Should Improve Herself for her Position
The future seems so far away to the girl entering on her business life, and the amount that can be saved is so small, that she is apt to think it is useless to try to save anything at all.
This is the greatest mistake to make, and the sooner the habit of " putting by " is formed, the easier will it become.
A woman who is now at the top of the tree, and has an assured position, states that from the first, and especially in her early days, she made it a rule to use the Post Office Savings Bank whenever she had a shilling or half-crown to spare, and then when these small amounts had reached a total that could be used to any purpose, she withdrew it and invested it immediately.
Although some girls marry, it is absolutely impossible for all to do so, and so many mischances are the common lot that it is wise to take due precautions. Even if marriage should terminate business life, the insurance holds, and the provision for the future may be just as necessary when the time arrives for its payment.
It will be found a very great assistance to keep a strict account of all expenditure. This does not mean an elaborate system of book-keeping, and will take less than five minutes each evening before going to bed. Buy a cash-ruled note-book, about six inches by four. On one page enter the amount of the salary, on the other all the outgoings under the separate dates, jotting down in the margin the balance in hand for the ensuing day. At the end of the week balance the account, carrying forward any cash in hand to the next week, and add it to the salary. Some days it may take quite a few minutes to remember on what an odd sixpence was expended, but it forms an excellent check on frittering away small amounts, and, too, the expenditure can be worked in, one day with another, without exceeding the amount allowed for the weekly expenses.
It is not at all uninteresting to glance through such a book from time to time and ascertain on what items the larger amounts are spent, or to calculate the yearly expenditure on dress, travelling, amusements, etc.
Without some such system, it is easy to get in the way of spending in a very haphazard fashion, and thus not to make the most of even a small salary.
A girl earning thirty shillings or even less a week may always have sufficient to meet her needs, while another, in the same office, perhaps, who is in receipt of a higher salary, is constantly without a penny, and totally unprovided with money for her holiday, season ticket, or some one of the necessary items of dress. An unexpected turn of illness, slight in itself, but resulting in a doctor's bill, or a visit to the dentist, are then viewed in the light of a calamity. It would be impossible for such a girl to say how the money has gone, but she certainly has not got it when needed.
This entails forestalling her future income by borrowing from some member of the family to tide over the immediate need, and the paying back may certainly prove to be a check on further expenditure for a time, but it is not a satisfactory way of managing the finances.
When living on a small weekly salary, an occasional loan, which may enable some of the larger items of dress, for instance, to be bought advantageously, is naturally of great assistance. Its repayment can be effected without undue stress, but this is very different to having to borrow on account of lack of forethought in arranging the outgoings.
Every girl who takes her profession at all seriously will wish to improve herself in all its branches in every possible way, and advantage may well be taken of any available evening classes so far as her strength allows. It is, however, not advisable to undertake evening work if it renders her too tired, or unfit for her daily routine work.
But, as a rule, it is when holding a junior position and while the habit of study gained during her schooldays has not been broken, that the average girl will find it the most easy to take up extra subjects.
The particular circumstances of the individual must, however, decide the question of evening classes. If office hours be long or very elastic, or the girl's health not robust, it would be unwise to insist on study in the evenings. Instead, every opportunity should be taken for rational exercise, recreation, and a certain amount of rest. If she be musical, let her by all means keep up her piano practice. Singing, too, is extremely good for the general health,especially if studied under an efficient master.
Should a girl's speed in shorthand and typewriting be really good when entering on her post, the daily practice afforded by the work will probably keep her up to the standard, and her speeds will tend to increase. But if other forms of office work fall to her share it is wise to arrange for attendance at a speed class in shorthand.
To be contintted.