Fri 18 Jun 2010
Here’a one for you: Back in my day when I first started working in corporate, smoking was allowed in the office!! Yes, people actually lit up in their offices and desks. Ashtrays were supplied like office products. I remember all the smokers had these cheap, ugly black ashtrays. In fact, giving a smoker a nicer more expensive ashtray as a Kris Kringle present during the holidays was very common. Now the cheap ashtray didn’t apply to the executives. They always had big, beautiful glass ashtrays. Cheap or expensive didn’t matter because by the end of the day we all smelled like ashtrays and were covered in a cloud of smoke from all the people in the office that smoked. Crazy, huh?
But you know what was crazier? I never noticed or thought there was anything wrong with it. I don’t know whether it was because my dad was a smoker and I had become accustomed to it at home or whether it was so pronounced in society back then that we never gave it a second thought.
I think it became noticeable when smoking was banned in office buildings. Once that happened we quickly became used to clean fresh air (at least as fresh as it can be in an office). We instantly knew who had gone outside for a cigarette break because when they came back to the office the cigarette smell was on their clothes. We had never noticed that before the smoking ban since the smell was with us 24/7.
Sometimes I think back and wonder how we ever accepted smoking in the office , in conference rooms, in bathrooms, in cafeterias, in lobbies, in…[fill in your memory here]. That’s one corporate custom we certainly don’t miss or want to see again.
Do you have a smoker story that stands out in your mind back in your day?