But there were other losses. Robinson’s absence disorganized the shop routine. There were delays, conflicts, piano parts piled up in one end of the room while other departments clamored for finished frames at the other end of the room. Then, at least one-half a day of Joe Lathrop’s valuable time went to waste while he was out trying to find some one to fill Robinson’s place. His first attempt was made at the gate of the factory, where the sea of the unemployed threw up its flotsam and jetsam. But finishing piano frames is rather a fine job and none of the willing and eager applicants there could fill the bill. Joe then made the round of two or three employment agencies who had helped him out in previous similar emergencies. This time, however, they seemed to be without resource, so far as he was concerned. Being in considerable perspiration and desperation by this time, he was probably gladder than he ought to have been to receive a summons to appear at the court of Terrence Mulvaney. Terrence, who sat in judgment in the back room of his own beverage emporium, the place where Lathrop secured his “li’l’ drinks,” had heard, in the usual wireless way, that there was a finisher needed at the big factory Lathrop still owed Terrence for a good many of his “li’l’ drinks.” Furthermore, Terrence, by virtue of some mysterious underground connection, pulled mysterious wires, so that an invitation from him was a command. For these reasons, also, Joe Lathrop found it discreet in his own eyes to engage on the spot Tim Murphy, a very dear friend of Mulvaney and, according to Mulvaney’s own impartial testimony, a very worthy and deserving man.
BREAKING IN AN INCOMPETENT
Valuable hours and moments of the company’s time were consumed in initiating Tim Murphy into the employ of the company. There were certain necessary processes in the paymaster’s department, the accounting department, the liability department, the tool room, and the medical department.
Now, while Murphy had had some experience in finishing piano frames, he was utterly unfamiliar with the make of piano produced in this factory. Likewise, he was ignorant of the customs, rules, and individual methods which obtained in the factory. This meant that his employers paid him good wages for five or six weeks while he was finding his way around. It was good money spent without adequate return in the way of service. In fact, during these weeks, the company would probably have been better off without Tim Murphy than with him, for he spoiled a good deal of his work, took up a great deal of his foreman’s time which ought to have been applied in other directions, broke and ruined a number of valuable tools and otherwise manifested those symptoms which so often mark the entrance into an organization of a man propelled by pull rather than push.
The trouble in Tim Murphy’s corner continued to halt and disorganize the work in the department so that there were still further delays and losses up and down the line. All this was bad enough, but by the end of five weeks of Murphy’s attachment to the payroll he had demonstrated that he was not only incapable, indolent, careless, and unreliable, but that he was a disorganizer, a gossip, and a trouble maker.