I went to do a little shopping at the fruit and vegetable open market in Huddersfield today as I refuse to buy the tasteless and expensive (and pre-packed) items from the supermarkets.
Tuesday is a kind of “get rid of your junk day” with stalls selling everything from guitars, model trains, heavy machinery, clothing, stamps / coins to household items that no sane person would give house room to, let alone buy them.
But it is staggering just what people will buy (no accounting for taste I guess) and I am sure that the collectors who visit the market very occasionally unearth some very valuable item being sold for a pittance.
I was rooting through some books on one stall when I came across a very old business book entitled “How To Be Personally Efficient” (87 Plans and Short Cuts Used and Proved at the Desks of 43 Managers). I opened the book to try and establish date of publication but there was none inside. I asked the seller of the book if he knew the date but unfortunately he didn’t.
I then bought the book for the significant asking price of £1.00 and took it home with me. Having now done some research on the internet it looks as though the book may have been published in the 1920s (my initial guess had been a bit later, possibly 1930s)
Of course every reference in the book is to men as managers and women in minor support roles and there is a wonderful paragraph in the section titled “Routine for the Desk-Man’s Assistant” which goes as follows:- “Every manager has an assistant, She may be a fifteen shillings a week clerk or a highly paid private secretary. In either case her desk system is just as important as that of her superior. For the assistant’s one all-absorbing duty is to take from the man she serves as much detail as possible. How much she will take and how well it is handled depends upon her system and judgment.”
I would hope that modern day business practices are far from what is described above and many organisations have made tremendous strides in terms of “equality of opportunity” (which is VERY DIFFERENT than saying everyone is equal) for women. However, there are some industries / sectors where access for women still seems to be an almost insurmountable barrier………..but the tide has changed and as Bob Dylan sang “The times they are a changing”