Women’s Work

Best Way in the World for a Woman to make money

The Best Way in the World for a Woman to Make Money

This is one of those relics from the 1970s giving women some career advice. This time it is for a sales career. The book’s general premise is that a sales career can give women a serious leg up financially,  and that women do better than their male counterparts. He asserts that women are more talented and intelligent that then men competing for the same jobs. Basically, the author believes that women are an untapped and overlooked resource. Women are supposedly more sociable, nurturing, and better suited to a people oriented career.

There is advice about presenting a more masculine resume. Supposedly, if you have a hobby like woodworking, it shows that you can comfortably deal with a man’s world. Typical of career books for women, there is advice about office decorum, dress, business lunch, etc.

Our author also devotes a whole chapter to sex. As you can see in the last scan, the author has some advice for the unwanted advances from men: treat it as a compliment. Women also have to be mindful of a man’s ego should you say no. You also need to make sure you are sending the right signals so he doesn’t escalate. Evidently you need to say no clearly, but nice enough so our poor man’s feelings won’t be crushed. The final piece of advice is to extricate yourself from the affair or relationship and don’t let it happen again. There is even a suggestion on writing an “apology” letter to the man who has suffered this rejection.  <eye roll>

Working for the “man” since 1972,


best way back cover

passage about working in a man's world

making a resume

Woman's work

children boyfriends and other problems

sex on the job


  1. Even back in the day, I never would have put my personal information (height, weight, marital status, health) on a resume! And wasn’t asking about marital status, etc. illegal by 1979?

    But I wish we could see how the story of Joan Dunne and the big black suitcase came out :-)!

    1. Resumes seem to go through eras where everyone decides something that the last era expected is stupid. Aren’t “objectives” on a resume a bad idea now? Somewhere along the line these personal details got weeded too, along with SSNs from the era before that.

      And p. 124 he does call them “illegal questions”, so yes.

      1. Flow – I think you are misreading. He’s referring to the previous section (about salaries), when he mentions “illegal questions.” As I recall, there was still a “Help Wanted, Female” want-ads section in the New York Times well into the 1980s.

        1. The way he mentions it in that section suggests to me that he is bringing it forward to the questions on marriage, children, and so forth. Your memory extends further than mine, so I accept that I may be incorrect.

    2. Health especially cracks me up. What was the point of that? Was anyone really going to put “Health: Fair?”

  2. Last blurb on the back is from the author of “Boss Lady”, featured previously with some really outrageous expressions “Korean bordello on fire”, “commit a nuisance on the rug”, “there may be a feminist or two around”, and others.

  3. What the heck do height, weight, and marital status have to do with the sales career potential of someone who’s got a BA and MA from Duke and an MBA from Columbia, plus work experience, all before 30? Just hire them now! Make them a vice president, geez!

    This book was moderately creepy even for 1979, which I guess is why Ms. Boss Lady liked it (I’m still wondering how she knew what a Korean bordello on fire looks like).

    @Omniviewer: So am I! Maybe Joan got a nice sleek shiny aluminum case instead. Or she went the other way and covered it with stickers so she looked like a band roadie. Or she got a roadie to tote it.

    1. I wanted to know too, so I searched on Book Google thinking they would let me peek at the next page. It didn’t even recognize the title! Then, when I put in the ISBN number from WorldCat, I got… a page of YA books about the Holocaust. Eeek.

      1. Yikes — guess it was not a big seller. Wonder if that had anything to do with the title — because Sales was not what first came to my mind when I saw it!

      2. Evidently this wasn’t suitable to be digitized for the ages. Good call, Google.

        I thought ISBNs weren’t reused but I guess not. YA Holocaust books are a better use of shelf space.

        1. Those were I think Google wanting to show something other than 1 Amazon/AbeBooks link. Their algorithm just picked an odd choice of filler for that search.

  4. Ha! Advice on careers for women…from a man. And a Karen.
    I’m laughing so hard I can’t stand it!

    1. I guess this is for the Karen who aspires to BE the manager, not just talk to one. So much more efficient for Karen-ing.

      (My most recent dealings with a Karen: she was next to me at the pharmacy getting diabetes supplies and huffed loudly that there weren’t little alcohol wipes in the bag as prescribed. The clerk showed amazing patience in saying “We’re out. I don’t know when we’ll have them again. They’re hard to come by these days. You know, with the VIRUS.” In a tone of voice that was far too polite.)

  5. What they need is a book for men supervisors saying KEEP YOUR DAMN FILTHY HANDS TO YOURSELF !

  6. I just noticed — the cover touts $25,000 a year as if that is a big deal! Well, even back in 1979, it was not.

    1. $25K was pretty good money — that’s $88K at today’s rates, which certainly isn’t sports-car-and-second-home money but a comfortable living for one or two people most places. Plus it says you can move up from there. $25k was a really good starting salary back then — except it seems way too low for the resume on pg. 100!

      It’s undoubtedly more than secretaries made back then, or other “women’s work”.

    2. Actually, $25,000 in 1979 is $94,894.39 in 2020. I think that’s a pretty big deal!

    3. Maybe it is assumed that The Man of the House would be making a Regular Manly Salary and this was so much pin money? Weren’t single women still not talked about at this time?

  7. I also forgot to mention that 5’5 and 112 pounds is underweight. I am 5’5 and my supervisor called me into her office one day to ask me if I was sick – which I was not. Everyone thought I was too thin – and I weighed 135 at the time!

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