4 Jan 65 : First day at SKF : New Jersey, USA

Collingswood, New Jersey

January 4th 1965

Dear Mum, Dad, Carol and Nigel,

Well, today we started at SKF, we didn’t do very much. We spent the morning filling in forms and had one half of a medical, and then went to meet our boss, and also three other fellows who will be doing the same job and will be spending a week with us on the training course.

Note: These are the jobs with global ball and roller bearing manufacturers SKF which they were offered in October 64. Dad had worked for SKF in the UK, and had been given a letter of introduction by his bosses in Britain, which he then took to SKF’s head office in America. As a result he and Colin – who had never worked in the industry before – were both offered well-paid positions travelling across America, visiting stockists of SKF products.

They are all very decent types and so is the boss. We spent a few hours discussing the job, and I am very impressed. Firstly, they gave us each a beautiful briefcase loaded with everything we need in the way of stationery, and before we leave we will be given a cash float, a car rental card which will enable us to hire a car anywhere, simply by showing it, and believe it or not two blank cheques, in case of an emergency.

We set off a week from today and don’t know where to. Colin and I may travel together, but could be split up and sent to different areas. This has put a slightly different outlook on the job, but we shall have to see what really happens next week.

We have all expenses paid for seven days (and they even pay our laundry bills). The food allowance is very generous and we should easily be able to save $20 a week on that, as well as the laundry money. So financially we should do very well on the deal.

The job itself is very difficult to explain, but I will tell you about it when I know more about it.

We have been fully covered by a very comprehensive medical insurance, and also life insurance (all free) so we can now be a bit more reckless. Up until now we have had no health insurance as it is very expensive, and we have been taking a fantastic risk – you can’t imagine what medical bills are like.

If you need a blood transfusion it costs $25 a pint (about £8), and they won’t give it unless you have proof you can pay. Anyway, now we are well covered, so all is well.

Also if we are disabled we get $8,000, so I could come home rich after all.

The weather is bitterly cold here, but crisp and clear, and after the heat of the Bahamas it is almost unbearable. Let’s hope we go south again soon!!

To be continued…

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1962 advert for SKF bearings, thanks to  http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Skefko_Ball_Bearing_Co
May 1961 SKF advert
May 1961 advert for SKF bearings, thanks to http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Skefko_Ball_Bearing_Co

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