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Old 04-09-2015, 05:10 PM   #161
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:54 PM   #162
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I didn't realize that the women and pants thing went into the 70s and early 80s. My mom was talking about how she couldn't wear pants to work in the 50s and 60s and I was literally floored. I cannot remember ever wearing a dress or business skirt to work. Gah!

Yep- I plead guilty for Dear Old Dad on this one. He was brought in as District Manager for a steel company and told his Admin she was to wear skirts. Pants were not professional for women in the office.

Near the end of my career I developed a dislike for panty hose and wore almost nothing but pants. I even have an immaculately-tailored pinstripe suit.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:32 PM   #163
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Oh thank god that dress code went away. I haven't worn pantyhose to work a day in my life!!!!
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:18 PM   #164
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I didn't realize that the women and pants thing went into the 70s and early 80s. My mom was talking about how she couldn't wear pants to work in the 50s and 60s and I was literally floored. I cannot remember ever wearing a dress or business skirt to work. Gah!
Some places it went even longer. When I started in my first big law firm in 1992, women were not allowed to wear pants. After a couple years, the women all got together and wore pants to work on the same day, silently challenging the old guys to say anything about it. That was the end of the no pants rule. Men had to wear a suit and tie every day, white shirt only, and if you left your personal office, you had to put your suit jacket on.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:24 PM   #165
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I started work as a research technician at a National laboratory in 1980. I had a big wooden desk. A chair that was hardly ergonomic. A touch tone telephone. An ADM terminal. The technology environment was pretty modern but it was all just so slow. Fax machines were slow. I would write documents on the unix vi editor but the printer was in the next building and my docs just went into the queue. Programming was difficult because there was so little memory to work with. Digital storage was cassette tapes for our laboratory instruments. In general, though I don't think my sense of the technology environment was much different than today.

As for professions in demand . . . really . . . anyone who graduated from college in the sciences or engineering could get a job. IT and computer science was big but so was everything else. Not that many people went to college in those days. It's not that things were all that different back then for college grads. It that today things are different (in a bad way) for those with a high school degree or a minimal post HS education.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:37 PM   #166
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I started my professional career at an aerospace company in the late 70s. I smoked cigarettes at my desk, and a couple of older engineers had their pipe. There was a cigarette vending machine out in the hall.

In the late 80s, when I was at another larger aerospace company, cigarette smoking started to be banned indoors. It was OK to go out to an open space like the patio or courtyard to smoke. A few years ago, I heard that they even banned smoking anywhere on the company property, and that included the parking lot.

About dress code, we usually wore a suit when on company trips. When seeing visitors coming in for a meeting, we did not wear a suit, but put on a tie and a dress shirt. It was still the same when I left for my own small venture business in 1996.

When I came back to the megacorp world for part-time work as a job shopper in 2003, I was startled to see a much more casual environment. Nobody wore a suit, even when visiting a client or a subcontractor, and that included high levels up to director. It was most likely that an executive VP still wore suit when on business trips, but I was only involved with technical people.
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Old 04-10-2015, 06:51 AM   #167
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Whenever someone came to w*rk wearing a tie/suit, we always joked that they must have an interview...
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:57 AM   #168
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I also worked at a place that a whistle went off for the morning and afternoon breaks, and also for lunch. 9,12 & 3. almost like Dr. Pepper! After that died away in the early 1980's, we still had a manager who would lurk at the door at 1:00 looking for people that were late coming back from lunch.
This reminds me of a story my mom told me back in the mid-1980s when she was still working. She designed circuit boards at a small plant which had the production floor in the back and the designers and office workers in the front. The plant had 2 entrances, one in the back for the production line workers and one in the front for visitors and clients.

The only problem was that the white-collar workers like her were never allowed to use the front entrance when entering and exiting the building. She and her coworkers were always dressed well, so there wasn't an issue with clients seeing a bunch of factory workers in jeans coming in and out through the waiting room (they were hourly workers so they had punch a time clock at the rear door). However, they were watched by the lurking office manager like you described, and it took an extra 10 minutes round-trip to walk all the way to the rear door then walk around the building outside to the street to go to lunch which was only 30 minutes. That cuts down a lot of the limited lunch time.

