When I graduated college, there were no jobs to be had. Things seemed as bleak as they are now. My mother suggested I major in accounting, that’s what she would have done, but business was not for me. I started out majoring in math, but was soon in over my head, so I switched to psychology without giving it much thought. I didn’t consider that in the field of psychology you need a Master’s Degree or Ph. D to enter the field. So, I applied for entry level jobs of any kind.
Now back in 1976, before computers and printers were household items, you had the old typewriter. Mine was an old, heavy, secondhand Remington. With that machine, I typed 100 resumes and 100 cover letters and 100 envelopes and sent them out everywhere. I checked the want ads daily and clipped out those that seemed fitting. I got two answers for all my trouble. The first one was from BAltman in Manhattan. It’s a store similar to Macy’s with eight floors. They were considering me for an assistant buyer. I didn’t know anything at all about fashion. This was my first interview and I was extremely shy. And though I dressed “business-like” for the meeting, I am sure I was totally not right for the job. And I didn’t get it either.
The second response came from a local Savings Bank looking for college students to fast track in the company. The call to set up the appointment came when I wasn’t home, so my mother took it. The woman introduces herself as being from the Green Point Saving Bank and asks for me. My mother apologizes and tells her I’m not home, can she take a message. The woman leaves her name and number. I call her and arrange for my second interview.
This place is not as “classy” as the last and the pay is very low, but it’s a job. The last place I wanted to work was a bank and the last job I wanted was a bank teller, but I had loans to pay and it wasn’t exactly like my phone was ringing off the hook with offers. I am a little more relaxed and yet still shy. The next thing I know, she is asking me when I would like to start. I had gotten the job! A weight was lifted off me…and then it dropped back on top of me. The interviewer started laughing and I had no idea why. Then she tells me when she called me about the job, my mother answered the phone and they had a little one sided conversation. After my mother took the information she could not resist the urge to give the woman my first personal reference on the phone. This is the gist of what she said, as I remember it. “Please hire my daughter. She is a very smart girl. She is a hard worker, reliable and honest. And, if you hire her I promise you won’t regret it.” The woman, still laughing, says she thought it was funny because it’s something her own mother would have done…only thing is mine actually did it.
I go back home and my mother is anxiously waiting to hear what happened during the interview. I told her I got the job. She was happy for me. Then I reminded her of what she said when the woman called, not that she forgot. She answers, “Well it’s all true isn’t it?” and I’m sure she was pleased with herself for “helping” me land my first real job…which ended up being my only job. I left 11 years later for maternity leave and never went back.