Friday, June 5, 2015

How to Get that Dream Job

When I was a little girl, I preferred to make believe I was a secretary rather than playing with dolls as most girls did.  I chose secretary because I loved to organize, keep notes and pretend to work for someone 'important.'

In the 1950s-60s, career choices for women were generally limited by occupations in nursing, teaching, secretarial or as an airline stewardess. 

After high school graduation, every job I applied for I got and quickly realized I could start to write my own ticket.  My first job was for the Veterans Administration, but I found it tedious.  Although my next two jobs for prestigious law firms were exciting, my goal was to be my own boss.

Then I saw it.  The newspaper ad said "Wanted:  Gal Friday/Office Manager.  Must be able to work independently and have excellent skills."  I applied.  I got it.  

The job was an office manager for a construction company and it was located in a lumberyard.  My boss never had a secretary before and he wanted me to set up the offices and run all aspects of the business while he worked in the field. He was a commercial builder of huge projects; apartment complexes, hotels, and office buildings.

I ordered the necessary equipment and set up the office.  When we were ready to move into the new office space, I asked for his previous office records.  He opened the trunk of his big, shiny new Cadillac and showed me several boxes overflowing with receipts and invoices.

Sorting through it all, I came to realize that a lot of people owed him a lot of money!  When I confronted him with this he said he didn't have the time to worry about it.  This was in the 1960s and $60,000 in past due debt was a small fortune.  I told him that I was willing to collect on these and he said I could keep half of whatever I collected.

I knew that I would be dealing with some 'rough around the edges' characters. Then I had a brilliant idea.  I found the biggest and burliest man I could find and offered him $20 a day.  All he had to do was go with me to the various businesses that owed my boss money. He didn't have to say a word. He was just to stand behind me with his arms crossed.  

Do I really have to tell you what happened?  I collected on every single one. My boss was so impressed he told me to give myself a raise whenever and for whatever amount I wanted.  I stayed with him for several years and loved my job immensely.  

I was able to move into any unit I wanted to live in whenever I felt like upgrading.  He gave me a car to drive and an expense account.  My husband and I spent weekends at his cottage or on his boat.  

I stayed with him until he retired and we both cried.  Ours was a great relationship and I had the best secretarial job anyone could have ever hoped for.  

In later years, I started a business teaching office organization to corporation's secretarial pools.  It was not the challenge I needed and extremely boring. These secretaries were only interested in getting a paycheck and not improving their skills. 

I continue to run a tight ship in my office and manage a few businesses.  I have never tired of playing secretary!

If you have a dream, pursue it.  Never let it go.

What was your dream job?  Did you ever get it or better yet.....create it?

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