Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mad Men

I love the television show Mad Men. I love the look of it and I particularly enjoy the way they deal with the time period.

I talk with young women these days and I think they really don't understand how it used to be for us in the workplace.

In truth, I had forgotten a lot of this, till I started watching Mad Men. Seeing the way they portray how women were treated and regarded in the workplace brought it all back in a flash.

I started work at the Post Office when I was just 20 years old. There had been a hiring freeze for several years and when they finally started hiring again, myself and two other women were the first to be placed. After that, there was at least one new person coming in every day and sometimes three or four a day for the next couple of months. It meant that there was a large influx of young people who were in their first real jobs, myself included. And a large number of us were women.

My job was sorting mail, working on "the floor" and it was dirty, heavy work. Even under those circumstances, the women who had been working there before the freeze would come to work in dresses, hose, street shoes and full makeup. This was 1968.

Due to the times, those of us that were new were a different breed. We came to work in Levis and tee shirts, and this wasn't appreciated by many of the old timers (both men and women). I remember several men commenting that I had no business taking a job away from a man who might have to support a family. I also remember a lot of employees who felt that many of us young folks had "loose morals" and those of us who might be "living in sin" had no business holding good jobs (and at that time, it was a good job).

It's been a long time since those days, but I have to believe that things are better now, at least for those young folks who manage to find a good job.

I hope we've made some progress in that department, and I really believe that television shows like Mad Men are a great way to remind us oldsters of how it used to be. And maybe, it will serve as a reminder to young people of how far we've come.


Jerry and Suzy said...

Never have seen that show, but back in those days I was ensconced in Human Resources work (then called Personnel), so I remember the male responses and all the attitudes. Has it gone away? Dunno, but when I retired nine years ago, the male President of our organization was in the process of replacing all the male vice-presidents (like me) with females, and the one who replaced me got a starting salary 75% higher than my ending salary. And I was the person who had to make the formal offer to her!

Russ Krecklow said...

Hey, Kate. Good post. My Dad worked as a clerk in the post office for many years, and retired quite awhile back. He passed away several years ago. It was a good job back in the day!

Donna K said...

I remember working my first bank job about that same time. Women were not allowed to wear pants to work. Pants suits for women were just becoming popular...remember the ones that looked like dresses on top but you wore pants on the bottom? One gal came to work so attired and was made to remove the slacks portion of her outfit leaving her wearing just a mini- skirt dress. They didn't like that either but all us women got a good laugh over it.

Jorge and Evielynne's RV Road Adventures said...

I have seen the show and never had I ever experience the tack of this type of behavior but then I am the generation that you women worked so hard to help make better - and for that thank you. I just couldn't imagine such a thing - seeing the older movies where they smoked while cooking or in the office is such a weird thought. But I am glad that it is just a weird thought and no a way of living.


Pawson Travels said...

We watched the entire MAD MEN series this winter in Baja. I had never seen it before. At first it was too depressing as it reminded me of my life growing up. But I soon became enamored with the characters and now I miss them all. Who would have thought? What a great series. I am now noticing the characters from MAD MEN in TV ADS and other venues of entertainment.

Aeagles said...

I totally love the Mad Men series! I graduated from high school in 1962 and the series reminds me of so many things. I'm grateful for all the progress made and for what will come in the future for women and men. It's great to reflect on the past from the vantage point of maturity gained.