How I Single-Fingered-ly Became the World’s Worst Secretary!

Yesterday, I was having a dialog about typos with fellow blogger Harper Faulkner who has a great blog,  All Write (and who is on my blog roll of course!)  And I was reminded of the career I used to have as the World’s Worst Secretary.

When I graduated from high school back in the year 19mumble, I was all set to go away to a four-year college in the fall.  Well, for reasons I can’t exactly remember (I didn’t pay much attention back then), that plan fell through at the last minute.

Suffice it to say, my safety wasn’t Harvard.  It was the local community college that, as luck would have it, had established itself the same year I graduated.  Being a new college, it offered two courses: Secretarial training and nurses training.

I chose secretarial training because having just seen the movie, Mash, I imagined the job of a nurse to be just like a Mash unit where people lined up around the block waiting to get in while blood squirted out of their every artery, vein and orifice.

Besides, I already knew how to type having taken typing class my sophomore year in high school — where I practiced typing everyday for an entire school year. (And this was back when kids went to school five days all in a row, each and every week.)

You’d think I would have become a pretty decent typist . . . you’d think.

The first day of high school typing class,  I actually got my fingers caught between the manual typewriter keys. I was hopeless at typing.  Heck, I could draw better than I could type and, as you know,  my drawing skills suck like a collapsed straw.

Anyway, since I now found myself painted into a backwater community college corner, I chose to study the art of the secretary — despite my uncoordinated typing skills.  My mind was made up.  I would get  myself a one-year secretarial certificate or I would get every finger permanently stuck in a manual typewriter trying!

My college typing teacher would hand my assignments back with comments like:

Linda, five full minutes of typing and you only managed 27  words AND with 3 errors?  See me after class.


Linda, there is no 7 in the word brown. See me after class.

I eventually found out, through trial and error, that I was a much better typist using just one finger.

So what saved my secretarial career was the fact that I was a whiz at shorthand.  I could take shorthand like nobody’s business.  Only trouble was they were using shorthand in nobody’s business — thanks to some slick, new technology called a dictaphone.

Still, relying on my  impressive shorthand skills, and the fact that potential bosses were always overly impressed by my ability to  repeat back to them what they had just said (Oh I could take a letter alright, I just couldn’t give it back), I managed to worm my way into a job as the World’s Worst Professional Secretary!

Which just goes to show you what a person can do if they will just put their mind to it.

Until next time . . . I love you

27 thoughts on “How I Single-Fingered-ly Became the World’s Worst Secretary!

  1. You call yourself the world’s worst secretary, but rumor has it that my grandmother was hired as a secretary for one day, and on that day, she was told to mail out some postcards by first applying postage to them. She piled them up and realized that the postcards were not all stuck together. So she walked out of the office and never went back again.

    I don’t think she took awesome shorthand either. 😀

    • LOL! Sillyliss! That is so funny! And I gotta say that’s exactly what I would have done. OMG! Your poor grandma, but it does make a funny story!

      Just by he grace of god, I I never made that mistake but I did type two letter up for my boss — the contents of which were both confidential and put them in the wrong envelopes and mailed them out! I remember one of them was to Stuart Anderson, the Owner of the Black Angus Restaurant chains. They let me go shortly thereafter needless to say! HA!

      • LOL! Now you can do similar things more easily with email. I sent out a very confidential email containing private and financial information to an email address with a typo in it. The person wrote me back to let me know that I had it all wrong — and thank me for the personal info. Oy!

        • Oh how embarrassing! HA! Well I can’t even imagine the trouble I could cause sending out confidential letters through e-mail. With the typos I make, I would probably hit reply all and send to it everyone in the address book. It’s a darn good thing I’m not a secretary anymore! HA!

  2. If only typewriters had Autocorrect installed back then, you probably could have typed no fewer than 28 words in 5 minutes without any spelling errors and without a coherent meaning too…

  3. Hey, Harper here, the third entry down on your blogroll. Knowing your great writing so well, I’m disappointed that you didn’t attend Wilma Waillinger’s Secretarial School for Unmarried Women, but Women with Some Prospects Nevertheless. Anyhoo, I had to learn typing with a board over the keys. Still not sure they why behihd that. All joy. As usual, I love your posts and admire your talent. HF, number 3 on the roll.

    • Say what number 3? Had to learn to type with a board over the keys! Were you attending Marquis De Sade High school? And if only I would have been “sent away” to Wilma Waillinger’s Secfretarial School for Unmarreid Women my life would have been a lot more interesting. Not only would I have learned to type properly (probably using a board), I would have had a gothic novel story idea out of the deal. Ah but such are the disappointments of life as you know Mr. Number 3 on a blog roll.

  4. Actually, typing was the only class I took in high school that I actually use on a daily basis.
    Weren’t employers impressed by what you could do with just the one finger, spurring you onto greatness by using more fingers?

    • You know that’s a very good point. I would say the only thing I use that I learned in high school is my typing. If you don’t count fleeting daydreams about the Louisana Purchase. And you know what, I think fellow employees might have been spurring me to greatness when they used those other fingers. Now I don’t feel so bad. Thank you El Guapo for pointing that out! My self esteem has been racheted up a couple notches already!

  5. Hi,
    I used to love the old typewriters at school, of course by favourite part was getting that little lever and banging it to go to the next line. 😀
    The thing I hated the most was changing the ribbon.
    Ahh the good old days. 😆

    • Oh I so agree Mags! Whacking that bar (or whatever it was called . . . oh the return carriage! . . . was the most powerful feeling in the world. YES! I remember changing that horrible ribbon and getting ink all over my fingers! Ah the good ol’ days indeed! 😀

  6. People are actually amazed at my typing skills. They think cause I’m guy, I’m supposed to use 1 finger at a time and stare at the keyboard the whole time. But not me. I guess at least if all else fails in my life, I could always try to become a secretary.

  7. “Linda, there is no 7 in the word brown” Hahah that’s probably a comment I would’ve had. My mom uses two fingers to type. I use three. It just feels less complicated! Plus, I never took a cool typing class, so I had to teach myself. It obviously worked out really well since I’m pretty sure I’m the only one using the three fingered method.

  8. Haha! You crack me up! All I remember is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” I think I flunked out of typing. And to this day, I still use the tried and true ‘hunt and peck’ method!
    I wonder what happened to all those mean typing teachers? haha!

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