Sexual harassment on the job cover

Lady Problems at the Office

Sexual Harassment on the Job
How to avoid the working woman’s nightmare
Backhouse and Cohen
1980 (originally published in Canada in 1978)

This was still in active circulation as of this writing.

When this was published, there wasn’t much talk on sexual harassment. It was mostly treated as a joke. I remember several dudes back in the 1980s constantly saying “we need more sexual harassment around here”. (Hilarious) There weren’t a lot of protections or policies in place. It’s still a decade before Anita Hill’s testimony.

The advice is lukewarm. Since there is no mechanism to report or enforce policies, anyone that complains is probably fired or harassed until they quit. This book does talk about the range of behaviors, but without the legal definitions, laws or policies, women didn’t have a lot of options. The general advice amounts to saying you have a boyfriend/husband, avoid being alone, and ignoring the overtures.

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Women Do Business

Workbook for a Woman’s Guide to Business and Social Success: A Personal Analysis Record
1983

Submitter: We found this workbook still sitting on the shelf, long after the actual textbook was weeded, 15 years ago! The work book is filled with the classic tropes of the era. Ladies need to be thin, pretty and submissive to make it in the working world. An ‘interesting’ glimpse into the past.

Holly: This. Is. Awful. Sections like “My Cosmetics and How I Will Apply Them,” “My Hair Care and Coiffure Arrangement Analysis,” and “Developing and Attractive Voice” make me want to vomit.

Fast Food Careers cover

Fast Food Careers

Opportunities in Fast Food Careers
Eberts and Gisler
1989

Submitter: I work in an academic library and this “career advice” book was still hanging out on the shelves in mid-2022. I was really surprised to see that there was an entire book dedicated to this topic. There are some chapters about the history of the fast food industry and what franchising entails but the majority of the book is dedicated to becoming the best possible customer servant you can be and climbing the ladder to middle management. The authors dedicate an entire chapter to the necessary educational credentials which is probably one chapter more than what is necessary. Check out the vintage photos!

Holly: High school courses in math, science, business, and computer science are helpful in just about any career, but and the idea that “Most home economics departments are now open to boys as well as girls…” (p.88) is beyond ridiculous in this day and age. It was in 1989 too, actually. The computer science examples miss the point of computerized fast food processes in this day and age, where every fast food restaurant has an app and point of sales systems are pretty complex. And yes, submitter is right that the photos are “vintage.” I’ll tell you one thing: anyone with fast food experience on their resume is worth a look in library service. They may be great at customer service, multitasking, and team work.

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Apply Within

100 Best Careers for the 21st Century: 2nd Edition
Field
1999

Submitter: I found this book while weeding my high school library’s non-fiction section. It was published in 1999, and may have been correct at one point, but now all the information is outdated, from the earnings to the tips on how to get the job. I will give it credit in the technology section. They say that it is growing so fast that it’s good to keep as up to date as possible with information in that field, however it seems they didn’t predict how prevalent the internet was going to be.

Holly: Submitter chose the perfect two careers to include (images below): travel agent and print reporter. Those jobs have changed drastically in the last two years, let alone the last two decades.

working women cover

Unworkable Lives

Working Women, Workable Lives
Linamen and Holland
1993

This is another of those books that attempts to help women solve their problems with juggling home and family obligations against those of one’s career. I should make these books their own special category. Check out a couple of examples here, here, here, and here.) They all have suggestions like:

  • Stay more organized
  • Take time for yourself
  • Hire a babysitter
  • Talk to your husband
  • Meditate

I feel like I read most of the ones published between 1989-1995 when I was trying to to get a handle on my life. None of these books have any real solutions. Even the privileged mother with lots of cash, supportive family, and a staff would find these suggestions ridiculous. The reality is that none of these books go after the real problems or working women. You know, those pesky problems like wage inequality, lack of childcare, sexism, racism, worker exploitation, poor management, etc. You know, the problems that plague 99% of working families.

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Behaving at the Office

Uncivil Wars
Men, Women, and Office Etiquette in the 90s
Patrick
1994

This is another of the million books published about how to get along at the office and succeed. As women entered the workforce, issues of “new” office etiquette were being discussed. Discussions targeted at both men and women centered on catering to their supposed needs. For example, women being coached to get along with the boys world of work, how to dress, and level up in management. Men were told to not “make a pass” and be polite to the ladies.

babysitting cover

Babysitting Basics

Babysitting
Dayee
1990

I’m going to have to award this book “most boring cover art.” Seriously, this book design looks like they had some bad wallpaper laying around and someone said, “Hey, put that on a book, the teens will love it.”

Cover “art” not withstanding, the content isn’t too bad. The book is written in scenarios, followed by a brief discussion. There is also a business-like theme so kids think about this professionally, including interviewing. The general advice is okay, but the technology available these days (cell phones, nanny cams, etc.) definitely needs to be discussed for 21st century babysitters.

home office book cover

Home Office Advice

The Home Office Book
Alvarez
1990

Time to get your home office in shape. This book is pretty comprehensive. All the those important decisions on furniture, equipment, and design are helpfully analyzed for convenience.

  • What version of DOS do you need?
  • IBM Clone or the real IBM?
  • Lotus 1-2-3 or VisiCalc?
  • America Online or Prodigy?
  • Cordless phone or phone with a cord?

Of course you should also consider driving or walking to the post office because this book is still a few years from widespread home use of the Internet. Maybe you want to consider getting a fax machine?

I did get a kick out the bygone days of the early 1990s. Clunky computers, dot matrix printers and so many floppy disks are quite a contrast to the technology of today. COVID makes home offices kind of important, so maybe a more up to date book on home offices is required.