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Mumsnet classics

For those of you who worked in an office in 1960's - 1980's

332 replies

Choccyhobnob · 14/09/2017 11:28

The childhood memories thread reminded me of something I have wondered for years!

I work in an office and have done for the last 12 years. I have never known a time before emails and photocopiers.

My question is this - what did you actually do? I just can't imagine how office life worked back then and I'm really interested!

Thank you for indulging my perhaps naïve questions!

OP posts:
dontgiveahoot · 10/02/2022 17:59

In 1980 I worked at the head office of a building society during the summer holidays. This was in the days before electronic bank transfers, and one of my tasks was to type up cheques to merchant banks that would be deposited overnight. I would have to type out a cheque for £6,000,000 and take it up to the fifth floor for two of the top executives to check and sign. This was when I was earning about £50 a week!
It really was another world. Computers were just beginning to be a thing, no emails, a typing pool, much more use of phones.

Bettyswoo · 04/03/2022 07:21

I remember those wonderful days when I could do my actual work and people could only contact me one at a time, via phone. Glorious.

MistySkiesAfterRain · 07/04/2022 19:48

I worked in pensions in the 00s. I remember we would get hand written letters asking how annuity their pension would buy. We would then have to go and look up the pension on microfiche records and I would write and tell them. The answer always seemed to be around £3,600 a year.

Youhaveyourhandsfull · 02/06/2022 22:54

Late 80s early 90s started in banking…. My entire job seemed to be answering phone and had a huge pile of faxes (bank statements) I had to send every day. More on random days (first, 15th, last) as that was the only way clients could do bank reconciliations. I can still remember most of the account numbers for these clients as I had to input manually into our system every day to pull the statements.
Also we were allowed to smoke (obviously) which I admit I bloody loved at the time. Later being forced to go outside for a fag probably encouraged me to smoke more as it was all time away from our desks! Looking back so many jobs were just work for works sake, but somehow the economy kept turning!

Snog · 08/07/2022 09:42

Late 1980s. First job at a county council, low level HR role.

So much drinking!!!!! Every time there was a meeting at lunchtime there would be red and white wine on offer along with the usual soft drinks and buffet. Frequently we would go to the pub at lunchtime and ALWAYS on a Friday lunchtime. Drinking alcohol was expected and anyone who didn't drink had to have an excuse and was viewed with distrust.

We hand wrote letters, walked them to the typing pool, collected them later, there were always corrections required so then they went back to the typing pool at least one more time. Other than this the role was mainly photocopying. In my second role we had one computer, a green screen "dumb terminal" shared between three of us. The processing was done by the main frame computer which took up a vast room of its own maybe 2,000 square feet.

ImJustMadAboutSaffron · 25/01/2023 19:58

Kazzyhoward · 17/09/2017 11:58

In those days, to be able to type up documents and presentations, you had to know how many spaces there were across a page, and so work out how many spaces to put in so that you could start in the middle of the page

You missed a trick there. You set a tab to the centre of the page, move your carriage to the centre and then count backwards doing one back space for every two characters/spaces. So if you wanted to centre the title "word heading", you'd go to the centre and then six back spaces (as "word heading" is 12 characters/spaces).

Jesus! I can't believe this. How did anything even get finished? Must have taken forever.

Blip · 25/01/2023 21:59

There were no PCs, just green screen "dumb terminals" and the processing was done by a GIANT mainframe computer which filled a HUGE room of its own.

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