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This man can get good results from a certain type of worker, but he only irritates, frightens, and drives to sullen resistance other types. The other is the mild, kindly, persuasive, patient, enduring, persistent, determined type of executive, who wins his success by attracting to himself the intense loyalty and devotion of his men. Both types are successful, but they are successful with different kinds of men. The employer who selects executives, therefore, needs to bear this in mind, and to select the right type of men to work under his various lieutenants. On the other hand, men who take executive positions should see that they secure for themselves the type of workers from whom they can secure results. This will not be easy, because, as a general rule, an executive tends to surround himself with men of his own type, which is usually a mistake.
Men, in selecting positions, should also bear this truth in mind. They should know the kind of executive under whom they can do their best work, and, if at all possible, work under this kind of superior officer.
SLAVES TO MACHINERY
In an earlier chapter of this book we referred to the type of boy or girl who is too restless to study, to continue in school; who is eager to begin his life work; who therefore leaves school at an early age and takes up some work for which he is then fitted, but which, in after life, he finds to be uncongenial and unprofitable. As a general rule, such individuals are ambitious--oftentimes exceedingly ambitious. They find, as they grow older, however, that they have not sufficient education and training to enable them to realize their ambitions.
Thousands upon thousands of these condemn themselves to mere unskilled manual labor.
It is not to be wondered at that these boys and girls leave school, because in school they are compelled to sit quietly and to try to learn things in which they are not interested out of dry, unprofitable books. Such pupils need to spend a great part of their time out-of-doors. They can be thus taught far more easily, will take a greater interest in their studies, and can gain both knowledge and skill which will be more valuable to them in the world of work. They also need to be taught indoors manual training, domestic science, printing, laundry work, scientific horticulture, scientific agriculture, dairying, and many other such branches. The recently projected vocational schools, continuation schools, half-time schools, and other such contrivances for giving the boy or the girl an opportunity to learn a useful trade while he is mastering the three R's, are a very important and valuable step in the right direction; With an opportunity thus to find expression for his mechanical ability and his great activity, the boy will be encouraged to remain longer in school.
Those who have left school at an early age on account of restlessness should take very seriously to heart the fates of tens of thousands of men and women before them who have done the same thing and who have made a failure of their lives, because they did not have sufficient education and training with which to realize their aspirations.
It has been frequently remarked that this is a commercial age. Our great captains of industry, our multi-millionaires, have, most of them, made their fortunes in commerce. This is an age, perhaps--especially in the United States--which rather makes a hero of the business man. For this reason there are many who are ambitious for commercial success. Every year thousands upon thousands of young men and women leave school in order to enter business. By a very natural psychological paradox, there seems to be a fascination about commerce and finance for many young people who have little aptitude for these vocations. Many people, feeling their deficiencies, yearn to convince themselves and others that they are not deficient. It is only another phase of the fatality with which a Venus longs to be a Diana and a Minerva a Psyche. Thousands enter business who have no commercial or financial ability. They cannot know the requirements; they cannot understand the fundamental principles of business. Commercially they are babes in the woods. Therefore they go down to bankruptcy and insolvency, to their great detriment and to the injury of many thousands of others.
These young people are too impractical for business. They may have a theoretical understanding of it, and an intellectual desire to succeed. But, as a result of their impractical type of mind, they neglect details, they overlook important precautions, they are, oftentimes, too credulous, too easily influenced. They usually make poor financiers; they do not make collections well; they are incautious in extending credit and in maintaining their own credit; often they are inefficient and wasteful in management; they do not take proper account of all the costs in fixing prices; they enter into foolish contracts; make promises which they are unable to keep, and oftentimes, as a result of too great optimism, undertake far more than is commercially feasible.
HUNGRY FOR FAME
The same strange quirk in human nature which takes the impractical into the marts, takes many ambitious but inherently unfit into art and literature. The stage-struck girl who has not one scintilla of dramatic ability is so common as to be a joke--to all but herself and her friends. Every editor is wearied with his never-ending task of extinguishing lights which glow brightly with ambition but have no gleam of the divine fire. Teachers of art and music, both in this country and abroad, are threatened with insanity because of the hordes of young men and women who come to them with money in their hands, demanding to be made into famous artists and musicians, not having been born with genius. Some of these unfortunates spend years of time and thousands of dollars in money attempting to fit themselves for careers, only to end in utter failure. Some, even after they have made a comparative failure of their education, eke out a tortured existence, hoping against hope for the golden crown of fame and fortune.
