Short Story Preview: The Good Secretary
‘The good secretary,’ said my teacher, back in 1949, ‘must have good shorthand and not make any mistakes in her typing. She must have a thorough command of English and excellent spelling,’ and ‘To be a good secretary, she must have a good memory, so she’ll always remember where everything is filed.’
‘To be a good secretary, she must…’ I was looking, last week, through some old notes I took at my secretarial college in 1950 and couldn’t help thinking how the secretarial scene has changed in forty-three years.
Our College Principal insisted ‘her’ girls dress ‘elegantly’ in hat and gloves and ‘hose’. (Trousers for girls were unheard of in those days, ‘jeans’ being seen only on Wild West cowboys!) But apart from the horrific experiments in dress that seem to be tolerated nowadays (even in quite formal professional offices), there have been some staggering changes in office language and business practice.
Take the language. If, back in 1950, I’d been confronted with today’s ‘office speak’ when newly out of college with my hard won First Class Diploma, I wouldn’t have understood a word!