Society has made some progress towards true equality in the workplace, but it still has a long ways to go. But if you look back at workplace equality throughout history, you’ll see that things were even more backward than they are today.
Here’s a 1940 training manual from the Radio Corporation of America. (RCA). During the early 1940’s, America was escalating its involvement in World War II, and one result was that women entered the workplace to take on jobs traditionally performed by men. And one result of that development was that male managers had literally no idea how to deal with their new female employees.
The training manual lays out several ways for a male manager to supervise a female employee. But actually, it says way, way more about the male manager than it ever could about the people he supervised. If male managers really needed this much help, it’s amazing we won the war at all.
Let’s take a jaunt through some old-school sexism, shall we?
In other words, “tell her what her job is.” Don’t just lock her in a lightless closet for eight hours a day. Really cuts down on her productivity.
These women want to do a man’s job and they can’t even show up on the first day already fully trained to do it?! Outrageous!
Don’t make her work in an office that’s constantly on fire. Don’t replace her coffee with battery acid. Don’t give her a desk that’s actually a bee hive. Got that, fellas?
So, micromanage her. But in a nice way.
And if you insist on horseplay, avoid the wrench that will definitely be flying towards your head.
Basic managerial skill.
I don’t agree with this advice. Withholding praise is the only way to make sure your employee constantly works for your approval. My father did it to me and look how well I turned out.
Again, basic managerial skill. If you need to be told this, you probably shouldn’t be put in charge of other people.
There are still two more pages of this!
Isn’t this the same as “Make clear her part in the process or product on which she works?” You know you’re in great shape when you’re not even ten tips in and you’re already repeating yourself.
“Education, work experience, and temperament” is code for “temperament.”
For example, if you hire her to be a lumberjack, do not ask her to chop down the tree with her teeth. A woman is not the same thing as a woodchuck.
These tips make more sense when you realize that in the 40’s, every manager reading this would have been absolutely hammered.
For example, your new female employee might have to leave work early on her unicycle to care for her sick husband, who’s actually a grandfather clock. As a manager, you have to account for that.
Is this a guide for a manager or for a summer camp counselor?
Alternatively, you could keep all this a secret for her to discover, like a fun gameshow where you might lose a hand.
Wait, they had weed dispensaries back then? The 40’s were way cooler than I thought.
Again, this is less “how to be a manager” and more “how to be a decent human being.” If you need to be told this, you shouldn’t be allowed to go outside.
OK, one page to go…
So, don’t force her to work nonstop ’til she dies. Basically, if it’s something you wouldn’t do to a horse, don’t do it to your employee.
Fifteen seconds, tops.
In the 1940’s, a typical “nourishing” lunch was a 60 oz steak with a side of mashed cigarettes.
“Thank god they told us about the clean water. I was gonna let them drink sewer water out of a dead dog’s mouth.”
But I thought women all went to the bathroom in their purses. Isn’t that why they carry them?
Oh you mean those work hazards are…hazardous?
It has to be an actual seat, fellas! Don’t just make her sit on a pile of broken radios.
I want to lie down.
If you need a music suggestion, might I recommend the song, “Me Banging My Head Against A Brick Wall ‘Til I Pass Out.”
h/t: Vintage Everyday