At Sears I started as a messenger girl in the collection department, but pretty soon they recognized my talents. I got a promotion. I became a typist.
My friend Catherine became a typist too. But she typed “you owe us’s.” That was when somebody owed less than a dollar. She would type like 100 of these notices an hour. All she had to do was type the name and address and fill in the amount, but the thing was, she had to get the names and everything from the envelopes that the order had come in. So she became an expert at reading these crazy handwritings.
I typed letters, collection letters, and all I did was type names and addresses too. But I had files that I typed from rather than just envelopes. I was a good typist, so one day they promoted me again.
Catherine with her experience became a statistical typist. She typed these long sheets with numbers all the way across, and she was perfect at it.
I typed legal cards–for every case in the legal department there was a card. And they were so pleased with my improving the legal cards that one day I was asked to be the typing supervisor.
All the typing from all over the department went through my desk, and I would look at it and make sure it was OK. My day of glory came when I found a “skip-tracing” letter going to Highland Park. I recognized the name–it was the chairman of the board of Sears. The letter was asking him if he could furnish the address of a woman who had been in his employ who owed Sears some money.
Well, I gave the letter to my supervisor, Miss Krueger, and she was delighted, so she took it to the manager, Mr. Vale. He thought this was wonderful, that he had been saved the embarrassment of sending this letter out to the chairman of the board.
I was out on a ten-minute break. When I got back Miss Krueger came over to me and said, “Guess who came to visit you? Mr. Vale stood at your desk for 11 minutes. Breaks are ten, you know. He wanted to congratulate you on having found that letter.” So he never did congratulate me. But I was told he wanted to, so that was my big deal.