I recall she complained management about this practice and asked that the white-collar people be allowed to use the front door to enter and exit and got rebuffed. She soon got another job but I am not sure how much this nitpicky attitude had to do with it - she might have received a better salary; I know the new job was only a 5-minute drive from her house.

She lasted only a few years at her new place before she, sadly, got Cancer in 1991 and went out on disability before she died a few years later.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:17 PM   #169
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Whenever someone came to w*rk wearing a tie/suit, we always joked that they must have an interview...
Heh, heh...

I used that to good effect a few times. Starting a few months before annual reviews, just show up at work in a suit, or dress slacks and shirt (looking tie and jacket ready). Take a long lunch. When asked about the attire, deflect the conversation.

Make managers nervous. Starts rumors. Profit!
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:23 PM   #170
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Whenever someone came to w*rk wearing a tie/suit, we always joked that they must have an interview...
And then there were the guys who worked on the factory floor and would come in with suit and tie, go in the locker room and change into work clothes and then repeat the process going home.

Some of them were just old-school --and that's how it was done in the old country--but most of them wanted their neighbors to think they were executives! Really.
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Old 04-10-2015, 03:36 PM   #171
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Talk about smoking at work, we have come a long way in 30 years. I was still smoking when I was head of a small local office of one of the startups. I instituted the same rule of no indoors smoking that I picked up from the megacorp that I left. I do not remember when I stopped smoking inside my home, but it had to be around the same time of about 20 years ago.

I still remember when smoking was allowable in the back of aircraft. It was so bad back there that I would seat in non-smoking even though I was a smoker. Inside airports, there were smoking rooms, then eventually entire airports became smoke-free. Imagine how non-smokers suffered all those years. Or perhaps everybody got so used to second-hand smoke that it did not bother them as much as it does now.
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:07 PM   #172
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Imagine how non-smokers suffered all those years.
Amen!
I was a heavy smoker when young, and after I quit, (decades ago), I was absolutely mystified at how my nonsmoking friends had been able to put up with me. I asked them, and they just said "It was so common that we had no choice but to deal with it." Good people.
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:18 PM   #173
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... Imagine how non-smokers suffered all those years. Or perhaps everybody got so used to second-hand smoke that it did not bother them as much as it does now.
No, many of us never 'got used to it'. I have always hated smoke. Especially at a meal. It's disgusting, and I'm still angry that so many meals I've paid for were ruined because I had to accept the smoke wafting in my face. Or go out to a club, and have you clothes and hair soaked with the stench of stale smoke. Yuk. I want to just climb into bed, but my clothes/hair stink so much I need to take a shower, and hang my clothes in the garage. It always struck me just what nerve they had to affect everyone around them with their stinkin' habit.

To this day, when occasionally leaving a restaurant, or a club, I smile thinking about how nice it was to enjoy the meal, drinks and/or entertainment w/o having to shut up and accept the stench of someone else's obnoxious cigarette smoke.

Hmmmm, that has me thinking of the modern day equivalent, that I might take to the rant thread... but some people will not like it

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Old 04-10-2015, 04:25 PM   #174
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I still remember when smoking was allowable in the back of aircraft. It was so bad back there that I would seat in non-smoking even though I was a smoker.
Ever been in the smoking car of a commuter train? Awful! I ran into a few coworkers at Hoboken station, both smokers, so suggested we sit in the smoking car. I was practically gasping and wheezing when I got to my station. I never did that again. They had a bar car on some of the trains in and out of NYC but I never encountered one.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:23 PM   #175
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In those old days when we used to receive documents by mail, as a nonsmoker I could always tell when it was sent by a smoker.
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What was it like going to work in the 60s, 70s and 80s?
Old 04-10-2015, 09:19 PM   #176
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What was it like going to work in the 60s, 70s and 80s?

