Author of " Every Way of Earning a Living" " Our Sons and Daughters," etc.
Something more than a knowledge of shorthand and typewriting is required before a girl may obtain one of the few good posts as a private secretary. Indeed, it would be quite impossible to set down exactly the requirements for this position, so much depends upon the individual case.
In this series of articles in Every Woman's Encyclopaedia it has been my object not only to give a list of employments open to women, but to show how appointments may be secured. In the present instance, therefore, I shall not give the cut and dried advice so often offered to those who want to become shorthand typists or secretaries - namely, to join some well-known college, such as Clark's or Pitman's, and to stay there until they are fit to secure a post. Instead of this I shall ask my readers to be quite certain that they are fit for this particular profession. The life of a private secretary to a busy man is no easy one; indeed, often much more worry falls upon her shoulders than upon those of the business man himself.
Here then, roughly, are the initial requirements:
2. A good sound general education.
3. The power of adapting oneself to almost any surroundings.
4. A temper that is never out of control.
6. In addition to these things a knowledge of some foreign language, according to circumstances, will be useful.
Now I am quite sure, after considering this list of qualifications, many would-be private secretaries will abandon their present ideas, and turn to some other calling in which to earn a living, and I may say that any girl who does this will be proving that she is not cut out for one of these positions.
It has been the fashion to advise any girl, no matter what her education or natural abilities, to go to a big college, where she, or her parents, are told that she can be turned into a secretary, just as flour and water can be turned into paste.
The girl who has four of the above qualifications, however, can acquire the necessary business training and tuition in shorthand and typewriting either at Pitman's or Clark's College. Tuition there is given orally or by
Woman's Work post. A twelve months' full-day course should be all that is required, although, certainly, I have known some students who after three years are still unable to write shorthand at anything like a satisfactory speed. A girl should not start out until she has had a thorough training, although unfortunately, circumstances will not always permit of this rule being obeyed.
The following are the fees at Clark's College for a training for business appointments:
Shorthand. - Complete course, £5 5s.
Typewriting. - Complete course, £5 5s.
Bookkeeping. - Complete course, £3 3s.
Business Methods. - Complete course,
Penmanship and Correspondence. - Complete course, £5 3s.
Languages. - Complete course (French or German), 10. Complete course (Italian, Spanish, etc.), £14.
Business Arithmetic and Geography. - Complete course, 3 3s.
The following are the fees at Pitman's College:
Shorthand. - Complete course, £5 10s.
Typewriting. - Complete course, £5 6s.
Business Methods and Correspondence. - Complete course, 5 10s. Commercial correspondence only, £3 6s. Advanced Business Training (including junior and senior stages and commercial correspondence), £6 12s.
Bookkeeping. - Complete course, £5 10s. Advanced bookkeeping for secretaries, etc., £6 12s.
Penmanship and Correspondence. - Complete course (grammar and composition), 4 8s. Complete course (dictation and spelling), 3 6s
Business Arithmetic. - Complete course, 3 6s.
Higher Arithmetic. - Complete course, £6 12s.
Business or Civil Service Complete course, £6s.
Languages. - Complete course (each language), £9 9s.
I do not advocate education by correspondence, because 1 have found from experience that the same amount of Success does not follow, even upon hard work, directed in this way. To readers living in the provinces or in remote places I would suggest that, if they be not in position to lodge in London. or one of the big towns where the above colleges have branches, while attending these courses they should endeavour to get personal instruction from a local teacher, or from one of the many technical institutes.
Positions as private secretaries are not to be obtained easily, usually it is a matter of personal influence that secures the post. Advertisements appear in the Times' and the " Daily Telegraph," and these should be answered by the young lady on the look-out for a secretaryship. They are mostly to be found among journalists and authors, while some legal gentlemen employ lady secretaries.
In the next issue of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia the position of women clerks in commercial houses will be dealt with.
Clark's College. Chancery Lane Photo. M.hatch
As the term Far East is to most people a somewhat vague one it is advisable to explain at once that it is generally understood to refer to countries east of India. For the purposes of this article it will only include English Colonies, as the Straits Settlements, Singapore, and Penang, which are governed municipally; the Crown Colonies, Hong-kong, Wei-hai-wei; and the larger treaty ports, Shanghai, Tientsin, Amoy, and Foo-chau. These latter, having English settlements, are for practical purposes equivalent to English Colonies.