As much as I hated that first job in a “writing” profession, I still didn’t want to disappoint my boss, Pauline, a difficult woman who I grew to admire. She had no heart, but plenty of passion and skill. She even “promoted” me to write marketing brochures about the merits of our feminist newsletter.
Readership increased from 10 to 90.
Pauline forced me to write draft after draft of those brochures, teaching me how to edit down to sharp sticking points.
I sharpened my pencils, walked on tiptoe and never, ever opened the refrigerator door again (see A Towering Tongue Twisting Career Turn).
I celebrated a year later when the CETA grant expired by replying to dozens of “position available” ads. I was now a free woman with a M.A. in English and a year’s experience.
Still, no one wanted me.
After rejection #48, I took up the offer from a friend of a friend whose father was VP of an established company that needed a salesperson with writing and marketing skills.
I got my dream of working in the ‘big city,’ except not the Big Apple, but the chewed up near-by metropolis called Newark.
After a lot of practice (and about a month on the job), I remembered to NOT call those big signs on highways and city streets, “billboards.”
I was the lone woman in a “boys” only sales profession. I was also the youngest, by at least two decades.
At first the men resented me. Why did they need a woman in the weekly sales meetings held at the local Italian restaurant every Wednesday at noon?
Each morning, as I entered the dingy brick building wearing a dark skirt, light blouse, sensible heels and brave determined smile on my face, I realized I was breaking down barriers in my own way.
Selling outdoor advertising.
After two months of lunches with heavy ravioli and bottles of Chianti, I began to find some allies. By then, after too many fuzzy Wednesday afternoons, I realized I should drink water instead of wine at noon; and by then, I’d sold outdoor space to several mom-and-pop shops in neighboring towns that the “big boys” had been unable to approach.
The Fudgy Factory
Petey’s Paint & Hardware
But I also made a marketing decision that I regret to this day.
If Pauline found out about it, she’d cut out my tongue and add it to her refrigerator display….!
Thanks to Google Images.