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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Asa T. Spaulding, April 14, 1979. Interview C-0013-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Working long hours at the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company

Spaulding describes the punishing work hours he put in at the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company to be sure that it could file its annual statement on time. He seems to shrug off the work ethic that his schedule demanded: "Well, the job required it," he says.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Asa T. Spaulding, April 14, 1979. Interview C-0013-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

See, after I left there in 1918, my knowledge of what was going on was limited. Because I was in school. You see, I came here. And during the summers I didn't go back, because I worked at North Carolina Mutual while I was at National Training School. That was from 1924 on. From 1924 to 1932 I was in school. Except the time I was working at North Carolina Mutual, the two years I was out, from '25 to '27. So I lost my connection, I mean this follow-up. And then after I got here, with all the work I had at North Carolina Mutual those first five or six years. Coming in and trying to set up an actuary department and trying to do all the research and the records. My days, sometimes, ran from eight-thirty in the morning to twelve or one o'clock at night. And from January first until March the first, I would go to work at eight-thirty in the morning, would have lunch up there, would come home for dinner about six or seven o'clock, go right back up there, and work. I have worked as late as three o'clock in the morning. And come home and get mabe four hours of rest, eat breakfast, and be back up there at eight-thirty in the morning. That was from January the first until March the first when we were working on our annual statement. Because it was all done manually then. I had to crank out the reserves on all the insurance on a Freeden calculator. We did not have the computers. So I know what work means.
This work ethic that we were talking about—we were talking about your father earlier—do you think that that comes from….
Well, the job required it. Under the law that statement had to filed in the insurance department on March the first. And there were no excuses. And there was a penalty. I think the penalty was fifty dollars a day for every day it was late.
But you didn't have to accept that challenge. Not everybody would have been that ambitious.
Well, the job required it, and if you were going to hold the job, you had to do it. Because if you couldn't do it, somebody would have to. And after we got the original copy, we had to make copies for eight states and three or four copies for the office. And that had to be copied by hand. All of those schedules, all of the securities, all bonds had to be listed individually, all stocks, all mortgages, all real estate, all the different assets. That was all done by hand. So we had to get that statement out in time for copies to be made manually, to be filed in every state in which we operated by March first. I remember one Sunday, we met up there. Even the president was there. We had about thirteen copies. And each person had a copy of that statement. And we went line by line from the original, for them to check the figures.