Usually when someone writes of a “first time” the subject is sex. But I’m not going that route. My first time will be the first day of work, at an actual job. Not my first job, but an actual, fill-out-forms-for-taxes type job.
The first day of work was my eighteenth birthday. High school graduation over, lovely summer of travel to my father’s birthplace — actually where I live now, Wyoming. I had taken the Civil Service exam in school, scored highly on it, so was offered a job at the Cold Regions Research Engineering Laboratory (USACRREL) in New Hampshire. I was a shy, naive girl, but so very excited to start my new job. My intent was to earn enough money to enable me to attend a secretarial college.
I remember how intimidated I was upon meeting my co-workers, aka bosses. Two middle aged men whose favorite activity, it seemed, was to see just how red my face could get before the day’s end. What would now probably be called sexual harassment was possibly their intent? The only detail I’ll give is the singing of their apparent favorite song, “She has freckles on her butt…..she is nice”. Go ahead laugh. Everyone thought it was a great joke because I was a redhead and wore no makeup at the time and did have freckles.
I did my job well and earned the promotion of working downstairs in the Photographic Interpretation Research Department (PIRD). Of course learning the government way of doing everything was much different than the classes I had taken on filing, bookkeeping, etc, but I was a fast learner.
I was glad to be out of the first small office atmosphere and moved into a larger area where I was the only secretary to a few scientists. They were all men and polite and fun to work for. My shorthand skills were utilized constantly. The first time I took dictation from the head of the department I was a nervous wreck. I learned new words such as photogrammetric; try writing that in fast shorthand when you’ve never heard it before!
I loved all of these guys. They were respectful and helpful. I also loved the job and of course, met my husband, so the secretarial college plans disappeared.