Women At Work The Career Path
WOMEN AT WORK
The career paths of a great many of today's women managers often seem to have their beginnings rooted in a haphazard Past. In the early 1970s, when I sat my A levels and wondered what I was going to do next, the career counsellors at my grammar school concluded that I was not university material and suggested I Went to secretarial college. The choice was that or teacher training college or becoming a nurse. I believed the counsellors when they said I wasn't clever enough to go to university, and having no idea of what the future might hold and feeling relieved to have got that far anyway, I went along with the Idea of doing "a one-year secretarial course in London.
For me the secretarial route proved to be an excellent way of moving into junior management and large numbers of my contemporaries: (many of whom are now public figures) followed the same path. Today many parents actively dissuade their daughters from taking a secretarial course, primarily because they still perceive the role of secretary as the demeaning stereotype, or because they believe it has no prospects for a 'proper' job. Perhaps with more people learning keyboard skills within a job, good secretarial training - and the accompanying self-organization skills - are not seen to be as important in the workplace as they once were.
Another traditional way into management was via personnel and training, and until recently, many senior women in the private sector represented the human resources field. Some took the secretarial administration route, while others began as graduate trainees, choosing personnel as their preferred specialism. While personnel was 'somehow understood to be less 'difficult' than other areas of a company, and the 'sharing and caring' skills of personnel were always seen to be the preserve of women, it is now quite usual to find women managers in all other aspects of business, such as engineering, finance, law and marketing.
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