Monday, September 5, 2011

Employment ... It's all about fitting in

Today's guest blog post comes from Diane Quinn.  Diane is a freelance writer who lives in Las Vegas and writes about anything and everything.  Check out her full bio and sample some of her articles at

True lessons learned the hard way during employment

Each job in my life gained me more than just a paycheck-they brought me many lessons, and most were learned the hard way. Isn't that way always the best teacher?

When I was 22 years old, graduated from business school and, newly married to my husband who had just returned from Viet Nam, we moved south so that he could go to college on the G.I. Bill. Moving from Pennsylvania to Eastern Tennessee back in the late "60's" and early "70's" was the equivalent of moving to another country. Even with my diplomas and a couple of year's experience, to my dismay, I could not obtain a secretarial job.

What did I learn from this experience? I learned that when money is running out, sometimes we have to do things that we might feel are beneath our dignity. Sometimes we have to lower our standards and do-what-we-have-to-do, at least until we can figure out something better. Sometimes we have to "fake it" in order to "fit in". 
Sometimes, circumstances dictate that we have to compromise. Believe me, I did not enjoy pretending to be someone I was not.

Worse, I didn't like experiencing discrimination and prejudice for the very first time in my WASP life. By stepping over the Mason-Dixon Line, I had instantly become a minority, other than just being a woman. It was sobering. The two years that I lived and worked there my maturity grew in light years. My eyes were opened to the reality of life for other minorities and my social conscience began to evolve. I did not understand "southern" segregation. Seeing "white only" signs on
water fountains and bathrooms made me uncomfortable and then angry.

I worked with some very nice people in our office. But I learned that there were some issues where boundaries could not be crossed if you wanted to maintain a good working relationship. I learned that some people are not open-minded to anything that goes against what they have been brought up to believe is correct. Bluntly stated, I learned to keep my mouth shut in the office even if I wanted to scream over the injustices that surrounded me.

There were more jobs and more years after that one in the South, but I don't think that I learned as much in such a short time as I did working in that culturally and socially challenging environment. I went there a girl, even though I was 22 and married. But, when we finally moved away, I had become a woman sensitive to the realities of the world around her.


  1. I know exactly what Diane is saying. I also moved below the Mason Dixon line and have seen things here I rather not - and that is in the 21st century. BTW Conny, you choose the most appropriate photos for your blogs.

  2. Thank you for noticing Alex. I actually just asked Diane if she liked the picture I picked for this post.