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Downtown, Suburban And Outlying Offices

A job in a small town will probably pay less than one in the city. However, living expenses will also be lower; and some people are happier in small towns than in cities.

The large offices of stores and banks, government agencies, utilities, and similar corporations usually are found in the downtown district. The executive offices of the large corporation also usually occupy a downtown location. In these offices the pace is brisk, the atmosphere sophisticated. The offices usually are supervised by an office manager, and the centralized service units are operated by trained supervisors.

The metropolitan atmosphere makes shopping and entertainment facilities so readily accessible that the workers usually spend more money than in more isolated surroundings. Also, the employee in the heart of the city generally must spend more for clothing than the worker in the suburban area.



Large companies now have been building their branches in sub-urban areas located along public transportation routes. More casual dress is appropriate in the offices of these companies. Parking facilities are provided, and car pools are operated by employees to reach work. Since food is a problem in these locations, the employing company may provide a lunch that is served free or at cost.

Government Jobs

At one time, the federal government was one of the highest paying employers of beginning office workers. This is not necessarily true today in every category.

Salaries vary in different parts of the country. They are generally lowest in southern cities and highest in northeastern and western urban areas.

In order to keep appointments to government positions outside politics, these jobs are secured by taking civil service examinations. Each applicant for a clerical job must pass the written test on verbal and clerical abilities and a performance test of skills. Promotion to the next job level is dependent, too, on passing a promotion examination.

Fringe benefits consisting of paid vacations, sick leave, paid holidays; periodic pay increases, liberal retirement, low-cost life insurance, group health insurance, and incentive awards are evaluated by the job candidate more heavily than in previous years. Clerks interested in foreign travel may secure an overseas civil service appointment for two years. Additional pay is given for out-of-the-country service.

Department Assignments

A new clerk may be assigned to a central service unit or to a special department, such as the sales department, purchasing department, the personnel department, advertising department, or the statistical department. A clerk might also be assigned to somedepartment within the financial division, such as the general bookkeeping department, cost accounting department, tax department, internal auditing department, or the credit department.

One person may be happiest in the duplicating or reprographics department while another may have little aptitude for machines and detest the work. One person may like the hectic life at the hub of the office activity, the sales office. A clerk with aptitude for figures and an analytic mind may find the work of the statistical department fascinating and have a potential for advancement to the point of designing the tabulating projects.

A clerk who does not like figures would not be happy in one of the financial offices. A clerk who enjoys typing tables is much sought after in the statistical department or in an accounting department.

A clerk who likes people better than figures would fit into the personnel office, where hiring, promotion, and firing take place. A clerk with a creative flair would be stimulated by the work of the advertising department.

In other words, employees should choose to work in a department where the employment will be attractive to them because of their temperament and aptitudes. A square peg in a square hole! There is a place for everyone, but everyone will not enjoy or succeed in the same job.

Part-Time Employment For Clerks

Employers seek the part-time services of experienced clerks during periods of clerical shortages and peak seasons. Budget-conscious employers keep their operating expenses reduced for the fiscal year by employing temporary help when needed.

Statistics indicate that during 1980, an average of 14.8 million people voluntarily worked fewer than thirty-five hours a week. A survey by Dartnell Institute reported that 84 percent of the responding companies use part-time employees. Working mothers comprised the largest segment, college students ranked next, and high school students followed.

Part-time employment can be found in virtually every occupation. There are openings for cashiers, receptionists, stenographers, secretaries, typists, and bookkeepers. Clerical workers constitute the largest number of people holding part-time jobs.

Persons seeking such work register for employment on special rush assignments and are called when needed. In some cases, the work can even be taken to the home of the part-time worker. One employment agency in New -York handles only special jobs and recruits all its workers from the homemaker category.

Many employment agencies supply only temporary office help, persons who do not want steady employment but who still enjoy keeping their hand in office work occasionally. The work provides not only supplementary income but also contact with the stimulating business world. Once you are a trained clerk, you will always be in demand.

Advantages of part-time work are:
  • The employee can select time of employment.

  • An individual can earn extra money when needed, such as at Christmas or for a vacation.

  • A lonely person can work to be in touch with other people.

  • A person has an opportunity to try a variety of jobs.

  • A beginning worker gains confidence from this experience.

  • An individual has an opportunity to explore different fields.

  • The employee has an opportunity to shop around for the "right" job.
The limiting factors in working with a temporary agency are:
  • The hourly wage is lower than a steady job would pay.

  • Fewer fringe benefits are given.

  • The employee is not eligible for periodic merit increases.

  • The individual must constantly adjust to new situations and changing environments.
The average salary range for part-time workers with general office skills is $4 to $5.50 an hour; specialized work pays more. If the employee works for a temporary personnel service, the agency pays the salary.
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