Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Good Jobs for Good Girls. Vintage Book Brilliance.

It's no secret I love an old book. You can imagine my excitement when a family just down the street had a garage sale that included boxes upon boxes upon boxes of fragile, old, aromatic books. Good Jobs for Good Girls is one that I found there and I can't help but share the sardonic writing, clever illustrations and overall bold statement the author makes through the publication with you all. Plus, it included a chapter on Advertising. And one on Accounting, which I think may be where Madonna found some of her signature inspiration. Look closely. Amazing.
Good Jobs for Good Girls was written by Harford Powel and published in 1945; it's a sharp and witty manual for how to find an interesting career....and then escape it. According to Jennifer Schiffner in her senior thesis for Boston College, "The farce of a title denoted the male-centered view of the work force and the commodification of women through the act of marriage." The book is a glimpse into the past, albeit a sarcastic one. I guess in some ways the sarcasm is even more telling of the times than a serious piece of literature might be.

Enough of my rambling. Read some of it for yourself:

"'Suffering cats!' you may say. 'Is this another book about women's problems…?' No, dearest reader, this is not just another book. It is the first book that tells, in simple words, how you can find an interesting career and escape from it soon.

The following pages give you important facts, not commonly known, about the most popular kinds of work for women. Skip those which do not seem most interesting to you. Any man who gives you a job will think that you are primarily interested in the hours and the salary. Let him think so. Let him discover by gentle stages that you are far most intelligent an seductive than that. There will always be plenty of dumb bunnies who are willing to do all the dull drudgery in every office and factory. Don't you do it! See to it that you always bring your employer the charm of your personality, the maddening effect of your beauty, and the inspiration of a romance with you."

mad men and merry maidens

The advertising business seems like a bright girl's paradise, when you are on the outside looking in…
Perhaps you have wanted to write. Perhaps you think it would be fun to dash off slogans, and radio plays, and new things to put on television, and dashing pages for the fashion magazines, and clever ideas for electric signs, and…
sorrows of the woman copy writer
Man after man will dash up to you with whoops of glee, and say he is terribly busy, and will you go to bat right away and write seven overdue magazine advertisements, and two or three short newspaper pieces, and maybe a booklet, and, oh yes! - he has to take them all to Chicago on the Centry tonight but he knows how quick and clever you are!
You can do it for one man.
You might do it for two!
But can you do it for twelve strong men, all seeking last-minute copy?
Copy! That's what they call it - copy! But unluckily you can't copy all of it. You haven't time to get up from your typewriter and search for things you can copy.
Hour after hour, year after year, you sit glued to your chair, pounding out the praises of goods you have never seen, for readers who will never read, and radio listeners who will never listen…

Intelligent reader, advertising copy is not for you. Not even the Chairman himself looks at you with his weary eye and says: "Dearie, I am confident that you, and only you, can give our new candy-laxative account a compelling, modern sales twist." But mostly they just swear at you.

to sum it up
There is a higher career. There is one career in which you never get exhausted, never get out of bed one moment before you please, and never lack money to buy anything that strikes your fancy. This career is marriage.

Unfortunately, the book has been out of print for ages. So if you'd like to read more, I'd recommend you get your rummage on and keep your eyes peeled for a bright blue cover radiating beams of sarcasm.


  1. This is hysterical. What a find, Megan! Love it.

  2. oh my GOD, the awesomeness!!! i love me a good old book too, but this is just a ridiculously fabulous find.

    remind me to show you my copy of "heart throbs of the american west" sometime ;)

  3. Heart Throbs of the American West! Awesome. One book I haven't mentioned we found at the same sale: The Professional Lover. Ha.

  4. Easily Increase Your ClickBank Traffic And Commissions

    Bannerizer makes it easy for you to promote ClickBank products with banners, simply go to Bannerizer, and grab the banner codes for your chosen ClickBank products or use the Universal ClickBank Banner Rotator Tool to promote all of the available ClickBank products.