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Helen Christene Hoerle.

The girl and the job online

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a year.

Librarians work principally in large pleasant build-
ings where in most of the rooms there is plenty of sun-
shine and fresh air. But the salaries are not, in many
cases, very large, and promotion in public libraries (at
least, in those of ISTew York City) is uncertain. Per-
haps the temptation occurs here more often than in
some other occupations, to neglect one's all-round de-
velopment as a human being, in the effort to get ahead
as a librarian. Ideally of course, this should not be
so. Knowing the danger, will help one to avoid it.

THE LAWYER

There always have been courts and judges ever since
there have been laws. Only recently, however, have
women tried to enter the field of law, and because of the
small number in the profession, there is not as yet very
much confidence placed in woman lawyers. But every
year more girls are entering upon the practice of law.
With this increase, more faith is being placed in them.

The girl with an analytical, logical mind, the power
of thinking clearly and of reasoning abstractly, is the
one who will make a good lawyer. A retentive mem-
ory, coupled with a keen insight into human nature, is
a valuable asset.



164 THE PROFESSIONAL WOMAN

There are two ways to train for the law. One is to
complete a college course, followed by one in law; the
other is to pass three or four years in a registered clerk-
ship to a lawyer. The former is by far the better but
more expensive way to study. Women will find that it
is virtually the only way open to them. Lawyers are
still skeptical about having women clerks in training
in their offices.

The college law course is from three to four years.
It gives a certain breadth and balance of thought that
only the most exceptional office-trained woman ever
gains. After graduation a student is required to pass
the " bar " examination before she can be admitted to
practise.

Women are not handicapped in competing with the
men in classes. One woman lawyer says that the girls
in law school, as in the general college courses, usually
win more prizes and scholarships than men in propor-
tion to their numbers.

The really important training comes after the embryo
lawyer passes the bar examination successfully and
enters upon her years of clerkship. This training is
imperative.

Law schools teach many things and train their stu-
dents to think logically, but being a graduate does not
necessarily mean being a lawyer. The graduate can
not at once establish herself in business. There are
many things about practice and pleading that can be
learned only by actual experience, which must be



THE LAWYER 165

gained as a clerk under the tutelage of a lawyer who
has had years of training and experience. It is not an
easy matter for a woman to get a position as a law clerk.
The prejudice she will meet all through her profession
begins right here. The girl who perseveres, however,
will make an opening for herself if she has the neces-
sary qualifications.

The salary of a law clerk varies from nothing to $15
a week. The hours are usually from nine to five, al-
though to succeed, a young lawyer must work patiently
morning, noon and even into the night.

Unlike most occupations where better training is
usually acquired in small firms than large ones, the
best legal training is secured in the big office of a suc-
cessful firm, where many cases are handled. Here the
clerk has a greater opportunity to study a diversity of
methods and to meet a diversity of emergencies.

A clerkship should be of at least two years' duration ;
the longer the better. If a clerk has " made good," she
is likely to be permitted to enter into an arrangement
whereby she can handle her own private practice through
the office with which she has been associated. At any
rate, it is not advisable to open an office to wait for
clients. Many young lawyers have either starved or
thought it necessary to go into some other work, usually
journalism or teaching, because they tried to work in-
dependently at the start. It is far safer to gather some
little practice before doing this.

Comparatively few women plead in court without



166 THE PROFESSIONAL WOMAN

specializing in some branch of the work. Specializing
in so new a field as the law still is to women, presents
many hazards which women will do well to avoid. Gen-
eral practice is safer and surer.

The returns at first are surprisingly small. It is
useless to quote figures for they vary so considerably as
to be no help in deciding upon law as a profession.
Woman is today in the process of finding her place in
law; it is not yet established.

Undoubtedly, the entrance of woman into the political
field is going to assist her progress as a lawyer. In the
states where there is woman suffrage, it is now generally
conceded that woman is a human as well as a feminine
being. It is rather taken for granted that the qualities
which make a man a good lawyer are human qualities
and not masculine qualities, and that a human being of
the opposite sex may therefore be a good lawyer too.

