Sunday, January 27, 2013

Clerical Work

Rat Race Week continues here at OPOD with this picture of clerical workers in Baltimore Maryland in 1939. They are all typing up social security cards. I think a key aspect of Rat Race work is not so much that it is hard, but that it is meaningless. It is very hard to be a farmer, but I would bet few farmers feel like they are in the Rat Race.


  1. I would say a rat race job also requires a do-nothing guy in a fancy suit, who makes far more money than you, looking over your shoulder all day long.

  2. That fancy suit guy is there to make sure the job gets done.
    It is like any job, you get a group of women or men together, and the chatting starts up. His job is to make sure that doesn't happen.
    And yes, I'm sure he gets paid more than the women did. Back in those day (and even today) men got paid more than women for even doing the same job.

    That would kill me to sit there all day doing the same thing day after day.

  3. When I was a kid we had a board game called Rat Race. I don't remember very much about it except it was satirical.

  4. I used to work in Remittance for Ma Bell. All of the mail had to be processed the day it came in, so we were wildly busy on Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesday mornings were not bad, but from then on out, there was simply NOTHING to do. Sometimes we would sit around and fold and unfold envelopes. We'd each get a box of inter-office envelopes and fold the flaps down, then put the box back in the storage cabinet. The next day, we'd get the same boxes out and unfold the flaps. We'd do this until the flaps fell off. I asked if I could take a cut in pay and only work three days a week, but that was against company policy. Talk about meaningless work!

  5. No work is "meaningless" if one needs the money that one is paid to do it. If one needs that money, the work providing it is very meaningful. Many people confuse on-the-job "meaninglessness" with boredom. And boredom is a bad mental attitude - not the job. If a good mental attitude is nurtured, a person can be content doing any job.