Shorthand, I know what it is, but can’t read it. Many years ago at Lowy Enterprises. I received a promotion to work with Dave in Accounts Receivable. At high school I refused typing and shorthand because I didn’t plan on being any man’s secretary, Hah. So, one of my new jobs was to take dictation from Dave. I swear I invented chat speak and texting. My own private brand of alpha shorthand and my very good memory got me through. Life is strange sometimes, you don’t always get what you want when you want it. Sometimes you get it after you decide you didn’t really want it after all. Translation ……… after waiting about five years to get pregnant a fourth time and deciding three was enough, especially now that I was working full time and just got promoted, surprise, I was pregnant a fourth time.
My boss Dave was a nice guy and occasionally wickedly funny. I had only been just a few months into the new position and now found myself nervously announcing “I’m pregnant”. He turned around in his chair looked very seriously at me and stated, “Well, we know it’s not mine”.
In those days of 1978 there was a lot of kibitz regarding women’s rights, maternity leave, etc., but nothing concrete in the law books, yet. Dave didn’t lay me off, but knowing I would be asking off in the inevitable future, he proceeded to hire a 19 year old graduate of Miss Hickey’s Secretarial School. He bragged how she could do shorthand and had great speed in typing. So, I was summarily down graded to AR clerk and had to teach my replacement how to do her/my job.
If I have learned anything in life it’s that Karma is many times a witch. It wasn’t to very long, before the young Miss Hickey’s grad came asking me to help her interpret HER shorthand. Trying to keep a professionally serious face and tone. I informed her I could not. She in a panic replied “What I am I going to do?”. I then, still with professional dignity (I was belly ache laughing inside) told her she must see the boss and go over the letter with him if she could not remember his actual dictation on it.
I mentioned earlier that there were many women’s issues on the fire at the time. One that had come through was, ‘women could not be terminated because of pregnancy’, so boss Dave ended up with one and a half secretaries until I was ready have my son Robby. Boss Dave did get another dig at me, though. I had planned on going back to work six weeks after birth, ahhh but, Dave knew he didn’t have to hire me back and didn’t. So, I spent a wonderful three months with my newborn and Karma again came into play. It seemed the Miss Hickey’s graduate, decided to get married and pregnant. Instead of staying through her gestational period, she gave two weeks notice and left. Soon after, I got a pleasant call, from boss Dave, asking how I and the baby were doing and would I like to return to work.
If I could go back in time…….would I choose to take Typing and Shorthand classes? Most likely not, because who I was then and who I carried into my adulthood, was a great part of how I dealt with the situations I found myself in, either by chance, luck or choice, I was able to not just cope but to survive and keep a good humor as well.