'I always wanted to be a secretary'
Boston — Katie Gibbs girls are just women waiting to get their MRS. And a secretarial job is a dead-end career with little fulfillment. Fact or fiction? Conversations with Gibbs graduates helped identify the stereotypes as fiction.
Sherron Gauch is a graduate of the Gibbs Options program, designed for women who are re-entering or switching careers. She had been in nursing but found herself disillusioned with the schooling and the fact that she couldn't have weekends with her family.
"I was burned out a bit, and I wanted to do something entirely different," says Mrs. Gauch. Today she is a secretary.
"I like what I am doing," she says. "You can be whatever you want to be. I could go into any field with these same skills."
Mona Cronk moved to Boston from Connecticut with her husband after graduating from college.
"I had a degree in English and was doing temporary work when my aunt suggested I try the Entree program at Gibbs," she says. Mrs. Cronk spent some time as a secretary after graduating and now works in the placement office of the Gibbs school.
"I liked the detail of the work," she says. Other graduates admit that they are marking time doing secretarial work.
"I didn't know what else to do," admits another graduate, who has an education degree. "I didn't want to teach. I'm glad I went to Katie Gibbs because now I am very marketable." She disagrees with people who think that Gibbs graduates are just looking for husbands.
"There were a lot of [graduates with] liberal arts degrees who needed a way to get into business," she says. "There are not that many jobs you can just come out of college and do. A lot of the Gibbs graduates go far."
Susan Freeman completed the one year program at Gibbs.
"I always wanted to be a secretary," she says. "When I was a child and we played school, I was always in the 'office.'" After graduating from Gibbs in 1966, she held various jobs throughout the country, including the Northeast and California. But soon something began to bother her.
"I had been brought up to think a guy in a station wagon would drive by and pick me up, and that would be it." she says. "But he kept on passing me. I decided it was time to plan a career."
Today she runs her own business, giving employer's service seminars for managers and secretaries. One of her customers is the Gibbs School.
She thinks that a secretarial job is a very good one.
"In these times of economic fluctuation, there will always be a demand for secretaries." In the early 1970s she did have to do a lot of positive talking about secretarial work to combat the negative image it had.
"Working secretaries began to feel guilty," she says. "But today they are more assertive and have a positive attitude. They don't want to carry a briefcase or move across the country with promotions. They want to balance their business and personal life."