My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I am thinking of turning this column into a "positions wanted" column, and in each case telling the story of the applicant as told to me. My own imagination, as well as the powers of investigation of all my friends, are becoming somewhat taxed, and yet of all the letters I get, these are perhaps the most interesting to me.

There are two groups. On the whole the larger group comes from young people, sometimes definitely asking for help in finding a job, sometimes asking for help in deciding what training they should take in order to make this business of finding a job easier. Very often they show quite unconsciously that neither the family nor the community in which they live, has made any attempt to meet the needs and prepare for this period in the life of the young people of the community. One of the chief cries is: "How can we get experience when nobody will take us on until we have experience?" Another one is: "How can we live on the wages offered us as beginners!"

My other group is that of older men and women, primarily women of course. Some of them quite angrily demand to know whether I think women over forty are unable to hold a job. Of course, not knowing them, I can only answer that that is a question of personality, that the experience gained up to forty should make you a valuable person, but if you have become rigid and can not adapt yourself to new ways of work, your usefulness may be over at any age. It is not a question of years but of temperament and the development of personality.

I have a young girl now whose letter is before me. She has trained as a teacher, but not in the state. Now she wants to teach in this state, either in public school or in a private school and she has tried unsuccessfully for a year to find a position, so: "Mrs. Roosevelt, please find me one!" I can't help wondering if one's training should not make it possible to shift to some other occupation if one simply can not find an opening in the one first chosen. If we had Oracles in these days to whom one could go to ask for wise answers to perplexing questions, I think I'd take a trip right now to Delphi, and I might be more useful to my correspondents.

A hot night and a cloudy sky this morning, but we are starting off to visit our friends in Westbrook, Connecticut. It ought to be a lovely drive if only it does not rain. In the meantime I have had word that Mr. and Mrs. Robert Baker (she is Colonel Howe's daughter) would like to spend a night with me here, so I am leaving all instructions for their welcome if they arrive before our return, and I am looking forward to finding them here when we get back.

E.R.
TMsd 18 August 1937, AERP, FDRL