Rules To Remember In The Office: A Guide, For Women Secretaries In The 1950s, To Be Followed Strictly

The world has never been kind to women. Although after years of protests, the present conditions of women have dramatically improved, yet when we look at the past, we can see how much they have had to suffer. The restrictions on them were imposed on every aspect of their lives. For example, though they were allowed to work at various offices, they were confined only to clerical positions, with less pay and twice the workload. Moreover, they were required to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and follow bizarre rules at the office premises, some of which are listed below.

Be particular about your appearance.

Women, back in the day, were expected to look as good as they worked. Thus, from the secretarial training programs, they were made fully aware of how they must keep their skin clean and be very fastidious about their exterior.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Keep a smile plastered on your face.

A secretary was supposed to be in a cheerful mood and be the go-to gal always. Even while dealing with a crisis of their own, they had to be smiling every time their boss approached as it was considered appropriate for the professional space.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Uphold an admirable stance.

As taught in the training programs, they had to maintain a brilliant posture and attitude in the premises. However, it was also beneficial for their overall health and also crucial for their beauty.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

No flashy or long jewelry in the office!

The women were given strict guidelines not to wear any sort of ostentatious jewelry in the office as this could distract other employees and might lead to informal talks in the premises. They were expected to look simple and elegant.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Abstain from indulging into any kind of mockery.

When something happened in office that they felt something was not appropriate or was unfair, they couldn’t resort to sarcasm. It was considered to be rude to their male superiors if they got sarcastic.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Maintain an attractive and well-modulated voice.

Apart from their appearance, they also had to work on their voice. They had to polish their voices into a more attractive and polite tone which would be more acceptable in an office environment.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Bury the boredom within you and forget about it.

No matter the era, one constant thing in office is the presence of a colleague who happens to have endless stories. The only difference is that the women back then had to bear the lame talk and pretend to be interested while today, they have developed their ways to sneak out.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Avoid talking about themselves as much as possible.

It is a common phenomenon when people ask their co-workers about their weekends or family or any kind of out-of-office matters. But back then, the women were expected to refrain themselves from revealing anything about them. Even when someone asked, they were expected to try to avoid or reveal very little.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Refrain from engaging in any kind of gossip.

This is one rule which was and is difficult for everyone, especially women. Even if you are at work, you feel the need to confide in somebody and discuss things that you cannot in a formal setting.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Keep no hope for promotion.

Back in the 1950s, the males still had some hope for promotion but women had none.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Must be well-informed about the boss’ whereabouts.

It was believed that the secretaries must have profound knowledge about the whereabouts of their superiors. This way they could handle the situations effectively, without giving away any information.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

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