There are men fitted by inheritance and training for clerical work and what lies beyond and above it. They are so constituted that they have the ability to take advantage of opportunities, to forge to the front from such a beginning, and to rise to commanding positions. But this is not true of the men who have aptitudes which would make them successful in active work with their hands, and afterward with hand and brain. These men of inherent activity and skill of hand, men whose bones and muscles were made for work, whose whole nature calls for the out-of-doors, are doomed to stagnate, grow discontented, and finally lose hope, if compelled by pride or bad judgment to undertake the “white collar man’s” job.
SOCIAL VALUE OF THE “WHITE COLLAR MAN”
Regarding the social deficiency of this class of worker Martha Brensley Bruere and Robert W. Bruere, in their excellent book, “Increasing Home Efficiency,” have the following to say:
“The output of their domestic factory so far is two sons able to earn living salaries, who are useful to the community undoubtedly, but as easy to replace if damaged as any other standard products that come a dozen to the box. They themselves didn’t like the upper reaches of the artisan class where they had spent their lives, so they boosted their sons till they could make a living by the sweat of their brains instead of the sweat of their brows. Society can use the Shaw boys, but is it profitable to produce them at the price? The money that made these boys into a clerk and a stenographer cost twenty years of their parents’ brain and muscle. Mrs. Shaw has bred the habit of saving into her own bones till now, when she might shift the flatiron, the cook stove and the sewing machine from her shoulders, she can’t let go the $10 a month her ‘help’ eats and wastes long enough to straighten up her spine. These two boys and a daughter still in the making have cost their father and mother twenty years, which Mr. Shaw sums up by saying:
“’So, you see, the final result of making up your mind to do a thing, including the great trouble of bringing up a family, is just getting down to the ground and grinding.’
“Isn’t it just possible that society has lost as much in the parents as it has gained in the children? Couldn’t we have got the same product some cheaper way? Or a better product by more efficient home management?”
Perhaps the saddest of all the misfits are to be found amongst women, or it may be that their cases seem to us to be saddest because there are so many of them. Under the old-time regime there was but one vocation open to women—that of wife and mother. Regardless of aptitudes, physical strength or weakness, personal likes or dislikes, all women were expected to marry and bear children, and to qualify successfully for a vocation which combined the duties of nursemaid,