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Ever been in the smoking car of a commuter train? Awful! I ran into a few coworkers at Hoboken station, both smokers, so suggested we sit in the smoking car. I was practically gasping and wheezing when I got to my station. I never did that again. They had a bar car on some of the trains in and out of NYC but I never encountered one.

Chicago Metra trains banned smoking in 1990. I didn't take the train much back then, so I don't remember how bad it was. But I do remember the bar car. Metra had bar cars on a few of their routes until 2008. Great way to knock down a couple of beers after work. Commuters can now bring their own booze on board, but it doesn't seem like as many people are drinking on the train as in the old days.


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Old 04-10-2015, 11:33 PM   #177
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I transferred to a remote division of mega corp in '82 as an entry level engineer. The culture was completely different from my previous unit.

My job was liason to Europe and I recall using a fax machine for the 1st time. It was 6 min transmission time per page (long distance to Europe) and the machine used thermal paper that was extremely expensive. I guess the term "long distance phone call" is meaningless nowdays.

Overhead projectors were used for presentations. I was deemed incompetent having never been trained to make transparencies in 2.5 yrs at my former position working as a test engineer
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Old 04-11-2015, 07:53 AM   #178
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Overhead projectors were used for presentations. I was deemed incompetent having never been trained to make transparencies in 2.5 yrs at my former position working as a test engineer
I remember once suggesting in one of those "brainstorming on ways to reduce expenses" meetings that we have people duplex transparencies to save money. The meeting leader (who was an admin person) actually put that on the list of ideas. We could only keep a straight face about it for about an hour before we told him he better remove it from the list as not to look silly.
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:23 AM   #179
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I had to do a lot of presentations using transparencies in the 1980s. Afterwards, we used to wash the ink off in the sink and hang them up to dry, but not before making a photocopy of any material we might use again. One time I discovered I had used a permanent marker when the ink wouldn't wash off. They wouldn't give me any more transparencies so I had to buy my own, and they were quite expensive.

Remember making glass slides and stacking them in carousels? God forbid you had to update them! As a result, many academics reused the same slides for years and years, maybe adding one new slide at the end with updates. You could always spot the vintage of the slides by the font and the cut and paste techniques. Before PowerPoint, there was Harvard Graphics and Corel Draw.

I remember doing research on patient charts that were archived on microfiche. This was eye strain and headache-inducing. I could only put in an hour or two at a time. I suppose historians still have to do this, as not all historical records can be digitized.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:49 AM   #180
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Yeah, that "everyone smokes" line one used to hear. Supposedly I worked/work with the smartest people in the country (of course, everyone in this area thinks that's them!). Yet, 25 years after the Surgeon General's 1964 Report on Smoking and Lung Cancer, here these folks still were, puffing away. And some of them had been born after the Surgeon General's report.

Mr. A. told me he quit after the report came out. He took up the habit again for a while during his divorce (years before we met), and then asked himself, "Why am I letting my ex-wife, who doesn't mean me well, drive me to do something self-destructive?" and he quit again. Good thing, b/c I would never have met him (by searching out a non-smoking office) if he'd continued to smoke.

That's what "intelligence" truly means to me: Being smart enough to do what's best for yourself (at least, so far as that is known at the time), not what "feels good" or what "everyone else does."

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Talk about smoking at work, we have come a long way in 30 years. I was still smoking when I was head of a small local office of one of the startups. I instituted the same rule of no indoors smoking that I picked up from the megacorp that I left. I do not remember when I stopped smoking inside my home, but it had to be around the same time of about 20 years ago.

I still remember when smoking was allowable in the back of aircraft. It was so bad back there that I would seat in non-smoking even though I was a smoker. Inside airports, there were smoking rooms, then eventually entire airports became smoke-free. Imagine how non-smokers suffered all those years. Or perhaps everybody got so used to second-hand smoke that it did not bother them as much as it does now.
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