaucratic way; Avigdor, like the technical person he was, took a straight-line approach:  we counted 250 plexiglass sheets, and there can be no others.  Ben would then look at the card, go to the files, and pull out a recent receiving report, showing that 150 plexiglass sheets have been received 3 days ago; could they still be in the receiving area and were therefore not counted?  (I can give you other examples, but you get the idea).

Again and again, Avigdor proved to be a gentleman, and was willing to roll with the punches.  And neither did Ben punch the air with his fist when he was right.  There were no winners or losers, just two people who cared for their work and for each other.

Before I move on to his assistants, I have to mention that I often asked Avigdor for a tea; that was code for:  I have some free time, do you also have the time to chat?  That of course was risky; as already mentioned, the hands of the clock can go through a number of gyrations before Avigdor exhausted the topic(s) being discussed; he also talked slowly.  Then why did I do it?  Because I learned a lot about my work, and about life in general.  Some of what Avigdor told me is remembered and used to the present day.

Avigdor used to say that Nessim was a ben adam a’mok (a deep person).  As I saw it, Nessim was a complex, and difficult to figure, individual; no matter how well you thought you knew him, you’ve never quite plumbed the depths.  He was an Egyptian that could summarize a situation in a few words (Egyptians, with some exceptions, are unable to tell a short story, or summarize a long one!).  He didn’t lament about the past, Egypt was gone for good; he also rarely talked about his present life, or what he did in Egypt.  Does that mean that he was insipid and humorless?  Not at all, he kept your interest without taking a lot of your time; and his sense of humor was startling, it took you a few moments to take in the humor in what he had said, and then you burst out laughing.  His language was colorful.  I still use some of his expressions in my conversations and writing.

He was a pedant worker who double-checked everything he turned over to Avigdor.  He often consulted Records and didn’t take his count as Gospel.  He was never cocksure, he came across as:  “I am human and I can err.”

Leslie was Scottish and Jewish, and, well, he was very tight with his money.  Let me give you two examples.

When he finally decided to go to Scotland to revisit his homeland, we asked him to send us postcards; but he refused because of the cost; so we bought him international stamps!  The good news was that Leslie paid for the postcards out of his pocket!

For a long time, he remained unmarried.  He was looking for a woman who was as prudent with money as he was.  When I left Israel, he was still looking!  In time, a friend notified me that Leslie was now married.  He no doubt, had finally found that rare pearl!

Leslie was accurate in his work, but could easily be distracted and make a sizable error. Mercifully, it was the kind that was easily caught, for it was obvious that something didn’t make sense.

Avigdor had a harmonious relationship with his staff.  There was never a confrontation in the office.  In time, Ben informed me that sensitive issues were discussed as the three of them took a walk around the plant.

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