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19 Things Every '90s Employee Did That They'd Never Do Now

Posted by Amy Elisa Jackson

Last Updated January 31, 2017
|2 min read

We heart the '90s. Not only was it the era that gave us Pulp Fiction, Boyz n the Hood and Office Space, but it was also a time of economic prosperity. The U.S. economy grew by an average of 4 percent per year between 1992 and 1999. An average of 1.7 million jobs a year were added to the American workforce. Plus, the unemployment rate dropped from nearly 8 percent in 1992 to 4 percent — that is, effectively zero — at the end of the decade.

Looking back at the era of beepers and brick cell phones, we thought it would be fun to examine how different '90s company culture was compared to the office environments of today. What did we do in the '90s that now seems downright retro to modern day employees? Read on and enjoy the flashback.

Employees in the '90s...

1. ...Kept resumes on a diskette.

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2. ...Took a real lunch hour—yes, an hour.

3. ...Came into work sick, coughing and sneezing. Sickness was not actually considered a valid reason for taking a sick day.

4. ...Had relatives who described their jobs as “works with computers.”

Apple Macintosh 128k from 1984, the vintage iMac

5. ...Carried a briefcase that may or may not have simply contained a sandwich.

6. ...Had the 'Rachel' haircut or the Meg Ryan.

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7. ...Read the entire newspaper daily.

8. ...Handed out business cards regularly.

9. ...Tried to sneak and listen to Nirvana on a Discman or Walkman in a cubicle.


10. ...Only took "the company laptop" on work trips.

11. ...Left work on a Friday and headed straight to Blockbuster to rent a movie.

12. ...Waited impatiently for dial-up AOL internet.

aol dial up

13. ...Handed out promotional pens to potential clients.

14. ...Researched topics using the Encyclopedia Britannica.

15. ...Listened to the constant, screeching buzz of the printer as it prints documents on continuous paper (for use with dot-matrix and line printers).

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16. ...Enjoyed an expensed lunch with plenty of booze.

17. ...Browsed a Rolodex card before picking up the phone to dial a contact.

18. ...Faxed reports to the "main office."

19. ...Carefully guarded the stapler, three-hole punch, scissors and calculator.



TELL US! What were some of your nostalgic memories about working in the '90s? Share on Facebook @Glassdoor

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