Society has changed dramatically over the last fifty years. Here, older generations share the most significant differences between working then and now.
Women’s Dress Codes
Women in office environments had to wear skirts, pantyhose, and heels. Nowadays, women don’t have to wear such overtly sexual clothing.
First Job Gone
Many older workers shared that their first job no longer exists. Jobs like switch operators, typists, and video store clerks have disappeared.
Doing What on Company Time?
Fifty years ago, no one thought twice about having beers over work lunches or engaging in inappropriate activities with the work van sitting right outside.
Bad for Your Lungs
In the past, work was bad for your lungs. Everyone, from office workers to restaurant servers, had to deal with massive amounts of smoke in the workplace.
Back in the day, everyone had executive assistants, and workloads were split between many people. Today’s work environments place massive burdens on workers in efforts to reduce staffing costs.
Work Was Fun
Before everyone was stressed out about productivity and efficiency; work was fun. You’d go to the office and chill with folks for a while, get a few hours of work done, have a long lunch, and call it a day. That kind of lax attitude doesn’t fly anymore.
On the flip side, one colossal improvement is that most industries have started taking safety seriously. Employees working hazardous jobs are far safer than they were two decades ago.
Companies used to reward loyalty with pensions, allowing folks to ride out their sunset years with financial security. It’s much harder to find a job with a pension nowadays.
Finding a Job
Boomers always tell their kids to just walk into a company and demand a job; like that works. Sure, it worked forty years ago, but in modern times, all hiring shifted online. Now, you have to beat the algorithm to get an interview.
In the 80s and 90s, companies understood that employees had lives outside work. Now, companies demand every waking moment of your time, and you’ll never get ahead if you don’t give it to them.
Not Constantly Connected
Part of the reason why bosses accepted work-life balance was because they couldn’t reach you after hours. They could call your landline, but if you weren’t home, you weren’t home. Now, they can send you projects via email and expect you to respond.
Bosses got away with horrible things back in the day. Sexual harassment ran rampant, and women had to deal with it if they wanted to keep their jobs. It was the rule, not the exception.
Fifty years ago, the people at the top earned good money, but those on the bottom rungs of the ladder still earned a living. Today, the people at the top earn obscene wages while the folks on the bottom struggle to survive.
The workforce fifty years ago was fantastic for straight, white, Christian men but not so swell for everyone else. Although there’s still a lot of work to do to fight racism and sexism, we’ve come a long way from where we were.
Pensions aren’t the only benefit that disappeared. Many workers today don’t even earn vacation time. They have no time off for sick leave. They lack medical insurance.
The only improvement is that women no longer get fired over pregnancy.
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