The very fact that more women are entering the
ranks every year seems to be the best indication of the
possibilities and opportunities which law holds out for
women. For the woman who desires a political career,
the law is a good background and foundation. The
women in suffrage states are beginning to prove this
admirably.

THE STATISTICIAN

Some colleges give courses in statistics and of course
a girl who is planning to go to college and later become
a statistician ought to study statistics while there.



THE STATISTICIAN 167

Although statistical work requires a special ability
which is rarely to be found, it does not unfortunately
pay unusually large salaries. A statistical clerk who
works under the direction of a superior receives $100 a
month or less; we regret to say, usually less.

Statistical work involving planning and interpreting
of an investigation pays from $1200 to $2000 a year.
Experts receive about $3000 annually. In the Federal
Government the director of the Census receives $7500
census year, $6000 other years. This is the highest
salary paid to a statistician.

Statistical work for women, as indeed for men, cannot
in every case be trained for as in other professions.
It requires some apprenticeship in the work itself to
show whether or not a girl has the fine discrimination
necessary to deal with the material subjected to statis-
tical analysis, the rare ability to think out facts in
numerical terms. Beginning as a clerk or in some other
office position, a girl who is able to master the details
involved in planning a study of the business or activity
she is engaged in, may become a first-class statistician.

Although the chances for positions are not very en-
couraging at present and the salaries small, in con-
sideration of the fineness of the work involved, the
opportunities are fortunately increasing. As good
statistical work becomes more appreciated and the need
for it is made more apparent, the salaries surely will
increase and the number of possible positions open
will be far greater.



168 THE PROFESSIONAL WOMAN

The world-wide call for efficiency and the world-wide
effort at organization and scientific handling of all
problems involving human need, are both factors which
will make the work of the statistician every year in
greater demand, and which will increase its significance
and social value.



AETS A1STD THE GIEL

To most of us the words " woman artist " call up a
picture of an attractive young girl garbed in a gay
smock and velvet tarn o'shanter, gracefully surveying a
half-finished picture on an easel before her. The pic-
ture fits very few cases.

The entire field of art work concerns two classes of
women and men. The first and by far the smallest
group is composed of professional painters who have
chosen art as a creative life work, a means of self-
expression and of creating for the world the beauty
they find in life. The woman who treads this path,
shares with her brother a hard road, bestrewn with
difficulties, not the least of which are the struggle to
master the art itself, and the struggle to make a living.

The other class is composed of commercial workers
in the field of applied art, such as stenciling patterns on
boxes, copying illustrations for advertising material,
executing designs made by the creative artist for jew-
elry, wall paper, stage scenery, textiles, etc. In most
cases they do absolutely no original work.

A course of highly specialized training is generally
a prerequisite. This can be obtained in numerous good
art schools. It differs, however, from professional train-
ing, in that the chances of permanent employment with
advancement are not so assured.

169



170 ARTS AND THE GIRL

To the girl who loves color, form, f ahrics, textiles or
design in any form, or who loves to fashion things with
her hands this field offers a numher of interesting oc-
cupations.

THE JEWELER

The art of designing and making jewelry is one that
a beauty-loving girl with original ideas may find most
delightful. It is not, however, always well paid. Ex-
quisite work in good shops is done by young women
graduates from the art schools who often receive about
$50 a month. The choice of this work is, therefore, a
matter for serious consideration. A girl not remarkably
endowed with talent in this direction should not enter
the field unless she already has at least a small income
assured. Beside the artistic ability required, she must
also have capacity for close and regular application to
work. If, besides such qualities, a girl has in addition
such executive ability that she could plan the disposal
of her wares herself, she may make a financial success.
This combination of abilities is rare, however.

There are many schools throughout the country where
the jeweler's craft may be studied. The courses are
usually about three years in duration and tuition is
from $15 to $20 a month, excluding cost of materials.

Instead of studying at a school, a girl may enter a
shop and learn there as an apprentice. She would earn
from $3 to $4 a week during her apprenticeship. This
direct work under experienced craftsmen is sometimes



THE JEWELER 171

considered more valuable than schooling. The salary
would increase to $10 or $15 a week. A very limited
few will in time receive $30 a week.

If a girl wishes to start in business for herself, she
must spend much in equipment. The best tools are ex-
pensive, materials dear, besides the usual rent and ad-
vertising. Advertising for the craftsman jeweler is an
especial expense because it must be done in those
magazines which reach people of means, who can afford
luxuries. Of course a girl with artistic gifts and
personality combined may find ways of advertising
among her friends and acquaintances that will be most
valuable. One difficulty is that the majority of people
still cling to conventional jewelry and do not appreciate
the beauty of craftwork. The usual stereotyped set-
tings suit the taste of most people, just as clothes cut
in fashion do.

It requires almost nothing but mechanical ability to
work for a great firm where the production of jewelry
is an industry and art is lost sight of. Here untrained
girls are wanted. The hours are long, the work weary-
ing and tedious, and the wages are at first low. The
work is especially hard on the eyes and becomes too
often a mere grind. Foreigners are most frequently
employed.

Few people realize that jewelry should have in-
dividuality and suit the owner's personality. When
this idea is general, the art of making craft jewelry
will be more lucrative than now.



172 ARTS AND THE GIRL

THE INTERIOR DECORATOR

Perhaps none of the vocations open to women seem
to be surrounded with a more roseate glow than that of
interior decorator. Numerous girls love to handle
pretty things, to plan the furnishings of a room and to
place furniture. It is as instinctive with them as the
tying of a hair ribhon. But interior decorating means
a great deal more than this. It is a business. A girl
who expects to be successful must have executive ability
as well as artistic sensibility.

Various art schools are now offering a special course
of two or three years in interior decoration, costing
perhaps $100 a year tuition. This course includes the
study of form, color, line, architectural detail, period
furniture, etc. Every possible branch of art is included
in interior decorating, for all beautiful things are used
to ornament houses, paintings, furniture, needlework,
tapestries, sculpture and porcelains. Therefore, a dec-
orator must be well informed in all branches of art.
The decorator is never through studying. She must
read continually the best that is written pertaining to
her profession, so as to be well acquainted with what
is new.

A beginner should obtain a position as assistant with
an interior decorating house. In this position she will
gain a fund of valuable information that she will never
get if she starts in business for herself directly after
her art training. A beginner often works for months



THE INTERIOR DECORATOR 173

without any salary and in those months she often
obtains as much useful knowledge as she ever learned
at art school. She is trained in methodical business
methods through contact with the trade and in con-
fidence through meeting clients. When she has gained
all this experience and is really worth a salary, she is
given a very small one at the beginning.

More experience is gained if a girl works for an in-
dividual decorator than for a large concern where the
work is so subdivided that each one must particularize.
An assistant would have perhaps $8 to $10 a week to
start, working up to from $25 to $30 a week in a few
years.

To start in business for herself, a girl must be as
well trained in the business end as in the artistic. A
patron will not be satisfied with work, no matter how
well executed, if it is not finished when promised. In
almost the same way as the architect, an interior dec-
orator must be able to deal with all classes of work-
men. As the mason, painter, cabinetmaker, uphol-
sterer, all come within her realm, she must make them
live up to their contracts, so that she may live up to
hers.

Then, too, a decorator must know the stock of each
wholesale and importing house with which she deals,
what the manufacturers are making, and the new objects
of art the various art dealers have on hand. In short,
she must know every intricate detail connected with
her profession. She must know how to receive sugges-



174 ARTS AND THE GIRL

tions from her clients and how to correct them in such
a way as to make them think they are doing it them-
selves. Infinite tact and patience are required.

