LAST NIGHT, I decided to sleep late but wake at 7 a.m. Max brings me breakfast in bed. After 21 years of marriage, I still marvel at my husband, who helps with cooking chores and does all the gardening; he also acts as financial adviser and moonlights as my accountant. Since I started my employment agency in downtown D.C., we've been discussing the possibility of Max's giving up his job and joining me full-time. Monetary as well as personal considerations have kept him working full-time as a controller in a Maryland retail business.
I read the front page of the Washington Post, then pull out the classified ads. I scan the pages impatiently to see if my ads are visible, well placed.
I call friends in New York and Minneapolis before getting up. Go to a radio staton at 11:30 to take part in a talk show. Subject: Should college grads accept secretarial positions? It this a good start? A learning opportunity or a dead end? The hostess of the show hasn't even spent even a minute before the show talking to me. Half an hour later I calmly realize that the segment I took part in was a washout.
Surprisingly unconcerned, drive out to Frederick County, to see some old friends. After Bloody Marys, cheese and coffee we set out on a long drive. We end up at a sculpture show, but the cheapest one we like is $2,000. Then a lovely show of paintings in a small college. We buy three. Go to a cocktail party at a jewerly store. Max buys me an old garnet ring. Drive home after dinner.
Watch news on TV. Dicuss office space that has become available on the same floor as my present office. The rent in our office building going up by 100 percent, our lease is up in two months and we are terribly short of space. MONDAY
Wake up at 6:30 in high spirits. Today I'll get lots of work done and remain calm and competent. Arrive at office at 9:15 to find one employee out sick, two not feeling well and two not quite awake.
An irate client calls to say the secretary he hired last week at $18,000 a year didn't show for work this morning. I call the secretary, who explains she found another job for $20,000. Do I blame her? -- of course not. I don't start swearing until after she hang up.
Another client calls to say the administrative assistant they hired last Thursday to start tomorrow can't have the job. Sorry. The present one decided to stay. I called the administrative aide who lost the job to explain. She gets angry and tells me to sue my client. She swears she'll never use our agency again. I get mad and tell her to stay away. (I really must try to stay calm and productive.)
My permanent placement manager tells me counselors in other agencies make more money. My temporary service manager isn't feeling well and decides that six "no-shows" for Monday temp assignments is more than she can take. By 10:30, all six have been replaced by other temps. The counselors tell me the ad response is poor. By 12:30, we have 10 applicants in the reception area, plus five being interviewed; not counting six applicants for temp jobs. If the ads didn't pull -- what brought them in?
Our daily counselors meeting is marred by the fact that everyone is exhausted. They've interviewed too many people. But we still have over 150 open job orders and not enough people to fill the jobs. Everyone leaves at 6. I try to start writing my newsletter (I write about two a month). At 7, the administrative aide who didn't get the job calls me to apologize. I'm sorry too, and we decide to meet at 10 tomorrow. Check with my printer (who works until 11 p.m.) to see if our newsletter for this month was mailed tonight -- it was. Leave at 8:30 p.m. TUESDAY
The secretary who found the $20,000 job calls to say it fell through. Would the firm who offered the $18,000 still consider her? After saying I wouldn't even dare ask them, I phone them anyhow. Surprise! They still want her. One of my oldest clients calls and can't understand why we can't find her an experienced executive secretary who can also run the office for $11,000 a year. She hangs up on me, saying, "I don't care what you say, $11,000 is an excellent salary!" Later, she calls one of the counselors and ups the salary to $15,000. The job is filled the same afternoon.
The temp division is short of temps and has to cancel job orders. I put three more temp ads in the paper. Max arrives at 7. We promised ourselves an early night (home by 7:30) but he has some accounting to do and I try again to start my newsletter.