In sober truth the fatal lack in most of these disappointed seekers is not that they have no talent, but that they are too lazy mentally to make a real success of the natural aptitudes they have. They lack "the infinite capacity for taking pains." They are deluded by the idea that success depends upon inspiration--that there is no perspiration. Yet every great writer, every great musician, every great actor, every great author, knows that there is no fame, there is no possibility of success, except through the most prolonged and painstaking drudgery.
"LIFE IS BRIEF--ART IS LONG"
Perhaps no actor of modern times had greater dramatic talents inborn than Richard Mansfield, yet here is the story of how Richard Mansfield worked, toiled, starved and suffered in achieving success in his art: His friends crowded St. George's Hall for his first appearance. It was observed, as he uttered the few lines of the Beadle, that he was excessively nervous. When, later in the evening, he sat down at the piano and struck a preliminary chord, he fainted dead away.
[Footnote 6: From "Richard Mansfield," by Paul Wilstach. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.]
Mr. Reed relieved him of his position at once. In discharging him, he said: 'You are the most nervous man I have ever seen,' It was not all nervousness, however. Mansfield had not eaten for three days. He had fainted from hunger.
"Mansfield was now on evil days, indeed. He moved into obscure quarters and fought the hard fight. It was years before he would speak of these experiences. In fact, he rarely ruminated on the past in the confidences of either conversation or correspondence. Memory troubled him little and by the universal quotation it withheld its pleasures. He dwelt in the present, with his eyes and hopes on the future. It was always the future with him. No pleasure or attainment brought complete satisfaction. He looked to the past only in relation to the future; for experience, for example, for what to avoid.
"Once, when at the meridian of his fame, he was asked to lecture before the faculty and students of the University of Chicago. For his subject he chose, 'On Going on the Stage.' That he might exploit to those CHAPTER III
before him the reality of the actor's struggle, he lifted for the first time a corner of that veil of mystery which hung between his public and his past, and told of these early London days:
"For years I went home to my little room, if, fortunately, I had one,' he said, 'and perhaps a tallow dip was stuck in the neck of a bottle, and I was fortunate if I had something to cook for myself over a fire, if I had a fire. That was my life. When night came I wandered about the streets of London, and if I had a penny I invested it in a baked potato from the baked-potato man on the corner. I would put these hot potatoes in my pockets, and after I had warmed my hands, I would swallow the potato. That is the truth.'
"At length, his wardrobe became so reduced that attendance at any but the most informal entertainments became out of the question, and finally he had to give up these. Soon he was inking the seams of his coat, and wandered about shunning friends, for fear they would learn to what a condition he was reduced.
"'Often,' he admitted, 'I stayed in bed and slept because when I was awake I was hungry. Footsore, I would gaze into the windows of restaurants, bakeries, and fruit shops, thinking the food displayed in them the most tempting and beautiful sight in the world. There were times when I literally dined on sights and smells,'
"He did every species of dramatic and musical hack work in drawing rooms, in clubs, and in special performances in theatres. Sometimes he got into an obscure provincial company, but he said that his very cleverness was a kind of curse, since the harder he worked and the better the audiences liked him, the quicker he was discharged. The established favorites of these little companies always struck when a newcomer made a hit.
"Richard Barker was the stage manager and Mansfield could never please him. After trying again and again, he once cried: 'Please, Barker, do let me alone. I shall be all right. I have acted the part.' 'Not you,' declared Barker. 'Act? You act, man? You will never act as long as you live!'
"The recollection of the rebuffs, poverty, starvation, inability to find sympathy, because, possibly, of the pride which repelled it, the ill-fortune which snatched the extended opportunity just as he was about to grasp it, the jealousy of established favorites of the encroaching popularity of newcomers, the hardships of provincial travel and life in a part of the country and at a time when the play-actor was still regarded as a kind of vagabond and was paid as such, the severity of the discipline he encountered from the despots over him--all painted pictures on his memory and fed a fire under the furnace of his nature which tempered the steel in his composition to inflexibility. The stern rod of discipline was held over him every moment and often fell with unforgetable severity. He was trained by autocrats in a school of experience more autocratic than anything known to the younger actors of this generation.
"When the part of Chevrial was given to him, Mansfield was fascinated with his opportunity, but he kept his counsel. He applied every resource of his ability to the composition of his performance of the decrepit old rake. He sought specialists on the infirmities of roués; he studied specimens in clubs, on the avenue, and in hospitals; and in the privacy of his own room he practiced make-ups for the part every spare moment. The rehearsals themselves were sufficiently uneventful. He gave evidence of a careful, workmanlike performance, but promise of nothing more.
