Mad Woman

It was 1960. I was so fortunate to answer an ad for a summer job as “girl Friday” at a national advertising agency in Cleveland and, a day later, advised that I had the job! As an English major, I always thought that a career in advertising might be more interesting than teaching English.

I was soon filling in for the switchboard operator, assisting the production manager and running errands. Within a few weeks, I was “given” an account...to work with a local hospital with their public relations. Within the next few weeks, I had three hospital accounts, a national coal company account, and then the biggie...Murray Bicycles. It was fast.

I was too young to have a “drink” when I took my clients out for lunch. It was fascinating. The day that they gave me my own private office was fantastic! I worked alongside the other ad executives (all men) who were surprised that I was doing so well.

The president of the company called me into his office and asked if I would like the job permanently, telling me that it was quite an honor for me to go from “girl Friday” to girl executive.

And I agreed. It was not usual, I was flattered. Leave college? I said “yes!”

Several account executives took me out to lunch. One of them asked me what my salary would be. I told them that the boss said my salary would be considered in six months or so, and that I was still being paid as a “girl Friday.” I told them what my salary was. “We get about ‘blank’ a month,” some of them said. “Oh, I said.” It was more than triple my salary.

The next day I made an appointment with the boss and asked for the raise. He gave me a long lecture on how pleased I should be for just being allowed to be there. No raise. And more accounts would be added. And the production head was quitting, and I would do that, too.

The next day, I gave him two weeks’ notice.

So now the reader knows why I did not watch the series Mad Men. It was all too real. I returned to college and became an English teacher.

Editor's Picks