A news item advised women not to wear their engagement ring to the interview if they wanted to be considered serious job candidates.
This sounds like career advice women received in the sixties.
Divorced, with children and no recent work experience, was not a good place to be in the sixties. There were few female hiring managers and you couldn’t count on them for support. Their status had been hard won and few would risk it for any reason.
Women had the vote, but you’d hardly know it from questions posed by male interviewers. “Do you plan to re-marry?” “Not unless hell freezes over” or “Are you out of your freaking mind?” did not come across as politically correct responses. The other version of this job interview landmine was “You will re-marry someday. Should we decide to hire you, we’d have to replace and re-train your position”.
An engagement ring was the least of my problems.
In the sixties, divorce carried a stigma that fell for the most part on women. During an interview, it was difficult to refrain from stating if it were not for my children, I would have raced to a nunnery; but as I was damaged goods, placement in a religious institution was not an option. I was not asking to become indentured, just the opportunity to make a decent living.
“What will we do when your children are sick?” Assuring a prospective employer that you had arranged for care for your children was next to impossible.
After swearing to never date or have sex until well past retirement, you might have a chance at getting a job that paid less than a man performing the same duties. After all, men were the head of the household.
I remarried and moved to a larger city. There was not much difference in attitudes. Metropolitan interviewers were more brazen. They did not hesitate to ask how long you had been married. A truthful response brought a different twist on the same old tired line. One male interviewer solicitously stated, “You will want to mesh your new union with a child.” Using his superior visionary abilities, he had determined in a ten-minute interview my family planning objectives.
No woman of today would want to revisit the restrictions of the sixties. For younger women, who might not be aware of how their current rights evolved, some research is in order.
Hiding an engagement ring is a step in the wrong direction.
Categories: Biased, Unbalanced and Politically Incorrect
I am a lifelong Southerner, short story author, and essayist. Home is Dallas, Texas.
My essays have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Writing.