The modern office has been transformed because of what’s been invented in the past 40 plus years.
Personal computers, personal phones,the Internet,voice and e mail and even fax facilities which are now taken for granted simply didn’t exist then. Usually there was only a number of shared telephones and communication and storage of information was only a tiny fraction of what it is today.
Communication was largely by a hand typed letter which was reliant on the typing pool or if you were a boss via your personal secretary who took shorthand. Hand written notes were commonplace, even in official communication with external parties and most systems relied on manual input efforts or at best were mechanized inputs using accounting machines to record transactions onto hard copy individual ledger records.
Other aspects of office life that have almost disappeared include the beloved Tea Ladies, the ritual of formal morning and afternoon tea breaks, official sing on and sign off books, lunchtime interoffice sporting competitions,lunchtime card playing and the Friday afternoon office lunches.
When I was first began my working life I was also studying of an evening, for seven long years. Having left my home in the country for the city and residing in a not so flash boarding house, I often arrived late for work in a crumpled mess during my earlier disorganised years.
Ode to an old office scene
Drab and grey buildings greet your dreary day
Cold and unfriendly, they reflect our modern way
Murmurs of distant voices, dim echoes from my past
Sign the dreaded time book before your time is passed
There’s a murmur of a fact that cannot be denied
Lindsay’s train is late again, the boss is not surprised
Stagers in, faces grim, casual fashion one might guess
Forgot to iron his trousers and shirts a crumpled mess
He settles into work, to check the ledger cards
The system is manual; a checkers life's not hard
Tea break is upon him, tea lady says gidday
Not afraid to tell you, office secrets every day
Lunchtime is a signal for people great or small
Assemble at the front desk to represent us all
Teams are chosen wisely, football teams a must
Victors or Vanquished, return to slaps or cheers or hugs
Card players are a serious lot, there is no idle chatter
Game is called 500 and the rules are all that matter
For woe behold the new recruit to join the old brigade
To trump his partner's trump, can it ever be the same
Hangs his head in sorrow, prays to learn to play the game
The afternoon drags slowly on; the output's just a trickle
Soon all the work is done as we hear the knock off whistle
We stand in line in time to sign, our work is truly ended
Goodbye my friend, nostalgia time, that time I fear is ended