3/17/10

Happy St Patrick's day

There was a time when my office was much less rigid about some things and much more rigid about others. For example, men wore ties and slacks with long sleeved button down shirts, and ladies wore dresses. Managers wore suits. And, everybody smoked. This will come as a shock to the young whippersnappers that think shorts and flip-flops are appropriate office attire and wrinkle their noses as they pass the smoking area.

All our work was done on paper. We had access to computer terminals, but they weren't interactive and I shared a monitor with someone else because we didn't look at things on the computer much. We wrote things on paper. A keypunch operator keyed them into the computer and then we got a copy of the output to see if it was right. With all those steps, it often wasn't. How different that was than today when everything is computerized and pencils are old-fashioned.

But, I worked for a pretty relaxed company and every year, on St Patrick's day, they'd bring in a keg of green beer to the breakroom. The office had set hours (remember when customer service was only available during regular business hours?). After hours, we could all go to the breakroom and have a beer or two and visit. Those were the days. 100 people crammed into a space the size of my living room, ties loose and stocking feet. And, laughter all around.

Then, we'd all get in our cars and drive home or to a happy hour at an Irish pub. It was such a different time. The police were much more likely to pull you over and call a cab than to arrest you for DWI. Back then, the company could just let us all go. Now, if they have an event, they only give 2 drink tickets per person and even with that, they have to provide cabs for anyone that overdoes it.

Not gonna say that times were better then. Clothes are certainly more comfortable now. Companies have to consider the good of the employee even when the employee isn't. You can't drink and drive. But, you can wear shorts and flops to the office.

On a regular basis, you're going to hear me reminisce about the old days. But, I hope I don't romanticize them (we're getting enough of that from Glen Beck.) What I want to do is tell what I remember and it wasn't all good or pretty (despite copious amounts of hair gel). I lost a friend after drinking at an office event. People did embarassing things that they hoped no one remembered. It wasn't a golden age. But, it was part of "my time". And, that's what Way Back Wednesday is for. To share the memories of "my time". And, to remember the folks that are part of my history. And, to tell you about how we used to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

Take care, wear green and enjoy the day safely! We're going to the rodeo carnival. All the rides we can ride for $15 and a milking competition at 12:30. Whoopee! Lane

6 comments:

Sunshine said...

Nice stories, Lane, the good and the bad. Is Way Back Wednesday a blogging thing or your idea?

Cheers,
Christine

Shirleymac said...

I remember the office days even earlier than that. Electric typewriters were a fairly new thing. I want to know like Sunshine if Way Back Wednesday is a blogging thing. I really enjoyed yours today and I remember a lot of those rules were the rules when I started working in the dark ages *LOL*

lw said...

This takes me back. I remember being glad I went into optical engineering in the 80's because you're not allowed to smoke inside the facilities and I'm very allergic to cigarette smoke. There was always that group clustered around both doors that you had to walk through.

All the men in ties, women in dresses, except for the technicians, polishers and assemblers. We got so filthy, that we wore the same stuff you'd wear to mow a lawn-- long pants, solid shoes, long sleeves, etc. Nothing like pine pitch (the polishing beds are made out of soft cycad) to get your clothes black.

In those days, as a woman working a man's job, I got your fabric store cold shoulder in reverse; a lot of guys tried to run me off the job. Lots of harassment of every kind. Now it's totally changed, and men are afraid even to joke around women. Only the managers wear ties, the techs wear jeans, and the rest of us engineers dress according to our career paths-- manager wannabees wear nice slacks, expensive shirts and ties. Technical gurus dress pretty much any way they want; no one cares how you dress unless you're presenting to the customers and then you dress like management. It took me a long time to figure out how to dress for presentations (not being male) so I usually wear expensive slacks, blouse, pumps and pearl earrings. But I'm going the way of the guru and usually work in jeans.

Like you said, those times weren't better or worse, just very different and nostalgic.

Coloradolady said...

Have a fun day! I wanted to ask you if you have heard of an antique festival or sorts outside of Round top? maybe misspelled, my son told me about it today, it is in a couple of weeks....tents and tents all along a freeway, I am thinking that is maybe close to you??? Anyway, if interested, I'll get the info to you...sounds like a lot of fun to me!!

Quiltluver said...

I remember those days too. We were so excited to finally get a fax machine instead of having to go upstairs to the attorney's office to send a fax. Don't miss the dresses and pantyhose, though. I remember our first PC in the mid 80's. And my first office job I did billing on a keypunch machine that had these huge plates filled with wires. The machine was the size of a desk. Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

Thank you for sharing memories of a very different work time.

I'm about to rock your socks off.

In 1985 I started my RN Nursing degree in a hospital setting before nursing went to university degrees.

We were allowed to smoke in lectures. Ashtray on the tables and everything.

Now you cant even smoke on the grounds.