Labor day reminds me of my career path that began in the age BEFORE Aquarius in the early sixties.
Constraints of the previous decade controlled women. The expectation that women were to achieve perfection as homemakers, mothers, and nurturers ruled. The bias of divorce fell on the woman. A hint of taint surfaced as though you were a failure at being a diligent homemaker and obedient wife.
Divorced women with young children and no recent work experience had limited career options. There were few female hiring managers and you couldn’t count on them for support. Their focus was on surviving in a male-dominated workplace. Men made more money, enjoyed more benefits, and less accountability.
Women had the vote, but you’d hardly know it from questions posed by male interviewers.
“Do you plan to remarry?” Any appropriate response was lost to me. I was trapped like a common criminal, but before I could respond, the interviewer answered for me, “You will marry again someday. Should we decide to hire you, we’d have to replace and retrain your position.”
The prevailing concept was that divorced women with children were not focused employees. They were marking time, waiting for a man to come along and rescue them. Divorced men escaped the scrutiny pressed on divorced women. They could claim to be a “family man” even if they did not live in the same household.
“What will we do when your children are sick?” You had to be quick with at least three backup providers, including names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Divorced women bore the label of damaged goods. Often there was a veiled reference to your social life, dating, and sex. Most divorced women with children did not have the energy or lingerie to pursue either. It required finesse to convey the message you did not plan to date or have sex until well after retirement.
It was difficult to interview for a job with your dignity and anger intact. Men were breadwinners and heads of household. Women were….just women.
No woman who worked in the sixties would want to return to those conditions.
Don’t believe it couldn’t happen again? Two years ago I would have agreed, but then two years ago I couldn’t have envisioned ever having DJT as President.
I made a career out of survival jobs. I’ve had more bad jobs than a hooker. I’ve met more weird people in the workplace than a hooker.
And, if you’re interested you can read about some of them here.