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Life on the front line

Aug 23, 2011
Pete Grimes has been with Xpress Relocation for 15 years and gives The Mover an insider’s view on his day-to-day life.

Confucius said, “Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life.”  When I met Pete Grimes, Senior Foreman at Xpress Relocation in Bletchley it was clear that he had done just that; it was obvious he loved his job and his enthusiasm was infectious.  Pete joined Xpress fifteen years ago and is now the firm’s longest serving employee, although several members of the team have been there for more than ten years.  “Quite a few of us went to school together,” said Pete. “It’s a great atmosphere and we all get along together very well, we’re all good mates and that includes the bosses; they don’t mind getting their hands dirty if we need a hand with a big job and the lads appreciate that.” 

Xpress specialises in corporate relocation work and other related services such as office design, recycling of old office furniture and secure disposal of confidential documents.  They have an impressive line up of clients including many household names.  A giant teddy bear in the board room was a gift from Regent Street toy shop Hamleys for a job well done.

I asked Pete to describe a typical working day. “That’s a difficult thing to do because every day is different, that’s one of the things I like about the job,” said Pete. We have several big contracts that mean we often have to be on site at short notice to move someone from one office to another.  On the other hand a couple of weeks ago we moved 400 staff over a weekend; companies want everything ready so people can start work first thing on Monday morning, it means a lot of time away from home, but that’s what you have to do in this business.” 

Pete’s only regret, apart from not being with his wife and two daughters at weekends, is that he often has to miss his team play football - he was born in Bermondsey and is a life-long Millwall supporter.  “I manage to get to about ten games a year, but it’s not worth getting a season ticket,” he said sorrowfully.  However, Pete does sometimes manage to mix business with pleasure through his other great passion, Carp fishing.  “A couple of years ago we were working on a big contract in Chelmsford which took about six months.  Instead of staying in a hotel I asked the boss if he’d pay for a fishing permit and bait for me and one of the other lads and we’d camp in a couple of one man tents for the whole six months.  He agreed, so when we finished work at 5.30 we spent the evenings fishing for Carp.  It was cold and sometimes wet, but we had a great time,” said Pete.

Finally I asked Pete what he likes best about the job.  “I like being out meeting the customers, sorting out what needs to be done and deciding who’s going to do what.  It’s a bit like a military operation, you need to make sure everyone is working together to get the job done smoothly.  When it’s all over it’s very satisfying to look back and know that everything has been done properly and the customer is happy.”  

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