Women like myself, without a college education, could become secretaries, bookkeepers and the like if they had skills beyond being clerks. In those days, the majority of women I knew didn't expect to have careers beyond getting married and raising a family.
I didn't expect to go to college, so I switched my curriculum to business courses and my first job on graduating was as a stenographer with AT&T. My steno skills were never great even though my mother taught it but I was a crackerjack typist, had a decent command of English and grammar and most of my time there involved Dictaphone dictation. After 4 years, I was next in line for a promotion to secretary and I was being sent out to cover for secretaries on lunch breaks or vacations. One of those covering jobs was for the President's secretary and I was supposed to check and make sure that his private bathroom was in order. Although I had gone to work for AT&T for the bennies, it was enough for me to decide it was time to move on.
My next job was secretary to a top executive at the NY Petroleum Council, a public relations firm for the oil industry. He didn't mind that I'd wheel a typewriter and type his dictation. Typing on a manual typewriter at the speed of his speech, there would undoubtedly be errors. He could read and make corrections that he couldn't do with sten notes. The job was otherwise boring but I loved its location. Rockefeller Center overlooking the skating rink. I worked there until I became pregnant. In those days, due to insurance restrictions, most women couldn't work beyond their sixth month. They kept me on until my eighth month and for the first time since I was fifteen, I didn't have a job. (to be cont'd.)