It was acceptable in the '80s... Come and reminisce about your first job.

(188 Posts)

I left uni in 1987, and worked in an office. We had a telex machine which was a complete bastard to operate, and although we had computers, most correspondence was done on electric typewriters. In about 1988 or 1989, we got our first fax machine (with a roll of thermal paper) and then in the early '90s we got an internal email system which we all thought was amazing.

My manager was the first person I knew to get a mobile - a huge brick that plugged into the cigarette lighter in the car, and could, I think, only be used in the car.

But what seems most amazing now was the fact that we all smoked at our desks, and we had company ashtrays. Our MD had a box of cigarettes on his desk that he'd hand round at meetings. It seems unbelievable that this was the 1980s and not the 1940s.

We also used to do a lot of business lunches, and we'd often stay in the pub for the rest of the afternoon.

Changed days.

EnjoyResponsibly Wed 16-May-12 18:54:07

I worked for Lloyds Bank in 87.

You got paid more if you had A levels.

Smoked in the back room.

Didn't open til 9.30 and closed at 3.30, home dead on 5.

We called the manager Mr X.

We had a messenger that brought tea twice a day.

If a customer cashed a cheque we had to check their balance on a print out generated at previous days close of business, and their signature against a huge drawer of index cards.

Those horrible ring binding things are still around, I have to use one occasionally. My mum had an IBM golfball typewriter, before that one of those ones with the long metal keys that jammed all the time. Tippex on little sheets of paper that you put agains the paper and typed over.

The standards were high in Bejam though, very strict uniform code, no eating, drinking or chewing at the till, no cash on your person, no wearing your uniform outside the shop. I tut (mentally) at shop assistants who can't work it out if I offer them the right change after they have rung my ten pound note up on the till.

Horsetowater Wed 16-May-12 18:57:40

I used to stitch legal documents with a needle and cord. Do they still do that?

Oh and those credit card machines that you had to run backwards and forward over carbon paper slips.

Horsetowater Wed 16-May-12 19:00:02

Bejam! What happened to them? They were an alterntive Iceland?

AreWeHavingFunYet Wed 16-May-12 19:02:06

And people used to talk about the paperless office of the future and when companies bought in new computers people said they wouldn't need to be upgraded for decades as they had such fast processors...

MistyRocks Wed 16-May-12 19:03:20

i was a child in the 80's too. got my first proper job in 2000, but it still amazes me looking back that there was a smoking room in the office shock

and the computers didn;t all have the internet, there was only one or 2 in the office that had internet.

and we still used faxes.

Horsetowater Wed 16-May-12 19:03:34

I remember working on Amstrads for a while. I could debate endlessly the advantages of Wordperfect over Word 5.5. I was a geek before they even existed.

Horsetowater Wed 16-May-12 19:04:55

I remember not wanting to eat lunch at my desk because it was too smoky and there were ashtrays everywhere. shock

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 16-May-12 19:05:20

My first job was in a bank branch in the City of London in 1988.

I remember my first task everyday was to help sort all of the cheques that our customers had written and paid to people into alphabetical order. There were thousands of them

We had a dragon of a supervisor who hated me and the feeling was mutual ( she seemed ancient to me but she was only 23!)

All senior staff were known as Mr this or Mrs that.

I hated the fact that everyone smoked , even the cashiers serving the customers.

In those days banks in the city closed at 3pm and we would be sent out to buy cream cakes for everyone and then doss around until 5pm when everyone left on the dot!

Things had changed a lot by the time I gave up my banking career 20 years later.

MrsEricBana Wed 16-May-12 19:06:36

Oh yes, very first job (1986) - electric typewriters, accountant did everything on a huge calculator, receptionist brought round tray of tea regularly, prayer meetings in the conference room, no smoking but only because the boss had stopped and didn't want anyone else to smoke, paypacket, no computers at all, binding machine, carbon paper!

MrsEricBana Wed 16-May-12 19:08:04

More shocking was that my school had 2 common rooms for sixth formers - smoking and non-smoking shock

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 16-May-12 19:08:17

Enjoy - I was at Lloyds too!

QueenofPlaids Wed 16-May-12 19:08:36

I was too young to work in the 80s but my mother was a schoolteacher. I remember her staff room being absolutely thick with smoke (which escaped into the corridor around it) and that whole area of the school reeking of stale coffee. Don't know how the (very few) non-smoking teachers could stand it - yuk!

Horsetowater Wed 16-May-12 19:08:39

I remember the MD going on a business course and coming back with fancy ideas, making the tealady give a presentation about her job, and how proud she was of it. Loads of self-affirmation nonsense going on, and the early days of 'team-building'.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 16-May-12 19:10:11

We had a smoking room in the hospital until the smoking ban came in which was only about 5 or 6 years ago!

It was opposite the canteen and there used to be clouds of smoke billowing down the corridor.

Smoke billowed out of the staffroom door at my school every time it opened.

Bejam were around before Iceland and taken over by them years ago.

Horsetowater Wed 16-May-12 19:12:20

I remember green screen, orange screen and then suddenly it was wysiwyg (but only if you pressed F6)

VivaLeBeaver Wed 16-May-12 19:13:12

And when I was 17 I had a job in a builder's merchants where every sale (both trade and non trade) used to have an A4 carbon copy recipt. The top copy would be given to the customer and the bottom copy would be filed.

My job would be to file the recipts in numerical order - they had something like a 10 digit number in the top corner. I would spend all day filing bits of paper. Fuck knows why they had to be filed but there was a room the size of 5 tennis courts full of filing cabinets and a team of filers.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 16-May-12 19:14:08

Sometimes I was allowed to help out in the Sales dept and had to add up accounts using a calculator which printed paper out the top of it.

Mirage Wed 16-May-12 19:14:50

I was on the YTS in 1985.I'd actually got a 'proper' job,but the wages were so low and my bus fares so high,that I was better off doing the same job on the YTS on the princely sum of £27.30 a week.I worked in an independent fashion shop and we used to pass the time by wearing the clothes and jewellery [jade green jumpsuits and oversized silky shirts anyone?] I used to take the days takings to the nightsafe at Lloyds bank every night on my way through town.

When the shop closed down,I went to Richard Shops,and then Lewises after that.Lewises was great,I learnt more maths there calculating my staff discount in my head than I ever did at school.We also had those vacumn tubes to send money up to the cash office from the shop floor-you'd put cash & till printouts into a little canister and it would whoosh up the tube.I loved working there and was gutted when it closed down years after I'd left.I can still remember my staff number,400739.

My company was very keen on self improvement and we jumped on every quality bandwagon going, we had Quality Circles, Just in Time, Statistical Process Control, Deming, you name it.

Horsetowater Wed 16-May-12 19:17:13

Deming? sounds scary.

LaFataTurchina Wed 16-May-12 19:18:34

I remember my mum showing me round her office as a small child - so 1990 I guess. She was in an office with 3 typewriters and 1 pc. No one wanted to touch the pc and they all type-wrote instead.

LaFataTurchina Wed 16-May-12 19:18:54

*type-wrote? WTF? Typed!

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