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Secretary with 40 years of experience can’t find work

April 6, 2010

Happy Monday, darlings! 

Barbara Stanwyck sleeps her way to the top in "Babyface." It's harder to agree with the morality angle if you know from experience how much being a secretary sucks.

As annoying as my job is at times, I like to remind myself that things could be worse. I could be Carol Vitkay, who has just been profiled in The New York Daily News’s “Hire Me” column. 

Honestly, I don’t know what part of this article disturbs me the most. For one thing, this woman has been a secretary for forty years. 

Forty. Years. 

Not sure how old this woman is, but that pretty much covers ages 20 to 60–what many would call the best years of life.

Seriously, Carol? It never occured to you to try something else? Could you not manage a promotion to office manager or something? 

This reminds me of what my mom used to tell me life was like for women in 70’s when they graduated highschool: they could be a teacher, a nurse, or a secretary. That was the extent of the options. 

My mother happened to pick teaching, which worked out great for her. Frankly, I can see the fulfillment a job like that would give you over the course of a lifetime. Carol chose secretary school for two years, and spent the next four decades taking phone calls and writing down appointments at Merrill Lynch. Do I see the fulfillment there? Not so much.

Disturbing Fact Number Two: this woman cannot find a job. 

Now granted, it’s a red flag to have worked the same job at the same company for 40 years and never have gotten a promotion. 

But forty years of experience and she really can’t find anything in a line of work that has been hailed as one of the most accessable since the recession?

Does that mean there truly no hope for those of us fresh out of college? Or is the real problem that the cute, fresh out of college girls are the ones CEO’s want bending over their desks signing Fed Ex slips.

Maybe Carol can’t find a job because a monkey could be a secretary and her experience doesn’t mean anything–companies want secretaries that promote a certain image, or perhaps young executives in training that they can groom from the front desk to the corner office. 

Disturbing fact number three: after forty years of working (for the same company, remember?) Carol has no health insurance, no pension, and does not even own a computer. She has to job hunt at the library. 

I honestly don’t know if this woman is a saint or a moron, of if it’s a glaring example of sexism that this woman has so little to show for her dedication… but I really hope she finds a job. Even more- I hope it’s a job doing something awesome, like taste testing ice cream or house sitting for Bill Gates. She deserves it. 

Good luck, Carol.

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One comment

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