Circa 1980. . .something. Cue the eighties big hair and bedroom pumps, throw on a leopard dress and a smile, in walks me. I’m on another interview for a temp job. The position would be to fill in for an executive secretary while she takes maternity leave. She has 3 or 4 ‘senior’ executives that she caters to. I only had to meet one.
I’m greeted by what I would consider (at the time) to be an older, more distinguished handsome man (he was 37). I guess I should tell you that I’m about 20 so anything over 25 was ‘older’. Wearing classic 80’s attire, black leather pumps with a leopard design around the heel that put me at about 5’8 maybe even 9 (when you factor in the hair height), I follow him through a maze of people and partitions. The interview is on and he starts rambling about word processing; I start spinning. Not sure how he missed the glazed over deer in headlights look on my face. Out of my element but looking fabulous what else could I do but play up the charm. We’ve all been there so don’t judge, have you ever gotten out of a ticket in your life, then you know what I’m talking about. Plus charm I was good at, I had that down – typing, filing, answering phones (other than my own), not so much.
It didn’t even take until the end of the day when I got the call. Job was mine, I start Monday. Happy dance! Woohoo! I would be making $365/week – that’s a lot of shoes!
So I show up Monday morning – being punctual was never really my thing, especially on a Monday. So I’m late, my first day, as a temp – you with me? I was wearing a red mini dress, black stockings and 4″ patent leather pumps (this is important). Prego is a total flake, worse than me but I guess she knew some stuff (office stuff – I don’t know). I’m in a ‘cubicle’ outside the offices of the ‘executives’ – whatever! I am bored out of my freakin’ mind and decide this sucks, time for a bitch session and weekend recap with my girlfriends. Five minutes into the conversation (cue the girly giggly chatter) and great, now there’s someone standing at my desk – I think they want to say something to me but I’m on the phone so. . .
Day two, I show up and am apparently flying solo (some pre-term labor issue with the prego) Fantastic! What is it I’m supposed to do again?? (By the way, I was wearing a long flowy skirt with sling back pumps.) I was a mess, when it came to doing any actual work – but I looked marvelous (geez I feel like that gum commercial)! Different day, new shoes; the days rolled into weeks and months and by some miracle I was still employed.
With very detailed instructions from OCD Joe, I learned how to format a letter properly and get the Wang thang to print it out. I can’t remember who shook their head more, me because really another friggin’ correction or him because really another friggin’ correction! We were perfect together! I spent a lot of time walking back and forth into his office – hmmmm. Seriously I had no skills and he was basically teaching me how to be a secretary. (Which by the way I had decided I did NOT want to be!). He made up his own filing system, clearly the big heap on the end of my desk wasn’t really working for him. He did his own expense reports, I made the copies. He mostly wrote his own letters on a sheet of lined white paper and I would just type and print them out – I didn’t know how to take long or short hand. By this time he had hired me full time as his personal secretary because I was so incredibly reliable and efficient. Right! I had already earned the pet name ‘psycho bitch from hell’ and had the t-shirt to prove it in case anyone was confused. Among others I was also referred to as ‘subtle as a sledgehammer’ and my favorite ‘killer’. I drove this man completely insane so why for the love of God did he hire me.
And there it was, the answer my friend came blowing in the wind when I worked one Saturday, it was just me and Mister OCD. I actually worked one Saturday every month and it always seemed to be the same Saturday that I had my period so I was extra miserable, psycho and bitchy. But this Saturday, I call Joe and say ‘I’m not coming – surprised?’ It was only two hours passed the time I should have been there anyway. ‘What you have a flat tire, I’ll come pick you up’. Lucky freakin’ me! Because I didn’t tell him that I had cramps or was sporting a hangover because I knew that wouldn’t score me any points, I lied and said flat tire – like Prince friggin’ Charming he was on his way.
I’m still wondering if I hadn’t shown up, if he hadn’t picked me up how this would have ever come up. On the elevator he asks me if I knew why he had hired me. Completely dumbfounded myself over why he ever did and kind of caught off guard I’m thinking oh shit, is he going to fire me! I say ‘Nope’, and he says simply, ‘It was the shoes’.
Now I can go on and tell you the stuff I’m not so proud of that may or may not have happened in the span of a year and half between me and Mister OCD but why go there. The point is I have always said this and still do to this day, it is actually something I learned from my mother. . . It is all about the shoes!
They can make you or break you!