If you work in an office and watch Mad Men, it's hard not to be struck by the difference in culture from today's offices to those in the 50's and 60's.
I got my very first job in 1987 ... two weeks after graduating high school. I was working in a word processing department for a local bank. Ten hours a day ... four days a week. Skirts were required ... as were pantyhose and attractive shoes.
I'd been working there less than a month when the order came down from above ... no one was allowed to smoke at their desk. People were livid. I remember seeing herds of people loitering by the back door ... large, sand-filled ashtrays full of cigarette butts.
Attitudes were so different back then. It's hard to put into words. There were no such thing as sexual harassment laws. It was common to have older vice presidents and loan officers hitting on the staff. I remember terribly inappropriate things being said to one of my co-workers. She was having a hard day once ... and an elderly executive named Matt walked into the room to ask about the status of a job. She was snappish with him. His response? "Someone's bitchy today. You need something warm against your belly."
I remember going to her later ... urging her to tell someone ... talk to our supervisor ... complain to human resources ... something. She had been upset and teary eyed all day ... but she shrugged it off and said, "He was just joking. Let it go." I was seventeen ... just a kid. She was in her late 20's ... a single mom with two kids and a drinking problem. She didn't have the luxury of complaining. She couldn't take that kind of risk.
The world is a different place now. There are no full ashtrays laying around on desks. People in my office wear jeans and flip flops. There's certainly no unwanted sexual innuendos over the coffee maker. My only complaint?
Headphones are a universal sign that someone a) is working hard and b) wants to be left alone. One of my co-workers does not respect the headphones. It is maddening. She continuously interrupts to make stupid, asinine comments ... even when I say something passive aggressive like, "Sorry, what was that? I was so busy working on this rush order that I wasn't paying attention ..."
In the big scheme of things, being interrupted is much better than having to work ten hour days while wearing pantyhose and dealing with trolls who enjoy hitting on girls their granddaughter's age.
But ... still ... I can't lie ... it make my eye twitch ...
I Don't Care What You Say
Don't You Come Walkin'
Beggin' Back Mama
I Don't Care Anyway
Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone