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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, September 30, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 11

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-09-30/ed-1/seq-11/

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By Jane Whitaker,
Did you ever stop to think what a
different light it puts on a situation
if you look at it from the view point
of an optimist. I never thought so
much about it as I did yesterday,
when, prepared to listen to a condi
tion that would seem appalling, I
found one that in the light of opti
mism really lost most of its tragedy.
Having heard that there were
seven thousand stenographers out of
employment in New York City due to
"depression in business caused by
the war" I decided to discover just
what the situation was in this city.
The best source from which to ob
tain this information is the free em
ployment agencies of typewriter of
fices, for there you will find the army
of unemployed women sitting hope
fully or hopelessly around "waiting
for something to come in."
Every chair was occupied in the
first place I entered, but, quite to my
surprise, there weren't any hopeless
looking women. Every single one of
them had a pleasant expression just
as though it really didn't matter in
the least whether she secured work
or had to be idle beyond endurance.
"There are a great many girls out
of employment," the woman in
charge said to me. "I have between
four and five hundred applicants a
day and about fifty positions to fill.
Almost every bond house in the city
has discharged stenographers. Girls
who went to positions right out of
school and have worked up to $35 a 1
week have been dismissed without a
moment's notice.
"I do not believe I have ever seen
conditions so bad not even in the
panic year, because that was more or
less a local depression and this seems
to be general.
"However" and right here I got
my first introduction to the optimis
tic view point "I do not believe the
depression will last long. Much of
the stock exchange and by the stop
ping of shipping and as soon as these
start up again, which I am sure will
be in a very short while, thfe big con
cerns will take their help back.
"I tell the girls they mustn't be
worried and they mustn't show it in
their faces if they are worried. If a
man comes in to get a stenographer
and he looks over a lot of faces with
hopeless expressions he is going to
conclude he doesn't want any of
them. And the girls are certainly
keeping cheerful."
I entered the second office. A smil
ing face greeted me at the desk.
"There are a number of women out
of employment," the owner of the
smiling face said, "more perhaps
than for a number of years, but it
isn't due so much to actual depres
sion as to fear.
"Chicago, as a matter of fact, has
not suffered greatly. But Chicago
is full of branch offices of New York
concerns and orders have gone out
from headquarters to retrench.
"A girl came in the other day who
had lost a $20 position because her
employer decided he could only pay
$15. Of course, he wanted a $20
stenographer for $15, and he got one
because a $20 girl felt she would
rather take $15 than remain idle.
"But this will not last. There isn't
any use feeling panicky about it.
Undoubtedly much of the present sit
uation has been caused more by the
panicky feeling than by actual de
pression. "And even though in some
branches of business the stopping of
foreign shipping has caused a de
pression, we are a country that has
boasted of our resourcefulness and
now we have an opportunity to show
just how resourceful we are.
"And I am quite positive we will
rise to the emergency and come out
of this crisis even better than we were
As I reached the street I said to
it has been caused by the closing of J

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