An Apprentice at Work
by Vincent Van Ross

I never thought
Of my first job
As a job
When I took it up,
I did not know
What to do
Or how to do it

I learnt
My accounting work
By and by
Through guidance
From my superiors,
Of my fellow workers,
And, my own patience
Which I lacked
In good measure!

My first job
Was never
A job for me —
It was a training centre

All that I had learnt
Until then was theory
This was the first time
I was putting my knowledge
To practice
It was a great learning experience

I had learnt
About cash transactions,
Bank transactions
And adjustment entries
In my class
But it was here
That I learnt
To write the cash book,
The bank book
And the journal

I learnt to post
These entries
Into ledgers,
Prepare the trial balance,
The profit and loss account
And, the balance sheet

In those days
There was nothing
Called the MIS
Or, Management Information System —
This was the MIS

Because of my keen interest
In the job
And anxiousness to learn,
The management
Recommended me
For training
In their Administration Department
As well

During the entire term
Of my first job,
I never thought
Of myself
As an employee,
I looked at myself
As a trainee

In fact,
I was an apprentice
At work!

IMAGE: “0 through 9” by Jasper Johns (1961).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I look at my first job and all the other jobs I did after that, I find a striking difference. Though life is a constant learning process, my first job was a threshold when my education was put to practical use for the first time. It was a great learning experience. Theory and practice and two different worlds.  That was my experience and that is what I have tried to highlight through my poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vincent Van Ross  is a journalist and editor based at New Delhi in India.  He writes on national and international politics, defence, environment, travel, spirituality, and scores of other topics.  Apart from this, he dabbles in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and humorous writings. His articles and features have appeared in over a dozen newspapers and magazines in India and Bangladesh.  He is also a renowned photographer and an art critic. His poems are littered in anthologies and journals across the world and on numerous poetry sites and facebook groups on the web.