East Berry at Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46801
Photo: Virgil V. Marquart
(Approximate date of postcard - 1950's)
There was a career path that existed in Fort Wayne in the 80's.
Let me rewind and tell you how it went.
During high school, if you wanted a part-time job, one of your options (if you were lucky) was to work at Scott's or Rogers.
If you worked at Scott's or Rogers in high school, you started out as a cashier and if you were extremely lucky (aka - you kissed enough butt and you were good at what you did) you might just MIGHT have the opportunity to work in the "office" area.
The office was actually the spot where you took care of customers - cashing their payroll check, dispensing stamps, taking their utility bill payments. You also checked cashiers in and out, offered feedback to the head cashier about the people on the floor, and generally, you got to wreak havoc with peoples schedules (if you so desired).
The only time one of those coveted spots ever opened up (and mind you - they were only part-time) was if someone left. And people didn't leave unless they climbed to the next level of their career - a job as a bank teller at Lincoln National, Fort Wayne National, or Anthony Wayne Bank.
If you thought it was difficult getting a position at Scott's or Rogers, the jobs at the banks were nearly impossible. Usually, you had to be good friends with someone who already worked there or your parents had to be good friends with someone who was "someone" at the bank.
In 1985, I decided to apply for an opening at Anthony Wayne Bank. How did I know about it? I read about it in the Journal Gazette. There was a very modest sized ad in the help wanted area. Anthony Wayne Bank was looking for experienced cashiers to fill a part-time role in their downtown branch.
Downtown was always neat - but scary to me. Crowded...difficult to find a parking spot. The important types worked downtown. I wasn't sure that I would fit in. I sent in a resume and within two weeks, I was called by Human Resources. Could I come downtown for an interview and to complete the "required testing". Of course I could! I made sure to have my resume printed out on the nice, heavy, lightly colored parchment-type paper (3 copies - just in case) and I made sure that I took the day off from work and school so that everything could be perfect for my trip downtown.
I know exactly what I was wearing for my interview. I had on a just-below-the-knee, navy blue skirt (because everybody knows - navy blue is the color to wear to interviews), a nicely pressed white blouse with a feminine collar (and it complemented my face), and the icing on the cake was my blue patterned bow which brought my whole look together.
Side note: those of you who weren't my age in this era - no fair if you laugh. Believe me, you'll look back at what you were wearing when you were 18-19 and you will wonder...what the?!?!
The testing was SO easy. Let's see, I had to show I could add and subtract and divide and multiply. Woo Hoo! I also had to complete an application (which was four pages long) and which seemed to ask for the exact same information that my resume provided.
Side Note: Anyone else ever annoyed at how redundant all HR processes are?!
After the testing, I was ushered into a "waiting" room and I sat there for a good 30 minutes. HR came out, called me into one of their nice, windowed offices and just like that - they went into their list of questions.
Of course I was very charming but business-like and I could tell that the HR chick thought I was all that and a bag of chips.
Hmmmm.....I bet I had that job in the bag....
But no - she called me early afternoon and asked if I would be interested in a full-time teller position at one of their Freedom Branches (aka banks located in department stores). I calmly, but excitedly said YES! And the next day, I put on a similar interview outfit and made my way out to the Parkwest Shopping Center. Inside Heck's Department Store, I met up with the manager of that branch - Gloria.
Gloria was blond, pencil thin, harsh-looking, smoked like a chimney, and had one of those raspy voices. She wasn't very personable. In fact, I didn't think our interview went well at all. She was very monotone and offered me no feedback as she went through her list of questions.
An hour later though, I was offered the position.
I nabbed my first, full-time job and it was at Anthony Wayne Bank. The hours were squirly. I worked 11 am - 7:30 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; 2:30 pm -7:30 pm on Friday, and 8 am - 5 pm on Saturday. (Psssst....anything over 35 hours was considered "full time")
My starting salary was $16,100. I thought I was RICH.