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Sunday, August 5, 2012

8-02-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians -- Starter Job #166 (The Early Stirrings of Yuppie Culture in NYC, Where It All Started Pt. 4). . .


So. Thanks to my close personal Yuppie friend, Kris Skrinak, I was able to get into word processing as a temp. He'd invited me to join him at the Goldman Sachs office where he worked, afterhours, to try my hand at this program (on early PCs of course) called MultiMate. It was pretty primitive and involved a lot of F keys and shifting on the keyboard, etc. etc. A little laminated template on the keyboard was helpful because only if you used it all the time could you remember how to do everything necessary to create good looking, well formatted documents. I learned just enough to get my foot in the door and work jobs where I'd learn to do even more, on the job.

In the 1980s, when you worked in an office as an administrative assistant, we were called secretaries, still. And because I was on the road so much, I had to work, for years, as a temporary secretary (like the Paul McCartney song). My temp agency was called Accurate Temporaries (they're still around, on lower Broadway I think).  

Accurate had a little office in Two World Trade Center on the 21st floor. This was before the high security measures instituted after the first (in 1993?) and second, fatal, attacks on the World Trade Centers on 9/11/2001-- so getting around into almost any building was a breeze. Nobody was stopped on their way here and there -- we had so much more physical and mental freedom. Getting places was so much faster without all the mishigas of the security stops we experience post- 9/11, in 2012.

To get into Goldman Sachs after the workday, I thought, would be difficult -- but Kris figured it all out. I liked the scofflaw aspect of him having his boho writer-musician friend, me, come in and benefit from using the corporate equipment without their knowledge. I admired Kris for possibly putting his neck (and job) on the line to give me a helping hand. If I didn't learn word processing, I wouldn't be getting work in offices. I had to constantly learn and keep up with technology the whole time I did the part time office work gig.

And that's key: always keeping up with modern technology when you want to be useful. Again, I have to thank Kris S. for helping me get to the point where I could go to my temp agency and say to Denise at Accurate: "Yup, I know MultiMate -- I'm available to work for the next three weeks," and get work. Because from then on, it was all word processing -- typing into computers.

Don't recall the exact pay rate, but it was probably around $8 or $9 per hour in the mid '80's. . . and as my rent was between $300 and $400, it worked all right. Not great, but all right. . . . 

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