Friday, August 7, 2009
Image /Crane Brothers
What's the difference between Murray Crane and a tyrannical dictator? If you'd asked me that two days ago, my answer would have been: not much. But now, owing to a new Help Wanted ad placed on the Crane Brothers website yesterday, my response would have to be slightly different: Murray Crane at least acknowledges the fact that he's a tyrannical dictator. In one of the funniest and most brutally honest pieces of writing I've read in quite some time, the bad boy of New Zealand tailoring (he's going to kill me for saying that) spells out exactly what it's like to work for him. And he's telling the truth - I've experienced it myself. Murray gave me my first major job in the fashion industry as a 19 year old youngster.
It was an interesting experience.
People always ask what it was like to work for Murray, and how I managed to put up with his "constant bitching and moaning" (his words). Over the years I've thought long and hard about this and I think I've figured it out. Murray Crane commands respect. But he doesn't just command respect, he demands respect. And if you don't give it to him, look out.
I don't think I've ever met somebody who wasn't intimidated by Murray the first time they met him - he's quite a frightening man. He stands close to you and looks you up and down, then if you have his approval he gives you a nod and you can stand at ease. As you can imagine, when I was 19 years old, I was terrified by (and in awe of) him. Here was this incredibly cool, well dressed, powerful man who could make or break your day with a single look. I'm sure I don't just speak for myself when I say that he has a certain power over his staff. In my case, I desperately wanted his approval.
There were the rules: no leaning, no crossing your arms, no slouching, no hiding behind the desk, no visitors, no blue pens, no speaking unless spoken to first. If broken, the penalty came brutally and quickly, usually preceded by a "F*ck Isaac!" There were times when I worked in the Little Brother workroom when he'd yell so loudly down the phone that everyone in a five metre radius could hear every word he screamed.
One day I decided to try something new. I'd dropped off a load of shirts to Crane Brothers and was being yelled at about some matter (I think it was regarding French cuffs), and I yelled back. "F*ck Murray! What's the problem?" He went quiet for a moment and stared at me, then nodded as if to say, "you're alright mate'. I thought I was onto a good thing. The next time he yelled at me I tried it again. It didn't go down so well a second time.
The funny thing is, despite all the yelling, all the "constant bitching and moaning" and the approval I tried so desperately to get, I still have a huge amount of respect for Murray. I like the man a lot and always enjoy catching up with him. Would I work for him again? Absolutely not, but I'm glad that I did for two years. I... learnt a lot.
Below is the Help Wanted ad he posted yesterday. Every word of it is true. To be able to work for Murray and sustain it over a long period of time you have to be incredibly thick skinned. Consider yourself warned.
"We are currently looking for people. We have an immediate vacancy for a third full time person in our Wellington store and a full time junior in Auckland.
Be under no illusion that this is easy work and don't waste my time if you want to be fabulous. You will work at least one weekend day and your day starts at 8.30 not 10.00.
You need to be clean, non smoking and have good handwriting. You need to be able to spell but most of all you need to have manners and not mutter. You must be courteous and have your own sense of style. You definitely must be honest and punctual.
A good well rounded education and a work ethic is what I want in a person. I won't be impressed by whether you have your own blog or that you get air freighted copies of Luomo Vogue sent in for yourself.
I will be impressed if you dont text me: hey wassup how bout hookin up fr job intrvw and perhaps tell me that you had a paper round, worked at Pak n Save or in a salt mine as a child.
You will have to put up with my constant bitching and moaning and I dont give a shit if you can use some cool CRM system, I want you to turn up, shut up and step up, don't have "good ideas" (at least for the first year) and rely on your sense of humour to get you past the fear of god I will somehow instill in you, going by past applicants experiences.
email me personally on email@example.com"
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