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1950s Businessmen: a Study in Early Success

Updated on May 2, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

This is a 2017 businessman. He is casually-dressed, sharp-thinking, hard-working, dedicated to "making it."
This is a 2017 businessman. He is casually-dressed, sharp-thinking, hard-working, dedicated to "making it." | Source

Please, Just Take a Look at This

businessman seen so frequently in bigger cities of America in 2017. He is every businessman and at the same time, his own man. He can be a loner, a free thinker, but with a hard-driving desire to succeed even if people get their feelings hurt. No fowl! Even his grandpa now retired and living easily on his stock options and highly-lucrative stock investments had to make cold decisions to get food on his bride's table and kids.

Grandpa sometimes stares from his bay window watching his prize dogs playing in his huge front yard that takes a team of gardeners to keep it manicured. This is success, young people. It was for grandpa's time when youth was afire. Even with the teeming men just like the guy in the above photo, he is focused, ready to work hours of overtime to get one more successful client that no one in the company could land. This is success, young people.

Here he is. Grandpa now retired. Successful was his middle name. He never said no to working a few days before heading home. He knows the in's and out's of big business.
Here he is. Grandpa now retired. Successful was his middle name. He never said no to working a few days before heading home. He knows the in's and out's of big business. | Source

You Probably Thought That I

did not have an artist's conception of grandpa now retired as I wrote in the first of my piece. Isn't this man distinguished? Even his suits are sharp as knives just like the creases in this dress pants. In the beginning when this now-C.E.O. was a young man fresh out of college, he had a dream and went for it. Not allowing others form his thinking or wilt down his fiery opinion of himself. He told his dad that he was a man's man and look at him now.

Sure it took this stately-looking man many years of hard work to get up each rung of the "ladder of success," but as his best buddy in college told him, "we are gonna be big, Bob. You just watch us," and "Bob" listened. Sad though that his best friend, "Hal," died of a cardiac arrest from working himself to death starting in the mail room, but as grandpa the C.E.O. thought many times, "that's the breaks when you are a 1950s successful business executive."

The businessman of 1950s is tough-minded, hard-charging, but always letting his teeth shine brightly because he knows the value of a winning smile.
The businessman of 1950s is tough-minded, hard-charging, but always letting his teeth shine brightly because he knows the value of a winning smile. | Source

Now it's Time for

us to talk in length about what it was like when the 1950s businessmen "ruled the roost," while their wives were taught from early girlhood to keep the house, cook the meals and take care of the children. Sure this is making some sensitive-minded liberal females, but the businessmen of the 1950s were men right down to the core. From their unfiltered cigarette-smoking (in every business in town) to a few hard drinks with the guys when 5 p.m. came around.

Women in this grand era were not of liberation status. Yet. But as the 1950s were not only prospering, but fading with each day as the sun went down. But make no never mind to the businessmen of the 1950s. These guys were at work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the overtime it took to get the job done. These were tough men in how they talked tossing in a few salty words in the private gym locker rooms they belonged to as well as in the backyard grilling steaks with "Tony"and "Judy" their next door neighbors who were always in awe of this 1950s businessman and his lovely wife.

Where were the children? The "Billy's" and "Pamela's" were not yet born because the successful businessmen of this timeframe had made a social decision to not have children until "he" had a good foot hold inside his company which meant more money, responsibility, and plenty of credit in the business sector.

What a doll! Isn't she sharp? Even the ads in the prosperous 1950s matched how the pretty women appeared in the ads.
What a doll! Isn't she sharp? Even the ads in the prosperous 1950s matched how the pretty women appeared in the ads. | Source

A Short Intermission to Tell you

that this woman who appears in a certain big soda company is dressed almost in a risqué fashion because no lady worth her household would dare show this much leg in the 1950s. But this was the time when the husbands dressed in suits and shined shoes tapped the office floors and sidewalks to pound home the success found for a new business to start up in towns like New York City or Los Angeles, California.

Notice this guys arched eyebrows  meaning he is important for one and all to see.
Notice this guys arched eyebrows meaning he is important for one and all to see. | Source

"Notice the guy (above) and his arched eyebrows. This is a dead give-away that tells his friends and coworkers that he is a man of respect, means, and to be looked upon as a powerful and successful. All because of the arched eyebrows."

The businessmen of the 1950s are always sharp-dressed seven days a week for one never knows when a new business lead will take place.
The businessmen of the 1950s are always sharp-dressed seven days a week for one never knows when a new business lead will take place. | Source

Snappy Remarks From 1950s Businessmen:

  • "Cowboy," "Sport," and "Pal": these nick-names were said by the 1950s businessmen when they did not have time to learn the young men's real names who worked part-time in their offices, but just never made the effort to go upward like their dad's and grandpa's.
  • "Spark me, buddy": this remark was made by two guys in the office who smoked and I mean smoked without bridling their nicotine urges. Instead of saying, "Give me a light, will ya?" some of these sharp-thinkers in the office would wink and say "Spark me, buddy," and both would head to their office for coffee, a late afternoon drink of whiskey or vodka and then to the club for more drinks with their clients celebrating a successful relationship with their wives and then home to the devoted wives.
  • "Get after it": was a commonly-said phrase by office managers who would say to newbies in the office something similar to this phrase which meant for them to get fired up and get the business to sign with them or else.
  • "Getting the boot": was another way to tell a hard-working guy who just couldn't handle the stress that he was fired. Yes, this was a cold gesture, but it was true.
  • "Check her out": every woman reader should know that 1950s businessmen would softly say this to a male coworker about some pretty secretary that they had not seen in the office.
  • "What's for grub, hunee?": of course, when the 1950s businessmen were not having after-office drinks at the club with clients, the husbands being tired and hungry would call ahead to see what their lovely wife was preparing for dinner.

