On The Job

Registrar of Voters, Orange County.

My first full-time job involved processing voter’s affidavits. Which is to say, tedium and monotony forty hours a week. The very definition of mind numbing. The office was located in Santa Ana, CA. In 1978 there were no office computers, rather, microfiche was the go-to device to aid in the task of researching voter names and addresses.  I made corrections by hand to every affidavit in need of updating. Slow work. In addition, I was to answer phones and give assistance to callers. Election years were characterized by pressure, stress and working around the clock through the early morning hours.

Now for the nasty truth. Smoking was not prohibited in offices in 1978. I had co-workers beside me, behind me, and virtually throughout the entire office, smoking at work. We were all tired by the end of the day, the smokers looked especially haggard. PSA: Do you want to look old and dried up? Then smoke.

Times have definitely changed. Cell phones and computers command attention. Microfiche is a relic. I have not been back to Santa Ana to confirm whether the Registrar of Voters remains where I left it. But, I have to assume the office no longer sanctions smoking at work.

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