Women at Work – 1960

IBM_403_Accounting_MachineThe Sixties.

The Beatles arrived in the USA and I arrived on the planet (thanks Mom and Dad!).

Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique (1963), physicist Maria Goepper-Mayer won a Nobel Prize (1963), The National Organization for Women was founded (1966), and Yale and Princeton began to accept female students (1969).

Congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which prohibited wage differentials based on sex which begat (HR alert!) Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (477 U.S. 57 (1986)) when the US Supreme Court recognized that certain forms of sexual harassment could be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII.


Getting Sexy at #SHRM16 – Snapchat Style

snapchatI apologize ahead of time. This blog post may very well provide a vision of me, sitting on my porch in the 90 degree heat of a south Louisiana summer, yelling at the kids as they ride their bikes up and down my street.

I don’t like Snapchat.

Oh…I totally “get” Snapchat. I understand the appeal and see why it’s grown by leaps and bounds (especially amongst the 12 – 24 or 34 or whatever demographic).

But I don’t like it.

At all.

God knows I’m an ‘early’ adopter of most anything; Yo? ‘Ello? invites to every beta thing I can scrounge? Yes, yes and yes.  Good grief; I’ve had a Snapchat account since early 2014 (maybe end of 2013?? I dunno) and distinctly recall sending a snap to a friend with whom I was having lunch in Atlanta. It might well have been my first one and was a spectacular picture of the ketchup bottle. I tried to drum up some interest. We both tried to be amused.

Neither of us were amused.

I think I have sent exactly 1 snap since that auspicious beginning. I also received a fair number of male-genitalia “snaps” before I realized I didn’t have to, you know, open the stuff from random unknown people.

Interestingly enough no one seemed to really give a crap about Snapchat until all-of-a-sudden it seemed to explode, simultaneously, into the consciousness of my young-professional/Gen-X/even-the-Boomers circle of friends, family and acquaintances.

And then, heading into #SHRM16,  SHRM hopped on the bandwagon. Lord. I have yet to decide whether this will take Snapchat amongst the general middle-aged populace into the stratosphere of popularity or foreshadow a rapid (like by the end of 2016) decline. After all, once your mom, grandma, or the HR-lady-wearing-capri-pants-and-a-cardigan gets on Snapchat… it’s all over; know what I mean?

Listen…there are people doing fun and awesome stuff in the recruiting/HR space on Snapchat; check this great post (featuring loads of smart and innovative people) from my friend Lars Schmidt at Amplify Talent.

I adore these people; but I’m just not feeling it.

And then SHRM decided to go full-tilt on Snapchat for #SHRM16. Again – people I love and adore chiming in on this, but..wow..someone is totally (totes!!) PUSHING Snapchat:

Noble effort and I can applaud it but it strikes me as pissing into the wind; I just don’t see the average SHRM member/Annual Conference attendee spending his/her day snapping away between sessions on “The 3 Most Important Things to do for 2016 FLSA Compliance” and “Claim Your Seat! How to Be a Strategic HR Business Partner.”

I predict this will be like the e-n-d-l-e-s-s experiment to get HR gals/guys (with egg avatars!!!!) to tweet MADLY for the 4 days they’re living it up in the conference city after which, of course, they immediately forget they even have a Twitter account until 365 days later when it’s time for the next go-round.

I should be happy I guess; SHRM is attempting to appeal to the masses in a current and youthful (wow!) way. And, interestingly enough, on a channel where it’s a bit harder to measure the efforts of one’s efforts/engagement.

I truly do hope it’s fun for everyone; I just hope I don’t get any genitalia-snaps from SHRM attendees……

Now #GetOffMyLawn

Women at Work – 1940

woman-at-work-guide1943 to be precise.

What follows is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine; written for male supervisors of women during World War II.


Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:

1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that “husky” girls— those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.

5. In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employe in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employe change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.


note: I realize this has circulated on the interwebz for a number of years now, but I still find it fascinating.