A Talk With a 1950s Businessman (in First Person)

"Hey, sport," my name is "Bill," I love to have my photo snapped that is when I can stop long enough to be still. You see. I am a man on the go. I see many clients in meetings in my company each day that is sent. From 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, I have to get the job done no matter how tough the road may be. I am a 1950s businessman and I need to share a few things about my 1950s businessmen and my friends:

  • I get up around 6:30 in the morning. I take a shower, shave, and slap on the sharp-smelling after-shave. I have to look and smell great for when I look and smell great, I will do great things. I know it. Just ask my office manager, "Jim," he told me just last week that he likes my after-shave and winked. That can only mean one thing: I am on the way up.
  • My lovely wife, "Carlene" and I have been married over ten happy years. We married just after I graduated from college. "Carlene" was the top student of her sorority and was Cuma Sum Laude in English. I am a lucky guy to have a doll like her cleaning, cooking, and dong the marketing. Yes, sir. I am pretty lucky.
  • I like my usual breakfast consisting of two eggs over easy, two slices of bacon, one piece of buttered toast, black coffee and orange juice--fresh, not that stuff my wife gets in the supermarket. While I am eating with "Carlene," she enjoys her meal while I eat and read the daily paper at the same time. Hey, I have to be able to do more than one task at every waking time when people all know that I am a 1950s businessman.
  • I get behind the wheel of my almost-new Chrysler, four door, air conditioned, and looks neat, sport. I wave at the wife, check my hair in the rear view mirror and in fifteen minutes I drive downtown to my company that was established in the early 1930s by a duo of hard-working brothers and now the company has just opened its tenth office on the Eastward Seaboard.
  • When I get off of my elevator, I walk to my office on the third floor, speak to "Martha," a sharp-looking gal who is my "girl Friday," she takes care of my heavy appointments, meetings and when my wife's birthday and anniversary is near and always reminds me that it's time for me to fork out a few hundred bucks to make "Carlene" happy. That's the way when you are man in the successful 1950s when American business was really booming.
  • "Tom," my best buddy, and golfing partner, pops into my office and we catch up on the latest office gossip (including what "Martha" is wearing, man oh man), smoke an unfiltered cigarette and slip ourselves a "morning pick-me-up" made from an ounce or two of good Kentucky bourbon. Yes, us 1950s businessmen have a social agreement that us men, the "bread winners" are entitled for an early morning nip.
  • And after a two-hour lunch with my office pals, we get back to the office and we take off early to play a round or two of golf with a couple of new business clients who love to drink cold beer found on their golf carts and by six p.m., we are all about bagged with all of the whiskey and beer we all have consumed, but it was worth it. The new clients gladly signed with us and only God knows what they signed as well as us, but like I said, my "girl Friday," shapely "Martha,' a newlywed has taken charge of what I signed and she said I was okay.

When you are a 1950s businessman, you are successful because you are always on the go.
When you are a 1950s businessman, you are successful because you are always on the go. | Source

Male Readers, Does This Photo

bring back a lot of good memories for you? I know that most of you men are now happily retired and married and why shouldn't you be happy? You earned every minute of it. Hey, just take a good, long look at the businessman of the 1950s below and see how he is smartly-dressed from his hat to his briefcase that holds all of the "ammunition" he needs to impress a new business that he is to meet around 10 a.m.

I can only wonder now in 2017, when and where did the evolution of manly businessmen in the prosperous 1950s start to roll? I am honest. I was born in 1953 and where I was born in rural northwest Alabama and to us, there was no such thing as businessmen (who looked like the ones on this hub) like we knew in our home county. We were mostly a people of farmers and rural people with the exception of a few merchants who their dads and grandpa's handed over to when their sons had become experienced enough to "take the reins" of their businesses.

But those days are gone. I mean it. I cannot find one solitary hard-charging businessman such as the ones I have told you about in this hub. Oh, I see their counterparts in 2017 (see the guy at the very top of this story) with their designer sweaters with wives named "J.J.," and "Muffy," but in today's business fronts the wives are as much the breadwinner as their husbands.

It's a new day, America. Us guys had better get used to this change.

It sure cannot hurt.

And a good night to: Des Moines, Iowa.

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 4 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Sakina :)

      I am very grateful for your talent and friendship in reading/commenting on my hubs.

      May God bless you richly.

      Stay cool and peaceful. Write me anytime.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 5 months ago from Kuwait

      Great hub, dear buddy. I never imagined businessmen to be this smart and work-lovers. Such an interesting hub and you've brought out so many details of this topic. Enjoyed reading it. :)

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, MizBejabbers,

      Thank you so much for your kind remarks.

      In light of my always giving long replies, I am going to give you something to think about concerning THIS hub.

      "I guess that I have been reading too much from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson." Check out some of his essays.

      What a surprise you will get.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 5 months ago

      Oh boy, my dear friend, Kenneth. I wondered what you'd been smoking until I got to the end. Very funny, indeed. Did these people ever exist? I'm a southerner, too, and we all asked "what's 9 to 5? If these people existed in the South, it must have been in Houston or Atlanta. In our little town, some of the "fine" merchants and insurance salesmen wore suits, but that was about all. Of course back then I wasn't around businessmen very much. My mom at one time worked for a congressman in his local office, but she gave that up for the "honor" of raising a family. Yep, those were the days, my friend.