It was ironic, but when you scratched the surface, most successful men were working for one thing only--to retire--and the sooner the better. Whereas women were the complete opposite. She had never heard a woman say she was working so she could retire to a desert island or to live on a boat. It was probably, she thought, because most women didn't think they deserved to do nothing.
Some of you, we all know, are poor, find it hard to live, are sometimes, as it were, gasping for breath. I have no doubt that some of you who read this book are unable to pay for all the dinners which you have actually eaten, or for the coats and shoes which are fast wearing or are already worn out, and have come to this page to spend borrowed or stolen time, robbing your creditors of an hour. It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by experience; always on the limits, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt, a very ancient slough, called by the Latins aes alienum, another's brass, for some of their coins were made of brass; still living, and dying, and buried by this other's brass; always promising to pay, promising to pay, tomorrow, and dying today, insolvent; seeking to curry favor, to get custom, by how many modes, only not state-prison offences; lying, flattering, voting, contracting yourselves into a nutshell of civility or dilating into an atmosphere of thin and vaporous generosity, that you may persuade your neighbor to let you make his shoes, or his hat, or his coat, or his carriage, or import his groceries for him; making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day, something to be tucked away in an old chest, or in a stocking behind the plastering, or, more safely, in the brick bank; no matter where, no matter how much or how little.
It would seem to me that an annual seven months of honest endeavor is not too much to ask of anyone. If it is, and all you graduate with is a D- average, then you are in for a rude shock when you come to join the work force. We demand eleven-and-a-half months of honest endeavor, and A's only are accepted in all our departments.