Office Discipline in 1922

The Catholic Man Show

The following is taken from: Post, Emily. Etiquette. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company,  1922.

Business Office Discipline:

A business organization is, or should be, like a military one. You should take as much pride in helping to keep up the tone of the office you work in as you take pride in your own efficiency.

In preparatory schools boys are always taught to honor the spirit of the school. An employee ought to have that same feeling for the spirit of the organization or the office he works for. He and his associates, his superiors, his inferiors, are fellow members who add to the firm’s importance — and their own– or undermine it and themselves.

The possession of tact whereby you know how to please people and make them pleased with your firm is one of the surest ways of getting an increase of salary. To put on airs and think yourself too good for your job is pretty close to “asking for” a job not half as good as the one you hold.

No matter how well her employer may know her out of business hours, he must in the office call his stenographer “Miss Jones” and not “Katie.” It is still more necessary that she address him as “Mr. Smith,” and that, when she enters his office and is asked a single question, she either say “Yes, Sir,” or “No, Sir,” or if she objects to “Sir,” “Yes, Mr. Smith,” or else follow her monosyllable with a short sentence. Certainly nothing makes a poorer impression on a visitor than a dialogue such as the following:

A young woman (or man) answers the president’s bell. President: “Haven’t my railroad tickets come yet?” Young Woman: “No!” Exit.


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