"While he was working out the part Mansfield scarcely ate or slept. He had a habit of dining with a group of young Bohemians at a table d'hôte in Sixth Avenue. The means of none of them made regularity at these forty-cent banquets possible, so his absence was meaningless. One evening, however, he dropped into his accustomed chair, but tasted nothing.
"'What's the matter, Mansfield?' asked one of the others.
"To-morrow night I shall be famous,' he said. 'Come and see the play,'
"His friends were accustomed to lofty talk from him. His prophecy was answered with a light laugh and it had passed out of their memories as they drifted into the night. This was one of those intuitions to which he often confessed, and it told him that the years of apprenticeship were behind him and the artist in him was on the eve of acknowledgment.
"On the night of January 11, 1883, the theatre was radiant with an expectant audience--half convinced in advance by the record of the Union Square's past, but by the same token exacting to a merciless degree--to see their old friends in the first performance in America of 'A Parisian Romance.'
"Mansfield made his entrance as the Baron Chevrial within a few moments after the rise of the curtain. It was effected in an unconcerned silence on the part of the audience.
"There were, on the other hand, the deserved receptions of old favorites by old friends, as Miss Jewett, Miss Vernon, Miss Carey, Mr. DeBelleville, Mr. Parselle and Mr. Whiting came upon the scene.
"When Chevrial, finding himself alone with Tirandel and Laubaniere, exposed his amusingly cynical views of life and society, some attention was paid to a remarkable portrait of a polished, but coarse, gay, though aging, voluptuary. The scene was short and he was soon off, though not without a little impudent touch, in passing the maid in the doorway, that did not slip unnoticed. The dramatic disclosures which followed brought the act to a close with applause that augured well. Henri, Marcelle, and Mme. De Targy were called forward enthusiastically.
"The second act revealed the Baron's chambers. With the exception of two minutes, he was on the stage until the curtain fell. The Baron's effort, so precisely detailed, to reach and raise the dumb-bells from the floor; the inveterate libertine's interview with shrewd Rosa, the danseuse, who took the tips he expected would impoverish her and thus put her in his power, for the purpose of playing them the other way: the biting deliberation of his interview with his good Baroness and Henri, who comes to ruin himself to save his family's honor--all held the audience with a new sensation. As he pushed his palsied arms into his coat and pulled himself fairly off his feeble feet in his effort to button it, turned up to his door humming like a preying bumble-bee, faced slowly about again, his piercing little pink eyes darting with anticipation, and off the trembling old lips droned the telling speech: 'I wonder how his pretty little wife will bear poverty. H'm! We shall see'--the curtain fell to applause which was for the newcomer alone. He had interested the audience and was talked about between the acts.
"Mr. Palmer rushed back to his dressing-room and found him studiously adding new touches to his make-up for the next act. 'Young man,' exclaimed the manager, 'do you know you're making a hit?' 'That's what I'm paid for,' replied Mansfield, without lowering the rabbit's foot.
"The third act was largely Marcelle's. The Baron was on for an episodic interval, but succeeded, in that he did not destroy the impression already created.
"The fourth act revealed a magnificent banquet hall with a huge table laden with crystal, silver, snowy linens, flowers, and lights. At the top of a short stairway at the back was a gallery and an arched window through which one looked up the green aisle of the Champs-Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe, dimly visible in the moonlight. The Baron entered for one last glance over the preparations for his petit souper for Rosa and her sister of the ballet at the Opera.
"The effectiveness of his entrance was helped by his appearance behind a colonnade, and there he stood, only half revealed, swaying unsteadily while his palsied hand adjusted his monocle to survey the scene. There was a flutter of applause from the audience but, appreciatively, it quickly hushed itself. He dragged himself forward. The cosmetic could not hide the growing pallor of the parchment drawn over the old reprobate's skull. He crept around the table and, with a marvellous piece of 'business' by which he held his wobbly legs CHAPTER III
while he slowly swung a chair under him, collapsed. The picture was terrible, but fascinating. People who would, could not turn their heads. His valet was quick with water and held the glass in place on the salver while he directed it to the groping arm. The crystal clinked on Chevrial's teeth as he sucked the water.
"Presently he found his legs again and tottered up to the staircase. The picture of the black, shrivelled little man dragging his lifeless legs up to the gallery step by step was never forgotten by anyone who saw it. At the top he turned and said in ominous tones: 'I do not wish to be disturbed in the morning. I shall need a long sleep'; and dragged himself out of sight. He had been on the stage five minutes and had said scarcely fifty words. The picture and the effect were unmistakable. The audience capitulated. There was a roar of applause which lasted several minutes.
