Getting a Job After Serving in the Great War - 1919
Soldiers in Training at Camp Dix Receive Honorable Discharge Papers. War of the Nations 1914-1919 New York Times, 1919. GGA Image ID # 196f9117bb
Your Old Job or a Better One
The best advice that can be given to any man leaving the military establishment at this time is to get in touch with his old employer at the earliest possible moment. Industry in the United States is in a state of flux.
There have been many dislocations as the result of reversing the machinery which was going at full tilt in one direction on a war schedule, and sending it full tilt in an opposite direction on a peace programme.
Notwithstanding these conditions, the country is prepared to reabsorb its fighting forces in civil life. The quickness of readjustment, however, depends on the spirit in which you meet your country.
It was put up to you to help win the industries of your country back to normal functions of peace.
You can do that, too. And the best way to do it, after you are done with visiting around home and telling the folks all about it, is to get to work in your old job or a better one. Perhaps you are better than your old job, but if no other is obtainable, get work. Get your hand in. I t is a well-established fact of life that it is easier to step from one job into another than from no job. This is not "bull"—it is straight from the shoulder, sincere dope.
Getting a Job
A representative of the United States Employment Service is stationed in each demobilization camp, where a record of each man to be discharged is made.
If a man is dubious about whether he can obtain his old job, he is put in a class of men in the same position. If he is certain that he will need employment when he leaves the Army, he is put in another class.
A third class consists of men who know they have employment and will not need help. A duplicate card system is used for those who will need assistance, one card being given to the man, and the other mailed to the United States Employment Office in the city to which or near which he wishes to return.
This saves three or four days of the man's time and enables the employment office in that particular city to obtain a place and have it ready when the man arrives.
Twenty-eight per cent. of the men discharged from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps are being placed by the employment service. Seventy-five percent of all those who say they need assistance in finding employment are placed.
Since the middle of January, 1919, and up to the middle of April, when this "Handy-Andy" was written, the service had put to work an average of one hundred thousand men a week.
There are in operation in 2,000 cities and towns in the country Bureaus for Returning Soldiers, Sailors and Marines whose single reason for existence is to get you placed.
In addition there are 400 offices of the United States Employment Service distributed throughout the country with the object of coordinating all the agencies which are playing the game of reabsorbing the fighting forces of the United States.
A representative of the United States Civil Service Commission is on duty at all demobilization camps and centers and in constant touch with the commanding officers thereof giving information as to the latest opportunities for employment in the civil service.
The country is divided, for convenience of administration, into 12 civil service districts, with headquarters at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Paul, St. Louis, New Orleans, Seattle. and San Francisco.
Information is to be had at any time concerning pending examinations and future opportunities from those headquarters, from the secretary of the local board of Civil Service Examiners at the post office or custom house in any of 3,000 cities, or from the United States Civil Service Commission, Washington, D. C.
Information concerning (1) reinstatement in the civil service of men who left that branch of the Government to take part in the war, (2) extension of eligibility of those whose names were on registers of eligible when they entered the military or naval service, and (3) preference in appointment allowed by law to men discharged from the military or naval service, may be obtained by communicating with the United States Civil Service Commission, Washington, D. C., or from the headquarters named above.
Section 1754 of the Revised Statutes provides that all persons honorably discharged from the military or naval service by reason of disability resulting from wounds or sickness incurred in the line of duty shall be preferred for appointments to civil offices if they are found to possess the business capacity necessary for the proper discharge of the duties of such offices.
A person who has been allowed preference by the commission has the following advantages:
- a. He is free from age limitation;
- b. He has to attain an average percentage of only 65 to be eligible, while for all others the average percentage required is 70;
- c. Having attained an average of 65, his name is placed upon the register above, and is certified before, those of persons who have not been allowed preference.
Section 1754, R. S., applies to positions in the entire civil service, both in Washington, D. C., and in the country at large, while an Act of Congress approved March 3, 1919, which applies to positions in the departments and independent governmental establishments in Washington, D. C., only provides:
That hereafter in making appointments to clerical and other positions in the executive departments and in independent governmental establishments preference shall be given to honorably discharged soldiers, sailors and marines and widows of such if they are qualified to hold such positions.
In so far as practicable, preference in re-employment or reinstatement in our railroads under Government control is given to soldiers and sailors on being discharged. These general principles set forth by the United States Railroad Administration govern:
- a. In the case of an employee having established seniority rights, so far as practicable, and where the employee is physically qualified, he will be restored to such seniority rights.
- b. In the case of employees who do not have seniority rights under existing practices, a consistent effort will be made to provide employment for them when mustered out of military service.
Your Civil Rights
If, while you have been in the Army or Navy, or within thirty days after your discharge therefrom, a court has rendered judgment against you by default, do not be flustered.
Under the Civil Relief Act or Civil Rights Bill, you may apply at any time within ninety days after your discharge, either in person or by attorney, to have a judgment set aside.
If, in the opinion of the court, your having been in the military or naval service of your country prevented you from properly defending any action brought against you, and you have a good defense, a judgment can be set aside.
If, while in the service, you have defaulted in payment on a mortgage executed prior to March 8th, 1918, although the provisions of the mortgage provided that the mortgagee may sell the property in the event of default, do not worry.
The law forbids such a sale, except by special order of court, until three months after discharge. If, while you have been in service, taxes have become overdue on property belonging to you, which property was occupied by you or your family before you entered the service, and occupied by your family after your entrance into the service, that property cannot be sold to collect any taxes or assessments except upon a special order permitting the sale.
But if you find that such property has been sold for unpaid taxes or assessments while you were in the service, it may be redeemed by the payment of the principal and 6 per cent. interest added at any time within six months after the President has proclaimed the war at an end.
William Brown Meloney, "Where Do We Go From Here? - This Is the Real Dope: Getting a Job After Serving in the Great War," Baltimore: Thomsen-Ellis Press, 1919.