Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Retro Guide to Making It in the Officeby Lynn Peril
Feed your boss’s ego. Dress for success. And don’t let your heels trip you up on the corporate ladder.Millions of women have held the position of secretary, alternately lauded as a breakthrough opportunity and excoriated as dead-end busy work. From the female pioneers who infiltrated Capitol Hill offices during the Civil War to today’s/p>
Feed your boss’s ego. Dress for success. And don’t let your heels trip you up on the corporate ladder.Millions of women have held the position of secretary, alternately lauded as a breakthrough opportunity and excoriated as dead-end busy work. From the female pioneers who infiltrated Capitol Hill offices during the Civil War to today’s tech-savvy administrative assistants, secretaries have withstood criticism for abandoning their rightful sphere (the home), weathered the dubious advice of secretarial guide- books, taken hits from feminists and antifeminists alike, and demanded the right to resist making coffee—all while making their bosses look good.
In Swimming in the Steno Pool, author-secretary Lynn Peril profiles the various incarnations of the secretary, from pliable, sexy mate of the “office husband” to postfeminist executive-in-training, drawing inspiration from a wide range of “femorabilia” and secretarial guidebooks of yesteryear. Featuring an array of fabulous illus- trations promoting office equipment and office girls alike, Peril delivers a feisty, witty celebration of the women who’ve been running the show for decades.
A humorous guide to exploring the changing definition of a woman's role in the workplace.
What label best classifies the post of secretary—"sex bomb" or "office wife?" Peril (College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens and Co-eds, Then and Now, 2006, etc.) delves into the stereotypes that continue to plague secretaries. Running the gamut from vampy vixens to officious career gals, secretaries have always been varied personalities with varying abilities; some were able to use their position as a stepping stone while others hit the glass ceiling. The author's study is packed with witty anecdotes drawn from multiple eras, and lavish images and illustrations accompany her lively prose. Peril examines the changing perspective of female competence in the workplace, from its start in the battlefield to the offices of the future. The author highlights the challenges women faced at the office, and the problems women must still reckon with even in the most forward-thinking companies of this era—including the seemingly insignificant question of whose responsibility it is to put on a pot of coffee. While it's safe to say that the days in which secretaries were viewed as little more than husband-hunting sex kittens are extinct, Peril argues that today's professional women are still changing the rules of femininity, adopting traits previously only owned by men.
A great choice for ladies climbing the corporate ladder from the bottom up.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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- 7 MB
Meet the Author
Lynn Peril is a secretary and the author of Pink Think, College Girls, and Swimming in the Steno Pool. She lives in Oakland, California.
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