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The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943 (1943)

Chapter: A Summary of an Exploratory Study in Federal Employee Turnover in Washington with Special Attention to Living Habits

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Suggested Citation:"A Summary of an Exploratory Study in Federal Employee Turnover in Washington with Special Attention to Living Habits." National Research Council. 1943. The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9566.
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Page 85

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A SUMMARY OF AN EXPLORATORY STUDY IN FEDERAL EMPLOYEE TURNOVER IN WASHINGTON WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO LIVING HABITS * VIRGINIA VAN DYNE FLEMING One of the most striking characteristics of Federal workers' lives is the impersonality, the lack of friends, the tendency to like or dislike living in Washington in terms of the city rather than of identified individuals within it. This depersonalization of life makes the individual particularly subject to the impact of impersonal-annoyances such as housing, transportation and restaurant conditions. Other findings in this descriptive study of women Government employees t are that meals are often eaten alone, are rarely considered an opportunity to meet a friend, and are frequently inadequate. The typical daily diet slows an outstanding deficiency in milk and in eggs, and to a lesser degree in other food categories. On the other hand, meat is eaten generally twice a day, and an average of two cups of coffee is consumed. In addition to the rising cost of living which is a serious problem to most of the subjects, especially those supporting dependents, other problems are the crowded, unpleasant housing, the lack of friends, and lack of know-led:,e about any of the social opportunities in Washington. Recommendations in regard to the work situation are that interviewing and counselling be used much more frequently so that workers may be given help with their problems before they reach the point of quitting, that employee suggestions be requested and used wherever possible, that inefficient workers lee weeded out and replaced by fewer, better-trained employees at Uglier wages, and that every attempt be made to add to the worker's feeling of personal security. Recommendations for eating are that the use of attractive substitute dishes for meat be encouraged, that the cost of milk and coffee be equated, and that arrangements be made so that workers can lunch with their friends. It is also suggested that housing be selected with reference to work address, that actual publicity be given to the various opportunities ir1 social groups, and that stores be urged to stay open more than one night a week and give preference to the workers at that time. * See mimeographed report of Committee on Food Habits, National Research Council, May ~943, under same title. t Based on intensive interviewing of thirty-seven women Government employees by three trained interviewers. ~5

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