In the 80's I recall going to apply for temp work. I got very few calls for work, even though my typing skills were good. It was to be expected, I was told by the interviewer, "Our clients preferred female secretaries". I was eyed with suspicion for even applying for the job. Eve Arden and Ann Sheridan I wasn't. Which brings us to this lovely pamphlet put out by the Remington Rand Typewriter Company on "How to Be a Super Secretary". Judging by the advice, a secretary was expected to be part-wife, part-maid, part mistress. The perfect woman their wives could never be; Hiding their feelings, looking perfect, acting pleasant, remembering her place, and always putting her boss before herself. Outside of going to Japan and getting a Geisha, a secretary was the next best thing.
However, I think a lot of this advice is still being touted at those "Be a Great Administrative Assistant" seminars that I get advertisements for every few weeks.
Common sense tips like: Keep a neat desk; don't bother the boss with your petty personal problems; come in on time; all seem like good rules to follow. However, the pamphlet creeps me out with the underlining theme that you're boss can do no wrong. He is seen God like, with a halo around his head. If you're a good girl and give him all the love and worship he deserves you might be rewarded.
Blessed are the women who for years put up with decades of second class citizenship; Not to mention having to worry about if their margins were straight. The things they had to do to have a good typewriter make me shiver.
HERE is a .pdf of the full pamphlet.
If you don't have the time to read the full thing, then than you should at least take some notes on your Bosses' Pet Peeves. Ladies, how many can you confess too?
- Chews gum
- Too much make-up
- Too bossy
- Smokes at her desk
- BO (please do something about this!)
- Hair untidy
- Bobby socks
- Doesn't check letters or reports
- Too noisy
- Airs personal troubles
- Too emotional in attitude
- Careless about details
- Gloats when she changes phrases...thinks knowledge of grammar more important than knowledge of business
- Never around when she is needed
- Tactless in correction others... even the boss
- Brags about being secretary to a 'big shot'
- A trouble maker among co-workers
- Loses papers when she cleans up desk
- Feels exempt from office rules
- Swears (this should be the boss's privilege)
- Her slip always showing
- Not lady-like enough
- Egotistical...smart but not smart enough to hide it
- Comes in late, goes early, takes too long for lunch
- Moody, so cross at times she makes life disagreeable for everyone...including the boss
Now go out there and have a great Monday!