MY NEXT JOB WAS WITH ZENITH CORPORATION. I started off in the clerical pool typing technical reports eight hours a day. Mind numbing work to be sure – but no singular outstanding performance (aka Florsheim and Helene Curtis) and no men (aka John Kinds and The Associates Leasing).
The room in which we toiled each day resembled a scene out of one of those old Hollywood movies. It was huge, painted white, and filled with row after row after row of desks, and at each desk sat a woman typing.
Sometimes one of the technicians would call our supervisor and say that he had a letter or memo to dictate and a designated woman would rise from her typewriter, leave for a while, only to return and type even faster. There was a constant din of typewriter keys.
Our supervisor had a peculiar way of keeping us from falling asleep from the boring repetitive work. She kept the room ice cold. I remember sitting at my typewriter typing away, as best I could with my fingers turning blue from the cold, praying for break time so I could go outside – in Chicago – and get warm.
She also had another habit that drove most of the other girls nuts. She did not allow ‘her girls’ to wear either nail polish or watches. The nail polish, she said, might rub off on the documents and they would therefore have to be retyped. She also said she could not abide clock-watchers. This was her time and she wanted all of it. If she caught you staring at the clock on the room’s wall, she would come over and stand by your desk and ask you what was so interesting on the face of that clock. More than once, I was tempted to say THE TIME.