I think two clear signs you might be in the Rat Race are a crowded office, and a high component of clerical work. This picture from 1938 shows a Social Security Office in Washington DC. These people's job was to change the spelling on people's name who have interactions with the Social Security Administration. According to the picture caption . . .
"A coding system, which eliminates all vowels and some consonants and reduces the remaining letters of the alphabet to groups designated by six master, or key, letters is employed in the Social Security Board Records Office. The coding system was adopted as a "foolproof" methods of keeping track of names, whether or not misspelled by their owners in subsequent correspondence. The system also is of great value in simplifying many of the mechanical operations necessary to set up and maintain individual wage record accounts for the millions or workers covered by the Social Security Act. The picture shows employees coding applicants names."