What historical events, policies, and overall political changes have you lived through? What do you find yourself talking to young folks about?
I was a Kelly Girl back in the early 80s. For a couple of years I worked with the biggest temp agency in my area, going from job to job.
I stuffed envelopes, photocopied, answered phones, opened and sorted mail. I worked in the IGA marketing department working with their in-house art director.
I loved it! I never got caught up in office politics.
When employers are desperate for help, they are thrilled to have a worker show up! 😉 Hello, welcome, happy to have you here.
And here’s the political change I most want to talk about:
- Every boss I had welcomed me heartily.
- Every boss I had was grateful to have me.
- Every boss I had was male.
- Every boss I had put his hands on me.
And at the time, that was simply the cost of being a woman in the workforce. I wouldn’t have dreamed of reporting such actions. I wasn’t afraid of repercussions. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t grouse or complain. None of us did.
Long before the #MeToo movement, that was just the price of women working.
I am grateful, SO grateful, for the changes that I’ve seen over the last 40+ years. But it is important to remember just what a turnaround the #metoo movement is, especially when we think back to our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations.
Those old cartoons and sitcomes featuring bosses chasing pretty women around desks might not have been funny to us, but they were accurate. And it is important to know these details about the past so as not to slip backwards and let those old cultural norms become “the norm” again.
Maybe you served in the military, served on a jury, or served dinner to unhoused folks. Your particular experience is worth remembering for how it adds to our understanding of history and of change.
Be sure to save your evidence, tell your story, and pass it along. If you want to talk about starting an oral history or archives project together, book a 30-minute call with me HERE.