Writing about writing a book – Day 20

It is a day of rest although writers are ready and able to work on any given day at any hour of the day or night when an idea or thought comes to them.

I’m trying not to think, but that’s not working.

I’ve been going over the reasons for writing the first draft of the book 30 odd years ago and it had something to do with the fact I was working with personal computers and local area networking when both were in their infancy, and I wanted to blend this knowledge into a story.

Of course, I’d always wanted to write thrillers, and this presented the opportunity to use computers as a basis for a worldwide conspiracy.  How easy it is these days to do just that, but back in those days, it was a lot of hard work.

I remember sitting in a meeting when the company I was working for at the time had just implemented a network and personal computer to replace the mainframe and dumb terminals, also looking to leverage the new technologies of spreadsheets and word-processing, effectively making accounts staff more productive, and removing typists and moving into the world of centralized word processing.  It was not a new idea with Wangwriter, but using PC’s was.

One of the departmental managers got up to give his take on the new technology, this about six months after implementation, and after a lot of teething troubles caused mainly by people who were vehemently resisting change, and his message was, it should not be called ‘networking’, but ‘not working’, in reference to the number of times the network went down.

But this is a digression.  Computers are only a part of the story.

The story also goes back to a time when there was a clear demarcation between the management levels.  Management offices were oasis’s whereas the staff worked in a stark desert-like environment.  When one came to work for such an organization, it was with the belief that you start at the bottom, and over time, you work your way up the ladder.  There was, very definitely, class distinction, and the various management levels never mixed, at work or socially, except within their own level.

There were Managers, Assistant Managers, and Manager’s Assistants, a typing pool, a secretary, that young, or old, lady who did so many jobs for their boss, that these days it would be considered demeaning.  They were dedicated to their jobs and irreplaceable.  There was no such person as a Personal Assistant.

Nor was such a thing as sexual harassment.  One company I worked in where one of the Assistant Managers was sexually abusing an office girl, her complaints didn’t get a prosecution as it would now, it just had him transferred to another branch.  Reprehensible, yes, and thankfully no longer a problem, except of course, in Fifty Shades of Grey which apparently condones such behavior.

There were department heads, General Managers, and Board Members.  The upper management level and participants were in a world of their own, one few could ever aspire to.  This is the world in which Transworld, my fictitious (but based on a very real) company lives.

I have to work on my company structure to make sure it is right.

Now I have two charts.  A timeline, for both Bill, and the story, and a hierarchy for the office management and staff.

This is beginning to be more complicated than I thought.


© Charles Heath 2016-2020

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