Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Penny Pinching Publishers
After I graduated from college, I got a job as an advertising/production assistant for a small financial magazine. I worked with a wonderful group of people, and was especially fond of my boss. She was incredibly patient, and always had my back. The production manager taught me so much including how to use a computer, but her greatest lesson was about friendship. She always made time to have lunch with me, and I treasured our lunches together.
Unfortunately, the magazine was sold to a large publishing house a few years later, and everything went downhill from there. I went from a cubicle to an office with a door which was nice, but everything else was like going back in time. There were over fifty different trade magazines, and there wasn't a computer in sight. Though they felt the need to employ secretaries who typed on typewriters, I got reprimanded for using stamps. Because we were now located in the heart of the city, I was required to personally deliver media kits on foot weather permitting.
My position had changed to sales representative, and my new employer operated under a whole new set of rules. Once I ran into a problem when I took a local client out to lunch. She suggested an expensive restaurant, and ordered a three course meal plus drinks and dessert. I ordered a small chicken dish, and a coke. I almost fell off my chair when the ninety dollar bill came. That would be equivalent to about two hundred dollars today. Later my helpful co-worker suggested that I submit a bill for three people instead of two. Fortunately, his advice paid off.
The production department was in another state, and there were rumors that the employees were instructed to cut each piece of scotch tape into quarters every time they used it. There wasn't any area too small to cut corners on.
Before there was caller ID, all of their offices had a special system to check how many calls the sales reps were making.They couldn't detect who the calls were going out to, only the quantity of calls per person. This worked well for me, as I was busy planning my wedding and was constantly on the phone. One day the sales manager swung open my door and asked if I was talking business or pleasure. Without hesitating I told him it was a business call, and he was off to torment the next person.
Since I always got my work done and my sales were up, it enabled me to have extra time for breaks. I'll never forget when my dear friend down the hall came through for me. When I picked up the phone she announced, "This is your three o'clock wake up call. The boss is heading toward your office." This gave me just enough time to look alert before he barged in again.
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We learn to really appreciate our positive experiences with certain things, such as work, when we have some less-than-positive experiences.ReplyDelete
It was a pleasure to read about your early work experiences, especially the cost cutting efforts. My workplace today has computers for everyone, but the things you talk about in your mail, the boss watching people with a hawk-like eye etc continue.ReplyDelete
Just a suggestion. Could you change the colour of the font? The background makes it difficult to read. I had to highlight the entire text.
Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar at Cynthology
Cost cutting...shudder....usually the first cost they cut is employees.ReplyDelete
Early days at work: so few computer & national phone line so limited. Today you can broadcast every meeting if so desired. I wonder how communication budget can be pinched these days - I know many offices do not allow access to facebook.ReplyDelete
Other people's early experiences are important to writers starting out, Thank you for writing yours, I'm sure it will help many.ReplyDelete
Oh, this sounds like torture...so sorry!ReplyDelete
I do think your great start taught you a lot and coping is what we have to do at many jobs!
Oh, this would work so well in your writing!
Thank you for sharing!
We are back in those cost cutting times~
The only thing worse than a penny pincher is a micro-manager! Jobs like that can make people do things they would never have thought of before!ReplyDelete
Happy P day!
This sounds like such a terrible place to work. But I had to laugh at your co-worker's warning system!ReplyDelete
It sounds like looking back it might have been not so bad! I get it wasn't all to fun at the time however :OReplyDelete
Your co-worker sounds like a great person. How lucky to have him or her in your corner with the right advice or warning when you needed it.ReplyDelete
I kept thinking, "Ah, the good old days! " Back when bosses controlled our lives.
They would have loved Sheryl Crow using only one square of toilet paper to wipe ;)ReplyDelete
Cynthia - It really did make me appreciate how great things were before.ReplyDelete
Cynthia RM - I guess it still does continue in many places. Sorry you had a problem. Since the center is white with black font, I didn't think it was hard to read. I'll see what I can do later.
Delores - That's why I couldn't believe they held on to this secretarial pool from the 50's, when we all had time to write our own letters on the computer. Good secretaries are hard to find, but our positions really didn't require them.
Alternative Foods - I'm sure they find ways. It is amazing how much technology has advanced.
Yvonne - Hopefully, some people will be able to relate to this. Thanks Yvonne!
Ella - It was more ridiculous than anything else. It is important to develop good coping mechanisms. Thanks Ella!
Great points Ornery!
Julie - We still found ways to make it fun. She really was a huge help. Thanks Julie!
Jen - It would've been unbearable if I didn't have a few friends to laugh with.
haha. I love how helpful your friend is for giving you that 3pm wake up call :)ReplyDelete
It wasn't a daily event, but it did come in handy once in a while! Thanks Nutschell!Delete
Lee - I was lucky to have her in my corner! It was amazing how successful he was considering how much time he wasted trying to control the wrong things.ReplyDelete
Lynn - Fortunately, it was a huge restroom shared by several different offices. Otherwise, we probably would've had to bring our own toilet paper! "Could you spare a square?" Great one Lynn!
Now you are reminding me of my early days of working in an office. Boy, have we come a long way or what. You were fortunate to have such a wonderful co-worker.ReplyDelete
I've learned how to be quite the penny-pincher myself these last few years. Even though my wallets a little fuller these days, I think I'll always retain these as I've discovered I don't need to spend a lot to be happy.ReplyDelete
Does not sound like a fun place to work though. I couldn't stand a boss looking over my shoulder all the time.ReplyDelete
I can imagine, with the economy still sputtering as it is, that a lot of companies are employing these same pennypinching tactics. But does anyone think to cut the CEO's bonus to save money? Hmmm.....ReplyDelete
I love that wake-up call! Our boss used to love coming by every day at 10 am and 1 pm to offer any advice (i.e., "Check up on us"). We called those the morning and afternoon "drive bys."ReplyDelete
Mary - She also introduced me to another friend, and they both helped keep me sane.ReplyDelete
Nancy - Do you also deliver all of your mail on foot? It's great to find ways to save money, but they were quite extreme.
Alex - He loved his sneak attacks!
Luanne - Great point! I'm sure that never crossed their minds.
Al - So you always knew to put on your pants at least twice a day!
I love how planning your wedding helped your stats. ;)ReplyDelete
Love the 3 pm call to warn about the boss coming!ReplyDelete
Kimberly - It was mutually beneficial!ReplyDelete
Susan - It was an ingenious system!
Hi Julie - fun post .. and we've all been there .. I hope you've remained friends .. cheers HilaryReplyDelete
What a good friend!ReplyDelete
Hi, Julie. What an interesting post. Stressful place to work.ReplyDelete
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