The boss

Among the photos I rediscovered in my study yesterday are those of some of the bosses I had along the way. Several of the photos I found were of my manager when I worked for the Bell System, (the guy who hired me, and the guy who was my boss when I retired from Bell).

The photo below is one of the many taken during my days as an executive with the Bell System. Jean V T took the photo.  She was the professional  colleague who assembled a ‘history’ of the Population Association of America

I was part of this history as were the two demographers in the photo with me.  Larry, the guy in the middle, was famous for his reports on internal migration in the US.  Lisa, the gal at the left worked for me for a while. At the time the photo was taken, we three had been attending a farewell sendoff for another demographer, Leon, who was retiring after a long and distinguished career.  Leon was the fellow who devised the metaphor of the “pig in the python” for the baby boom. Leon had been my boss from my days working for the US Congress and he was one of my professors at Georgetown.  

Don’t you just love the big glasses and padded shoulders?  We gals were pioneers in the work place so please understand it took a while to figure out how we should dress.


 In the next photo I am seated with Jim, my favorite boss at Bell. We were at a party held at our co-worker’s house.  She happened to be married to the Arlington County Manager, so they entertained a lot.  Hence the bottles.  Once more I am in my giant glasses. 

 I had another dozen bosses when I worked for the Census Bureau.

 Although some of the nastier gossips at the Bureau said I changed bosses because I was kicked out of various places, that is simply not true.  The truth is I changed jobs from boredom, or because a boss was promoted and moved on. Or, in a couple of cases my organization lost its funding (I worked on various internal contracts with other agencies).

Folks who spent their entire 20-30 years doing the same job puzzle me.  They can’t understand how anyone could move around so much.  I can’t understand how anyone could spend 20-30 years in the same job. 

Below is one of my favorite bosses at the Census Bureau, Greg.  The shot was taken in Geneva when we attended a meeting of an economics group attached to the UN.  The two people with Greg are from the Russian delegation.  What fun we had. I worked with Greg on immigration and foreign-born reports.  We published a couple of reports and papers on these topics.


The next shot shows Paul, my boss when I worked in the Education Analysis Branch at the Census Bureau.  Paul was a former professor of sociology at the University of Michigan and he is dressed for a performance in a Renaissance Festival held on the Mall in Washington DC.  He wore his Florentine outfit when he played his fourteenth century Italian instrument ( a flute, I think).  The people with him are two of my coworkers and their wives.

 The photo below shows me with Art, a coworker at the Census Bureau when I first went to work there after I had retired from Bell.  Art was my boss in the Ethnic and Hispanic statistics Branch after I lost my position as a senior expert in foreign-born statistics when I was pushed out of my old job by the new “boy” boss. 

Fortunately, Art was my boss when I had a stroke toward the end of my work career. He was one of the most decent men I have ever known. He arranged for me to work part-time for the remainder of my time with the Census Bureau which ensured I had a retirement income.  


9 thoughts on “The boss

  1. I think Political Cartoons are absolutely essential. Biting humour is the only way to get at people who consider themselves above the run of the common people, hypocrites, bigots, self-serving politicians.

    Laughter is better suited to bring someone down than anger.


  2. Art deserves Kudos for not putting business before personnel. Rare in any time period. I had glasses pretty much just like those but I never could go the padded shoulders route.
    Except for one fellow, I had all marvelous bosses also.


  3. What a nice guy Art is, to make sure you had your pension.

    And what a lovely smile you have.

    I could place that first photo in the Eighties just by your clothes!


  4. Diane, you have inspired me to check my memory banks for how many total and how many good bosses I have had. Since I still only have one operational hand for counting on my fingers right now, I may have missed a few (my inaccuracy may really be cognitive deficits, but I’m blaming stroky digits!). Of about 12 bosses, five or six were really good. My boss when I retired was the best. I still count him as a good and true friend.

    And big glasses and shoulder pads from the past can never dim the impact of that smile! Your posts that draw from your professional experiences open a window to an area that I was woefully uneducated about but that I find fascinating. I’m so blown away that you knew the originator of “pig in the python”!


  5. Fascinated by the roll of your career. Thanks for sharing it. Aside from the personal (yes, always political), I think it’s useful to see the roll and toss of women’s work lives in late 20th century [and early 21st?], especially in government positions.

    Having ended work life by 20 years of self-employment–very long run in my resume–I missed some of the pluses and minuses you describe. “Decent” bosses, female or male, are always a treasure. Btw, what theory had us wearing those big frames?


  6. Sounds like you had an interesting career with a variety of jobs. i am with you – variety is the spice of life. I don’t see how anyone can do the same job for years without getting stale, bored or both.


  7. Hooray for good bosses like Art. I had one of those years ago who went way beyond the call of duty to help us during unusual circumstances when our son was born. I’ll never forget his kindness. Quite a contrast to some of today’s ruthless managers who seem to delight in cutting subordinate’s benefits and jobs.


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