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Help Wanted–Male, Female
by [?]

The people who (because they think they don’t need to) do not read the “Help Wanted” “ads” in the newspapers really ought to do this, anyway for a week or so in every year. They are the people, above all others, that would be most benefited by this department of journalism.

Now, there is nobody who more than myself objects in his spirit to the very common practice of this one’s saying to that one that he, or she, “ought to” do this or that thing. Nobody knows all the circumstances in which another is placed. Some people insist upon saying “under the circumstances.” But that is wrong. One is surrounded by circumstances; one is not under them, as though they were an umbrella. Nobody ought to say “under the circumstances.” However, this is merely by the by.

It’s a queer thing, though, that Mr. Hilaire Belloc, who certainly writes some of the best English going, says that “under the” and so forth is all right. Certainly it is not. But, as I said before, this is not a point about which we are talking.

One ought to read want “ads” for many reasons. For instance, you can thus become completely mixed up as to whether or not you are still young. “Young man wanted,” you will read, “about sixteen years of age, in an office.” Goodness gracious! It does seem that this is an age of young, very young, men. What chance does one of your years have now? On the other hand, you read: “Wanted, young man, about thirty-five.” So! Well, this is an age, too (you reflect) in which people remain young. There are no old folks any more; they are out of fashion. Witness, “Boy wanted, strong, about eighteen.”

They (want “ads”) ought, particularly, to be read at times when you have a very good job. It is then especially that the reading of them is best for you. They do (or they ought to) soften your arrogance.

If–like Mr. Rockefeller, jr.–I were a teacher of a Sunday school class (which, as Mr. Dooley used to say, I am not). I would say: “The best religious teaching is to be found in the help-wanted advertisements in the newspapers. We will take up this morning these columns in this morning’s papers.”

As a matter of fact, if you are out of a job I should strongly advise against your reading advertisements for help wanted. In the first place, nobody ever got a job through one of these advertisements. I know this, as the phrase is, of my own knowledge. Then, the influence of suggestion is very powerful in these announcements. If you are without a position, it is depressingly plain to you that you are totally unqualified to obtain one again, of any account. If you have a berth paying a living wage, you perceive that some mysterious good fortune attends you, and you are made humble by fear for yourself, and compassionate towards others. For who are you, in heaven’s name, and what the devil do you know, that you should make a living in this world! In this world where there is wanted: “Highly educated man, having extensive business and social connection. Must be fluent correspondent in Arabic, Japanese, and Swedish, and an expert accountant. Knowledge of Russian and the broadsword essential. Acquaintance with the subject of mining engineering expected. Experience in the diplomatic service desired. Gentleman of impressive presence required. Highest credentials demanded. Salary, to begin, seven dollars.” Knowledge, undoubtedly, is power!

Still, one seeking a position through want “ads” need not altogether despair. A little further down these very catholic columns you will find that: “Any person of ordinary intelligence, common-school education not necessary, can make $1000 a week writing for newspapers, by our system, taught by mail. Only ten minutes a day before going to bed required to learn.”