"The whispered discussion of this scene was such that scarcely any attention was paid to the stage until the Baron returned. Almost immediately afterward the ballet girls pirouetted into the hall in a flutter of gauze, and the places at the tables were filled. No one listened to the lines; all eyes in the house were focussed on the withered, shrunken, flaccid little old Baron, who sat at Rosa's right, ignored by everyone about him as they gorged on his food and drank his wines.
"Soon he drew himself up on his feet and, raising his glass, said: 'Here's to the god from whom our pleasures come. Here's to Plutus and a million!"
"The gay throng about the table echoed the toast: To Plutus and a million!' and Chevrial continued:
"'While I am up I will give a second toast: 'Here's to Rosa! The most splendid incarnation that I know!'
"Placing the glass to her lips for a first sip, the lecherous old pagan's own lips sought the spot, sipped, and he sank back into his chair.
"What else went on till he rose again no one knew or minded. No eye in the house could wander from the haggard, evil, smiling, but sinister, old face. Presently he was up once more and, with his raised goblet brimming with champagne, he offered a third toast:
"'Here's to material Nature, the prolific mother of all we know, see, or hear. Here's to the matter that sparkles in our glasses, and runs through our veins as a river of youth; here's to the matter that our eyes caress as they dwell on the bloom of those young cheeks. Here's to the matter that--here's to--here's--the matter--the matter that--here's--'
"The attack had seized him. Terrible and unforgetable was the picture of the dissolution. The lips twitched, the eyes rolled white, the raised hand trembled, the wine sputtered like the broken syllables which the shattered memory would not send and the swollen tongue suddenly could not utter. For one moment of writhing agony he held the trembling glass aloft; then his arm dropped with a swiftness that shattered the crystal. Instinctively he groped up to the stairs for light and air. He reeled as if every step would be his last. Rosa helped him up to the window, but recoiled from him with a shriek. Again his hand flew up, but there was neither glass, wine, nor words. He rolled helplessly and fell to the floor, dead. The curtain fell.
"It was probably the most realistically detailed figure of refined moral and physical depravity, searched to its inevitable end, the stage has ever seen. For a moment after the curtain fell there was a hush of awe and surprise. Then the audience found itself and called Mansfield to the footlights a dozen times. But neither then nor thereafter would he appear until he had removed the wig and make-up of the dead Baron. There was no occasion to change his clothes; he wore the conventional evening suit. The effect of shrivelled undersizedness was purely a muscular effect of the actor. The contrast between the figure that fell at the head of the stairs and the athletic young gentleman who acknowledged the applause was no anti-climax.
"Mansfield had come into his own. The superb art of his performance had dwarfed all about it; the play was killed, but he was from that moment a figure to be reckoned with in the history of the theatre."
It is said that when Paderewsky played before Queen Victoria, she said to him: "Mr. Paderewsky, you are a genius." "Ah, your Majesty," he replied, "perhaps. But before I was a genius, I was a drudge." And this is true.
It is said that Paderewsky spent hours every day, even after achieving his fame, practising the scale, improving his technique, and keeping himself in prime condition.
Study the life and achievement of any great man of genius. His genius has consisted principally in his wonderful capacity to labor for perfection in the most minute detail. And yet most ambitious misfits are unwilling to work hard. Their products always show lack of finish due to slipshod methods, unwillingness to spend time, to take pains to bring what they do up to a standard of beautiful perfection, so far as perfection is humanly possible. Those who are mentally lazy do not belong in an artistic vocation. There are probably many things that they can do and do well in some less spectacular lines, some calling that does not require such mental effort.
MISFITS IN THE PROFESSIONS
In the traditional educational system the common school is not particularly adapted to prepare its pupils for life, but rather to prepare them for either a high school or a preparatory school. Passing on to the high school, the same condition prevails. The whole question in every high school and every preparatory school is whether the training will accredit one to certain colleges and universities. So the traditional high school graduate is not prepared for life; he is prepared for college or the university. He goes on to the university. There he finds that he is being prepared chiefly for four or five learned professions--the law, the ministry, medicine, engineering, and teaching. In the beginning, the university was supposed to train a man, not for work, but for leisure. The very word scholar means a man of leisure. People were trained, therefore, not for usefulness, but for show; not to earn their living in the world, but rather, their living having been provided for them by a thoughtful government or a kind-hearted parent, to present evidences of the fact. One of the chief of such evidences was the ability to go to a college or university and to take the time to learn a great deal of useless knowledge about dead languages, philosophies, and dry-as-dust sciences. While this is not true to so great an extent to-day, there is still much of the old tradition clinging about colleges and universities, and we are training men and women, not for commercial or industrial or agricultural lines, but rather, for the learned professions.
