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She Was a Faithful Aide to a 'Mad Dog'

May 05, 1991

I read, with bemusement and sorrow, your April 24 article on female clerical workers ("Still Hot Under the Pink Collar"). I have been laughing for five years over a man for whom I used to work part time. I shall call him "Mad Dog." He was a CPA.

I worked very faithfully for him and attained a level of perfection, which is a very rare thing in the working world. I could type a 14-page financial statement (including two pages of extra-wide spreadsheet) in three hours. I could input on the computer a year's worth of corporate checks, and there would never be a single typo in the printouts. When Mad Dog was out of the office, I typed his letters from dictation tapes and laid them on his desk, knowing that they were letter-perfect.

After working for that man for more than two years, I made a bank deposit for him one day just before Easter. A young female co-worker had made up the deposit slip and the total amounted to more than $5,000. Unaccountably, the bank lost $20 out of the deposit. Mad Dog accused me of stealing the $20 and could never get over this false notion.

I had been hired as a secretary and had been promised I would never have to involve myself with any bookkeeping. But with my boss's encouragement, I reluctantly agreed to take Accounting 1A. I studied very hard and received an "A" at the end of the semester. I was duly paid a bonus of $300, as I had been promised, for my excellent work in the class. Weeks later, Mad Dog hinted that I might have been lying about receiving an "A" in the class, and that it was a good thing I had finally brought in my official grade report from the junior college.

During a party at his home, as I was lifting a forkful of dessert, Mad Dog suddenly blurted out: "Did you ever find that $20, Susan?"

One cool October day, Mad Dog complimented me on how lovely I looked in my new wool skirt and sweater. Then he felt compelled to add: "I think new clothes are very nice, Susan, but I would rather see a woman wear the same old clothes to work every day and have good character ."

That was the last straw. I had finally reached the point where I was saying to myself: "I am innocent. Why should I stay?" I had learned what kind of man he was. He refused to apologize and even denied that he had ever said anything amiss when I told him exactly why I felt it was necessary for me to leave.

I feel just like the heroine in the movie "Out of Africa," who said, "There are some things in the world that are worth having, but they come at a price. And I want to be one of them."

SUSAN L. NAFZIGER

San Gabriel

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