Mark Tinney in his first year of tour directing in 1976
WE ARE A LEADING TOUR OPERATOR AND ARE LOOKING FOR MORE
to lead our American, Canadian and Australian tourist groups on European
trips. Our tour managers are friendly and outgoing men and women who are
always there when something is happening, always on the road with
interesting people. They live in good hotels and move in an international
atmosphere. If you like to travel, are a good conversationalist, self-confident
and mature, then get in touch with us, even if you have never before worked
as a tour manager and even if you have not travelled much. We will show
you how it’s done. If you speak fluent English, are between 23 and 45 years
old and have good education, then you should send a recent photo,
together with your career details and application to the address below.
It was early in 1976 and I had been living in the Bavarian
capital, Munich, in southern Germany, for nearly two years. Much of
that time had been spent working in the computer department of the
Bank of America and I was ready for a change. So was the Bank of
America. They had made a brave decision to take me on in the first
place, since I had no computer experience, and their initial
reservations had been fully justified. Wherever my talents lay, they
certainly did not lie in that field. The question was what to do next?
The advert in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich’s main newspaper,
looked at least interesting.
I wrote off an application, half expecting to hear nothing more;
but a few days later, a reply did come, from a Mr Liedermann, asking
me to an interview at the Munich Hilton.
Mr Liedermann was a tanned, silver-haired man who spoke
with a strong American accent. It was a few minutes into the
interview discussion before I realized that he was not American but
German. The manner was friendly; but there was no time wasted. I
was invited to talk about myself and my career to date, and to explain
what I felt made me suitable for the work. Since I had only the
vaguest idea of what the work entailed, this was difficult, made more
so by Mr Liedermann switching without warning to German and then
to French and expecting me to do the same.
After ten minutes of this, he sat back in his chair and smiled.
“Good. You come across well. Your German is excellent, your French
is lousy and your Italian is non-existent. You will have to learn
Italian, Mr Tinney. But your manner is friendly and you of course
speak perfect English, which is the language of our clients. I tell you
frankly that a candidate succeeds or fails when he comes through
that door. If you make a good initial impression on me, you will with
the clients. We can offer you a place on our training tour; but no
doubt you have some questions which you would like to ask.”
I was so surprised at this decisiveness and the speed of events
that all the questions I had mentally prepared refused to surface. Mr
Liedermann was apparently used to this reaction and speedily
terminated the interview by thanking me for coming and by
emphasizing that the written offer, together with details of the training
tour, would be posted to me the following day.
That afternoon, I handed in my notice at the bank. With
unused holiday allocation deducted from the normal notice period, I
was free in a few days and was looking forward with a mixture of
excitement and nervousness to a completely different way of life.
The beginning of the training seminar was held in Lugano. On