Retro Reading: The Girls in the Office by Jack Olsen
If you work in an office then you already know the daily drama that you face. But, have you ever wondered where the drama comes from?
Of course it generally comes from your co-workers and the lives they lead away from the office.
In 1971, author Jack Olsen interviewed a variety of women who worked for a major company and published the interviews in what was probably a scandalous book at the time. By today’s standards the book probably wouldn’t be published.
I only became aware of the book since it’s the source material for one of my favorite made for TV movies of the same name. In this case, the movie is much better than the book.
The book follows fifteen women who work for The Company in New York. We’re never given the name of The Company, but, it sounds like a dream company to work for.
With office parties galore, three hour lunches, multiple vacation and time off (with never worrying about getting fired) who wouldn’t want to work for The Company? If you worked at this company you had a built in social life and were respected the world over.
Unfortunately, there was a downside to working here.
All of the women interviewed ended up having unst affairs with the men at The Company and their lives were turned upside down. Each interviewee is depressed and you can’t help but wonder what happened to them.
With their sexual exploits they make Looking for Mr. Goodbar seem tame (although one of the women mentions the murder of a school teacher but has no connection).
I had hoped that this would have followed the TV movie, but no such luck. It’s a depressing look at sex and the single girl in 1970’s New York.