So much learning in one day

Some employees start in the mailroom and work their way down.

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It’s holiday season and the end of the year at pilot fish’s company, and the really important clients get annual statements on high-grade, embossed stationery that reflects the exclusivity of the service provided by the firm.

A new employee gets the assignment to print the statements, but the first two runs don’t go well: The first batch is upside down, and the second is printed on the back. There is only enough stationery left for one more run, and the stationer won’t be able to supply more until well into the new year. Besides, it’s the last day of the year that the statements can be mailed, so before the manager takes the rest of the department out for a holiday lunch, he loads the remaining stationery for the new employee and watches the first few statements print.

Finish the batch but don’t mail them, he instructs the newbie. And when he returns from the lunch, he sees all the statements in franked envelopes ready for the mail. He opens the first and the last and they are fine, so he puts them in new envelopes and franks them. He and the new employee take the mail to the post office and go to an afternoon holiday office party, where the relieved manager buys the junior a drink, has one himself, and tells the junior about the little mistakes he made early in his own career and how it’s important to learn from them.

A grateful junior then confesses that the printer jammed just after the boss left. He ended up printing 90% of the statements on plain stationery, but that was OK, he says, because he had photocopied a drawing he made of the company’s logo and contact details onto every statement. One thing everyone learned was that the newbie was worse at art than he was at printing.

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