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Secretaries ‘Swimming in the Steno Pool’


Hour 2

How did women enter the white-collar workplace? As secretaries and receptionists, mostly and at first. LYNN PERIL’s new book, Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Retro Guide to Making It in the Office, explores the history of secretaries, starting from the Civil War when men were scarce, continuing the wild-and-occasionally woolly days depicted in AMC’s “Mad Men,” and on to today. Peril, who’s a secretary herself, explores the advice books and training manuals of the ‘50s and ‘60s intended to prepare women for the secretarial life, replete as it is with sexism and unintentional humor. And we’ll explore whether the workplaces of the future will have a place for administrative assistants and secretaries, after almost a century of forecasts predicting technology overtaking their roles.

Listen to the mp3

[audio: 052711_110630.mp3]

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