It's all in a day's work for the Personnel Office to hire four new caretakers for the maintenance department, advise the Yard cop about his old age insurance, or maybe settle a difficulty for some secretary over in University Hall.
Staying out of the spotlight, yet efficiently meeting the employment needs of a Harvard at war, this busy little office located in Wadsworth House now has the task of regulating and adjusting the problems of over 3,700 University employees.
Since the war the Personnel Office has tripled its department and now has a staff of over 12. "We were well organized when war came," said Gladys H. McCafferty, head of the department, "it was merely a matter of expansion."
Dining Hall Situation Acute
War has created some pretty thorny problems for the Personnel Office to tackle. Toughest problem now facing the department is the dining hall short-age. This situation has become so acute that an appeal was made recently in Cambridge churches urging people to help; and appeals have also been made to the Navy men's wives in an effort to utilize all available labor in Cambridge. Strange paradox of the situation is that in some occupations the department still has a waiting list.
Another big increase in employment demand since the war has resulted from the new research projects undertaken by the University. The Personnel Office has charge of hiring all help for these new projects and the problem is even more difficult now that there are so many government agencies also competing for secretaries, Miss McCafferty said.
Advice in Abundance
"Advice? Oh, we give plenty of that," said Miss McCafferty with a smile. "One of our main duties is instructing Harvard employees about their insurance, their pensions, or other problems." The office also has charge of interviewing all applicants, checking on their citizenship, loyalty, character, and references. Wage setting and employees' labor problems are also a part of the department's work. Biggest headache of the office comes in checking on all government regulations.
Established in 1931, under the Lowell administration, the Personal Office has a comparatively short history. Under its first head, Augustus L. Putnam '20, the bureau was set up to centralize all employee records and to unify all employment around the college. Putnam ran the Office from 1931 to 1934, when Miss McCafferty took over.