So then I was finally through college in June, 1906. It is almost incredible how very childlike I still was, so far as my attitude toward the world was concerned. I had high ideals, and I wanted to get into business, but where or how I did not know. Moreover, my money was gone. A student gave me a note with which I intended to get his previous summer’s job as a starter on an electric car line owned by a railway company. The position was abolished, however, so I became a conductor on a suburban line. Unfortunately, my motorman was a high-strung, nervous Irishman, who made me so nervous that I often could not give the signals properly, and who made life generally unpleasant for me. He professed a liking for me and did prevent one or two serious accidents. At the same time, he said I was the first ‘square’ conductor he had ever worked with, and, no doubt, he missed his ‘extra,’ After three weeks of him, and of the general public’s idea that I must, of course, be knocking down fares, I resigned. However, the superintendent offered me a job as ‘inspector’ of registers on the main line, a job that he was just creating. When the rush was over after Labor Day, I was again out of a job. I might have secured a clerkship with the railway company, but I was foolish enough not to try.
A few weeks later found me established in the district office of a correspondence school not very far from New York City as a representative. At first I gave good promise of success, but I lost my enthusiasm and belief in the school and became ashamed to be numbered as one of its workers because of the character of most of the local field force at that time and before my time. The reputation of the school in that place was not very good. Also I was not successful in collecting the monthly payments from those who had hard luck stories or had been lied to by the man who had enrolled them. By the end of two months I was ready to quit, but my immediate superior begged me to stay, in order to keep him from having to break in a new man just then. At the end of about four months I did resign to save being kicked out. Mind you, I was to blame, all right; for I had given up a real continuous effort beyond the merest routine and the attempt to collect the monthly payments. While I was there I did write a few contracts, among them a cash one amounting to $80. But, toward the end, my lack of success was due to my utter disgust with myself for being so blamed poor and for shirking.
Going back to a brother in New York, I tried to land a job, but, of course, in such a state of mind, I could not. Then I went to my older brother in Cincinnati, where he was, and is, the pastor of a large church. Unfortunately, he did not take me by the back of the neck and kick me into some kind of work, any kind. At last, in March, 1908, he helped me to come out West. I landed in Los Angeles, and indirectly through a friend of his I secured a job on an orange ranch in the San Gabriel Valley, which I held until the end of the season. Once more I was happy and contented. It was certainly a pleasure to work.