When a girl starts in business, her advance depends
much on her circle of friends. However, if a decorator
carries out successfully one important commission, she
is apt to be " made " from that time on. Her work
helps very much to advertise her.

One of the best known women decorators makes an
average of about $75,000 yearly after being in the busi-
ness for ten years. Few of course reach this high salary
but there isn't any reason why a young woman with
ability and social opportunities should not find the work
congenial and remunerative.

THE LANDSCAPE GARDENER

Love and appreciation of natural beauty mark the
well-developed, rational human being. The landscape
gardener has to have more than this, for she is the one
who is able to see the possibilities for natural beauty in
a place and knows what methods to pursue to accentuate
and bring them out. The landscape gardener who suc-
cessfully handles a park, for instance, makes the be-
holder feel that most of the beauty was developed spon-
taneously, and at most has been merely cared for by
man. Some of the most beautiful parts of many parks
fulfil this requirement. They seem to be primeval
Nature. But you learn that these very places are the



THE LANDSCAPE GARDENER 175

ones designed by the hand of a clever landscape gar-
dener. A girl requires both a passionate love of outdoors
and all growing things, besides a capacity for hard
work, in order to become a successful landscape gar-
dener. She needs artistic ability, mechanical applica-
tion, and, most of all, perfect health.

Formerly the owner of a great estate had a place of
beauty only if he or one of his family or gardener
chanced to have special gifts in this direction. But
today the millionaire who has no artistic ability hires
a professional landscape gardener to tackle the problem
of his hills and valleys.

Because of the comparative newness of the profes-
sion, there are few schools where landscape gardening
is taught adequately. They give on the whole too little
architectural training and not enough practical study in
shrubs and trees. A knowledge of architecture is ab-
solutely essential. The courses are from two to four
years. Some of the best courses available are found in
the state universities, where tuition is free to residents
of the state. Experience in the office of a good landscape
gardener should follow the college course. This is in-
dispensable, for practical knowledge of the workings
of an office is not gained in any school at the present
time.

In the office a girl will be somewhat handicapped by
the tendency which prevails to keep the girl at whatever
office work presents itself and to send a man on the out-
side work. She should try to overcome this, as the prac-



176 ARTS AND THE GIRL

tical experience is a necessary accessory to all her
theoretical knowledge.

A girl is not supposed to be able to stand the hard-
ships of weather and poor accommodations as well as a
man. She will not be able to, either, unless she adapts
her clothes as perfectly to the work as a man does. In-
-cidentally it may be remarked she can do this without
sacrificing her good looks, which no woman, no matter
how much of a landscape gardener she may be nor how
great her desire for success may be, would wish to do.
Thanks to the progress of the last few years, women may
buy good-looking garments, including shoes, which are
comfortable and adapted to every sort of outdoor emer-
gency.

The plea that women cannot carry, as a rule, the
heavy surveying instruments may be true, but they must
make themselves so valuable in other ways that this one
fault will be overlooked. A girl must be alert to every
opportunity in order not to have this side of her train-
ing curtailed, and the draughting and theoretical side
overemphasized.

OFor the first year or so, such work is not going to be
very well paid. A girl may receive $5 a week for the
first three months, and then perhaps be raised to $7 or
$8 and later to $10. It certainly isn't much for a college
graduate but she must remember she is gaining experi-
ence which is more important than money just then.

As in many other kinds of work a girl's own natural
ability will in good measure determine the rapidity of



THE ARCHITECT 177

her success. When she has some money saved and feels
that she is capable of planning and executing her own
work, she may begin to think of going into business on
her own account.

It is a good plan at first for the girl who has decided
to strike out for herself in landscape gardening to take
desk room in a reputable architect's office, and to ask
his cooperation in securing clients. If he should rec-
ommend her to his clients, that would afford her at
once some work to do. Her success would then measure
her increase in business. The girl should always re~>
member that satisfied customers are her best advertise-
ment.

