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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Getting ahead



I’ve worked for others, I’ve worked for myself; half my career in the corporate world and half a company run by my sister and myself.  In retrospect, I did it in the right order.  I've been  employed every year from the time I turned seventeen. For years I bounced around corporate office jobs, acquiring that essential set of office skills. 

Then I was divorced and needed to support a family. I opened the classifieds and studied them to find a profession I could master that would provide the income.  Engineering was very tempting, but time was of the essence.  I had no credentials in any field except American Literature, which would not pay three months arrears my husband left on the mortgage.

Accounting it would be.  I bought an entry accounting text, read it, tested out of taking the classes.  I enrolled in a local college to take the other classes I needed for a BS degree in accounting.  And, I began applying for accounting positions.  Forty years later, I can hardly believe the chutzpah.  Most interviews ended on the first meeting, but one small company was willing to take the chance and hired me.  As the controller! We grew together.

Saturday mornings often saw various offices occupied by staff catching up.  My girls were too young to leave home alone at nine and eleven, so I brought them along.  There was one office filing job my staff routinely put off, the dreaded “file of last resort;” the numerical file of all invoices typed.  Wouldn’t you just know, it was the file “the bosses” went straight for when a customer called!  Perfect for two little girls to sit on a floor, sort by number, punch holes and put in a binder.  I paid them a quarter an hour.

This quiet and efficient arrangement went along fine for at least a year.  But one Saturday morning I looked up to find my boss in my door, a little girl on each hand.

“I understand you pay these workers twenty five cents an hour!”

I admitted I did, and hastened to add I paid them myself.

“I want you to pay them a dollar an hour.  Effective immediately.  Out of petty cash.”

I still smile when I think of them slipping off to the Vice-President’s office to ask for a raise.


Beth



Shelly

25 comments:

  1. Sounds like the daughters took after mom with a bit of brass. Plus the boss probably wondered why those files looked so much better.

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  2. Little devils. The acorn didn't fall too far did it?

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  3. Wonder where they got the chutzpah?

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  4. You have a daughter named Shelly? You know I love that name. Sweet sweet story and smart girls Jo.

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  5. What a wonderful story, Joanne.

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  6. Great story - I thought you were in trouble for child labor laws. I often forget to include my own child labor when I think of how long I've worked. Nothing too tough but some occasional sweat.

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  7. Shows gumption. Both you and your offspring. Hope you got a raise too.

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  8. Sounds like chutzpah runs in the family if your daughters asked the boss for a raise! Cute story ;-)

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  9. Wonderful story, necessity is the mother of invention. I expect your daughters never forgot how to ask the boss for a raise.

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  10. We ladies do what we have to do to get things done. You taught your children to do a job well and your boss taught them the rewards they can achieve. Good life lessons.

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  11. What a wonderful story. Thank you. I love your courage, and the cleverness of your girls.

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  12. Oh my gosh! What an incredible, beautiful story! You are truly amazing, Joanne. Your girls were lucky to have such a brilliant, organized mother who could give them a good life.

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  13. The girls of our generation were really sold a "bill of goods" when it came to expectations of happily ever after. We were supposed to find a nice guy, settle down and stay home to raise kids while he supported us. Our upbringing did not prepare us for the harsh reality. We had to struggle to make our way and reinvent ourselves. I applaud the successful outcome to your journey! Well done!

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  14. Good for you, and good for them! Thank you for this.

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  15. You taught your daughters well! And what a great boss!

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  16. i can see this story playing out in my mind--lovely :)

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  17. This is an endearing story worthy of sharing to everyone. I am glad Miss Joanne that you went through those years alone. You are a smart lady and being a single mom is a huge task.

    Thank you for making me smile today. Your story is uplifting! :)

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  18. Smart girls to get a raise, clearly their work was valued. At more than 25 cents per hour too.

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  19. Paying children for work is a good lesson to learn, many children nowadays are given so much and learn so little. And a credit to you too for moving forward with grace.

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  20. This is such a lovely story. I can see where your girls got their resourcefulness from, how lucky they are to have such an amazing Mother to look up to!

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  21. I like their grit. See where they get it, too.

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