Faces from the Past / Liz Sommaro
Category : Centenary - Testimonials
Life in the Financial Services Department or at that time Budget and Control Branch, PAIE (Claims and Central Payroll Unit) and the Treasury and Investments Branch – there have been so many changes in the names of the Branches and Units that one can’t keep track of them all!
Who can possibly say Finance and Accounting is boring and tedious work? Those were the days where we enjoyed our daily contacts and our differences, and made our working life easier because we helped each other out. We were very loyal to our Organisation and valued our lives as international civil servants.
Who can forget the incident when, after a very heavy rainfall, water was dripping from the ceiling near the R.3 delegates bar, a colleague put a huge baking tray (from the ILO kitchen) filled it half way with water and put plastic fish and a lobster in with a caption “Donations to the Fund for the Renovation of the Roof ”. We were working at the time on an umpteenth version of a PFAC paper concerning the renovation work to be done and we still don’t know to this day who took the money or the lobster!
But what does make daily life and contacts easier to handle between officials of so many different nationalities with their own languages and cultures? Well there are many photographs of the gatherings for lunches, promotions and farewell parties, enjoyed by finance “workers”.
The Canadian brunches (the Treasury Branch initiated these gatherings), where all the invitees clerks and bosses alike brought a dish or regional drinks they prepared, were very successful as we had so many diverse cultures in the Branch. Everyone lent a hand, and as you can see from one photograph Barbara Farrish-Walker one of the bosses helped out with the washing up whilst others cleared up the locale which we had borrowed.
The atmosphere was always joyful; by getting to know each other better in a harmonious atmosphere it made for good working relationships in our daily life. The farewell parties included the invitees the retired person wished to have present, but always included the bosses of course not just for the speeches and presents, but out of the mutual respect earned on both sides. It was also a means of thanking colleagues in other branches and departments for their support and assistance over the years because without them the work could not be completed and finalized – a true Team Work to get a job done.
Most of us still keep in touch even through retirement and talk about the “good old days” and are very proud that the ILO has made it to be 100 years old and that we contributed, albeit perhaps in a small way, to its continued existence. For those in the pictures which appears on page 94 who didn’t make it to see this anniversary, or will not be able to come to Geneva for the celebrations next year, you are and will be forever in my/our heart(s).