It is impossible to say what the income might be. At
any rate, it would be decidedly fluctuating.

The field is a rather new but entirely desirable one
for women. The very tangible results of the successful
landscape gardener are always a joy and a keen delight
to the one whose beauty-loving spirit and practical, keen
mind brought them into being.



THE ARCHITECT

Architecture is an art involving a knowledge of many
other arts and trades. For this reason perhaps, women,
who are still only breaking the ice of work in the out-
side world, are not yet great successes as architects.

Women ought to be able to plan houses which are real
homes, better than men. In the future, they probably



178 ARTS AND THE GIRL

will. But so few women have the necessary mechanical
ability that thus far few women have succeeded.

Architecture requires a beautiful adjustment of
mechanical ability, artistic gifts and business capacity.
Add to these tact and diplomacy, if an architect desires
to attain the ideal. Tact is necessary, for she has to
meet all classes of people, both those engaged in the
building trades and her own clients.

Perhaps in no art or trade is perfection more de-
manded than here. Architecture demands a knowledge
of the activities and the inner life of human beings,
and ability to represent in drawings such a building as
would make these activities happily possible.

Besides the actual planning of a building, the ar-
chitect must be well acquainted with the problems of
lighting, heating and plumbing. She must have a
knowledge of woods, papers, fabrics and the processes
of construction. There is always something new to be
learned and studied and some new building material to
be used. The gamut of art, industry, commerce and
business is run. It is a prospect that may readily fas-
cinate the girl who has diverse gifts.

This is the advice which a well-known woman ar-
chitect who has been in business in New York City
for many years has to give to girls : " I should try to
dissuade any girl from entering the field. I have known
too many to fail. I have had in my office in the last
fifteen years, twenty different girls. Not one of them
had the strength of character to become an architect.



THE ARCHITECT 179

" Women today demand an equality with men and
then are shocked to get it. In architecture women deal
principally with men and the supposed weakness of
their sex is ignored. A woman architect is treated as
an architect, not as a woman."

It is interesting to note that this architect does not
think the girls who entered her office were inherently
disqualified for success in their work, but only that the
social adjustment was too difficult for them to cope with.
Of course this would be less of a problem today than
it was five years ago. Conditions have changed and
women are entering every field of activity in greater
numbers each year.

Courses in architecture are offered in nearly every
college, and may be completed in three or four years.
The entrance requirements are often not as strict as
for other courses. Training in the best university is
desirable, but if a girl cannot afford to go to a school of
the highest class she would do better to enter an ar-
chitect's office and get her education there.

Because men are not particularly keen in this branch
of art, about having women as co-workers, it may be
necessary to study typewriting and stenography in order
to get a job in an architect's office. A girl who makes
herself indispensable will stand a good chance of being
allowed finally to study architecture.

The majority of architects who have not been for-
tunate enough to have a college education, have entered
offices, first as draughtsmen, drawing plans worked out



180 ARTS AND THE GIRL

by another person. The first year a young draughts-
man will receive $10 a week, but it must be remembered
she is being trained. The second year her salary will
be increased to $12 or $14. Some workers, it is true,
remain draughtsmen and never become full-fledged
architects. Their salary will never amount to more than
from $25 to $35 a week, even after long years of work.

A girl who passes the draughtsman stage and desires
further advancement in architecture, may after good
experience decide to open her own office. This of course
demands money. It is too bad, but it is often true, that
her success will depend, at first anyway, more upon her
circle of friends and acquaintances who will patronize
her, than upon whether or not she is really a good ar-
chitect.

Time alone will determine her ability. Her income
will vary as much as will that of a doctor, lawyer or
dentist and will usually be surprisingly small for the
first few years after she has started out for herself.
She can seldom reckon from one year to the next, for
it may be larger this year and appallingly small next
year.

The field is one of the most promising as far as op-


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Online LibraryHelen Christene HoerleThe girl and the job → online text (page 11 of 17)