We go to a small French restaurant in Virginia. At 11 p.m., we revive again and start discussing the office that's available on my floor. We've told the agent we'll take the space but have no idea what to do with it. WEDNESDAY
We make four placements first thing in the morning. An old client calls me to say he likes the secretary we sent him yesterday. Would I personally check references? I do; when asked why the secretary left, the former employer explains, "Of course you realize she's pregnant?" I call my client, embarrassed, to explain. Of course we musn't discrminate against pregnant women, but she'll only be able to work another four months -- and he'll have to pay me $1,600 fee. He laughs at me. He knew she was pregnant, had already hired her before the reference came throught. The girl calls to thank me.
The first responses to my mail promotion are in. Ten new job orders the first day, and all of them excellent positions. Wednesday is the ad writing deadline for Sunday. The temporary employes start coming in to pick up their paychecks. The computer service is one hour late delivering them; the reception area is crowded. Glad to see a new client walking in. He thinks all these people are new recruits.
The temp manager calls me to say we have too many applicants. The administrative aide who didn't show yesterday arrives at 6 p.m. I can't see her; she gets mad again. Start working on the ads seriously at 6:30. Max and I leave at 9:45. THURSDAY
Eleven o'clock appointment with a new client, personnel manager of a large new firm. I wait at her office for an hour, hoping to do business with her firm. Just as I'm about to leave at 12, she rushes in, full of apologies. We have lunch together. We part great friends; she's going to use my service.
Max calls to say we really must leave early tonight. My advertising/public relations woman comes to talk to me about our various projects and campaigns. The man from Reuben Donnelly comes in to discuss my ads in the yellow pages. Six more job orders in response to the promotion.
We usually have a one-hour staff meeting on Thursdays, when the temporary and permanent staff all get together. I see some bickering and mutual criticism, but also some hopeful signs. They still refer to each other as "they" and "us," but are beginning to realize now how much each division can help and support the other. We make three placements during the meeting, and a brand new temp client calls in with an order.
Max comes rushing in to say he forgot to prepare payroll yesterday -- the computer people must have it on Friday. My best client calls at 8, apologizing, and gives me two wonderful job orders. I immediately sit down to write two more ads; I know we have no applicants to fill the jobs.
Determined not to eat in a restaurant, we leave at 9, to have soup, cheese and wine at home. Max calmly informs me has been given a promotion and a 20 percent salary increase. We open a good bottle of wine. Seems he'll have to go on working two jobs for a few more years. FRIDAY
Birthday cake, gifts and a brief party at 9 a.m. for an employe's birthday. Cancel hair-dressing appointment because a large professional placement comes through.
My manager tells me the counselors were pleased with their checks. They all make excellent money; all but one have been with me from one to three years. Lunch with the girl whose birthday it is. We really can't afford the time, but we have a ball.
Unexpectedly, a brand new client calls to see me at my office. I spend almost two hours with him. He wants me to staff a new office he's opening in D.C. My plans for the day are ruined. Sign letters, draft two more, draft new agreement for client who just left. Check bills for fees before mailing.
Concert tonight. It's a gorgeous concert; for almost 35 minutes no thoughts of the office cross my mind.
We try to eat in Georgetown, but can't find a parking place. We go home and have a Scotch and a piece of toast; then get involved in a discussion about chamber music. SATURDAY
Wake up at 10:30. Slept like a baby. I'm transformed into a happy weekend housewife. The garden needs attention. Forty of my 60 house plants from the apartment survived; all need repotting and pruning. Max wants to clip the hedge.
Shopping comes first. We try to buy a light fixture in Georgetown, but the one we like cost three times what wewant to spend. We drive back to Virginia and buy two light fixtures, a bathroom rug and $75 worth of food. At last we can cook a good meal at home.
Later, go to the Kennedy Center to see a play. The theater never fails me; I'm involved to the point where, for two whole hours, I forget all about myself.
At home, decide to play new records of "Don Carlo" -- but it's hard to concentrate on the music without the acton on stage. Halfway through we switch to "Figaro."