THE "WHITE COLLAR MAN"
In England and other European countries no man is held to be a gentleman who has ever earned his living by the work of his hands. No one is accredited with standing as an amateur athlete who has ever "lost caste" in this way. While this caste feeling is not so strong in America as it is abroad, it still has a considerable influence upon parents and their children in the selection of a vocation. While one does not lose caste by doing manual labor, temporarily or as a makeshift, he suffers socially, in certain circles, who chooses deliberately a vocation which requires him to wear soiled clothing, to carry a plebeian dinner-pail, and to work hard with his hands. Because of this, many bricklayers, carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, plasterers, plumbers, and other workers, ambitious socially for their sons, instead of teaching them trades in which they might excel and in which there might be an unrestricted future for them, train them for clerical and office work. Having felt the social handicap themselves, these men and their wives determine that their children shall belong to the class which wears good clothes, has soft, white hands, and eats luncheon at a cafeteria--or from a paper parcel which can be respectably hidden in an inside coat pocket. And so there are armies of
"white collar men" who would be healthier, wealthier, more useful, and happier if they wore overalls and jumpers.
The "typical" bank clerk is a good illustration. Pallid from long hours indoors, stooped from his concentration upon interminable columns of figures, dissatisfied, discontented, moving along painfully in a narrow groove, CHAPTER III
out of which there seems to be no way, underpaid, he is one of the tragedies of our commercial and financial age. While the section-hand may become a section boss, a roadmaster, a division superintendent, a general superintendent, a general manager, and, finally, the president of a railroad; while the stock boy becomes, eventually, a salesman, then a sales manager, and, finally, the head of the corporation; while apprentices to carpenters, bricklayers, and plumbers may become journeymen, and then contractors, and, finally, owners of big buildings; while the farmhand may become a farm owner, then a landlord, and, finally, perhaps, the president of a bank; while a workman in a factory handling a wheelbarrow may afterward become the president of the greatest corporation in the world, the clerk, toiling over his papers and his books, is almost inevitably sentenced to a lifetime of similar toil, with small opportunities for advancement before him.
There are men fitted by inheritance and training for clerical work and what lies beyond and above it. They are so constituted that they have the ability to take advantage of opportunities, to forge to the front from such a beginning, and to rise to commanding positions. But this is not true of the men who have aptitudes which would make them successful in active work with their hands, and afterward with hand and brain. These men of inherent activity and skill of hand, men whose bones and muscles were made for work, whose whole nature calls for the out-of-doors, are doomed to stagnate, grow discontented, and finally lose hope, if compelled by pride or bad judgment to undertake the "white collar man's" job.
SOCIAL VALUE OF THE "WHITE COLLAR MAN"
Regarding the social deficiency of this class of worker Martha Brensley Bruere and Robert W. Bruere, in their excellent book, "Increasing Home Efficiency," have the following to say:
"The output of their domestic factory so far is two sons able to earn living salaries, who are useful to the community undoubtedly, but as easy to replace if damaged as any other standard products that come a dozen to the box. They themselves didn't like the upper reaches of the artisan class where they had spent their lives, so they boosted their sons till they could make a living by the sweat of their brains instead of the sweat of their brows. Society can use the Shaw boys, but is it profitable to produce them at the price? The money that made these boys into a clerk and a stenographer cost twenty years of their parents' brain and muscle. Mrs.
Shaw has bred the habit of saving into her own bones till now, when she might shift the flatiron, the cook stove and the sewing machine from her shoulders, she can't let go the $10 a month her 'help' eats and wastes long enough to straighten up her spine. These two boys and a daughter still in the making have cost their father and mother twenty years, which Mr. Shaw sums up by saying:
"'So, you see, the final result of making up your mind to do a thing, including the great trouble of bringing up a family, is just getting down to the ground and grinding.'
"Isn't it just possible that society has lost as much in the parents as it has gained in the children? Couldn't we have got the same product some cheaper way? Or a better product by more efficient home management?"
