The following article, fourth in a series of six by J. M. Swigert '30 describing the operation of the Student Employment Office, discusses the importance of ability in the marketing of students.
By the very nature of its work the Student Employment Office frequently finds itself between the devil and the sea. Its avowed purpose is to help the needy man in every way possible, yet to help the needy man it must serve the employer. Often the employer furnishes specifications which no needy man on the list of registrants can fulfill. Consequently others financially less deserving must be given the jobs. This naturally gives rise to misunderstanding among the students, who usually are ignorant of the employer's demands and feel that the Office has been guilty of unfair discrimination.
The fact is that easily half of the jobs which are received are of a specialized nature requiring certain definite experience and ability. In such cases the specifications of the employers must be faithfully observed, or dissatisfaction will result and no more orders will be received.
The restriction of choice is fairly apparent in cases where an experienced stenographer who can translate German is wanted, or a musician who can play the base viol. Many do not appreciate that the hands of the Office are just as tightly bound in instances much more common. Few realize that often employers are very particular about securing experienced waiters, for example. On the surface it would seem that any man could wait table. Only last week, however, a call came from a boarding house manager for a fall, erect, neat man with a clear complexion and at least two years waiting experience. This restaurateur maintained that waiting is a highly skilled art which can be perfected only through long practice. He said that a new man invariably permits dirty