Perhaps the saddest of all the misfits are to be found amongst women, or it may be that their cases seem to us to be saddest because there are so many of them. Under the old-time regime there was but one vocation open to women--that of wife and mother. Regardless of aptitudes, physical strength or weakness, personal likes or dislikes, all women were expected to marry and bear children, and to qualify successfully for a vocation which combined the duties of nursemaid, waitress, laundress, seamstress, baker, cook, governess, purchasing agent, dietitian, accountant, and confectioner. In the early days of this country, in addition to these duties, women were also called upon to be butchers, sausage-makers, tailors, spinners, weavers, shoemakers, candle-makers, cheese-makers, soap-makers, dyers, gardeners, florists, shepherds, bee-keepers, poultry-keepers, brewers, picklers, bottlers, butter-makers, mil-liners, dressmakers, hatters, and first-aid physicians, surgeons and nurses. In more modern times, women have entered nearly all vocations. But even CHAPTER III
yet there is much prejudice against the woman who "descends" out of her traditional "sphere." The woman who is not a wife, mother, and house-keeper--or a domestic parasite, housekeeping by proxy--loses caste among the patricians. Many men and, on their behalf, their mothers and sisters, shudder at the sordid thought of marrying a girl who has been so base as to "work for her living." And so stenographers, clerks, accountants, saleswomen, factory workers, telephone operators, and all other women in the business world are about 99 per cent temporary workers. Even in executive positions and in the professions, most women look upon wages and salaries as favoring breezes, necessary until they drop anchor in the haven of matrimony. And even those who most sincerely proclaim themselves wedded to their careers, in many instances, exercise their ancient privilege, change their minds, and give up all else for husband and home.
Every normal woman was intended by nature to marry. It is right that she should marry. She does not truly and fully live unless she does marry. She misses deep and true joy who is not happily married--and usually feels cheated. But the same may be said of every normal man. The difference is that, according to tradition, marriage is woman's career, while man may choose a life work according to his aptitudes. Because of prejudice, however, it is rarely that the happily married woman makes a business or professional career.
Husbands, except those who do so through necessity or those who are unafraid of convention, do not permit their wives to work outside of the home. Because of false pride, many men say: "I am the bread-winner. If I cannot support my wife as she should be supported, then I do not wish to marry." And so thousands of women sigh away their lives at work they hate while a hungry, sad world suffers for what they would love to do.
The waste of these misfits is threefold: First, the women lose the opportunity for service, profit, and enjoyment which should be theirs. Second, the world loses the excellent services which they might render.
Third, oftentimes these women are very poor housekeepers. They simply have not the aptitudes. Their husbands and their families suffer.
WOMEN WITHOUT HOMES
Another very large class of misfits, and, perhaps, even more to be pitied than any other, is composed of the women who are compelled to earn a living in the business world, in the professional world, or elsewhere, whose true place is in the home. Many of these are unmarried, either because the right man has not presented himself, or because there are not enough really desirable men in the community to go around. Others are widows. Still others are women who have been deserted by their mates. Some of them are compelled to support their parents, brothers, and sisters, or even their husbands.
If traditional methods and courses of education miss the needs of many of our young men, what shall we say of conventional education for girls? Well, to tell the truth, we do not know what to say. Educational experts, reformers, philosophers, investigators, and editors have spoken and written volumes on the subject. Women upon whom the different kinds of educational formulae have been tried have also written about it. Some of them have told tragic stories. There has been, and is, much controversy. Some say one thing--some another--but what shall common sense say? After all, education is rather a simple problem--in its essentials. It means development--development of inborn talents. And education ought especially to develop the natural aptitude of most of our girls for efficiency in home-making and child-rearing. Most young women enter upon the vocation of wifehood and motherhood practically without any training for these duties.
It is as unscientific to expect all women to be successful wives and mothers as it would be to expect all men to be successful farmers. It is as tragic to expect an untrained girl to be a successful wife and mother as it would be to expect an untrained boy to be a successful physician and surgeon.
EXECUTIVES AND DETAIL WORKERS
A very broad division of misfits is into those who are fitted to do detail work, trying to do executive work, and those who are natural-born executives compelled to do detail work. This is a very common cause of unfitness.
Some men love detail and can do it well. They naturally see the little things. Their minds are readily occupied with accuracy in what seem to others to be trifles, but which, taken together, make perfection. They are careful; they are dependable; they can be relied upon. Such people, however, do not have a ready grasp for large affairs. They cannot see things in their broader aspect. They are not qualified by nature to outline plans in general for other people to work out in detail. They are the men upon whom the world must depend for the careful working out of the little things so essential if the larger plans are to go through successfully.
On the other hand, there are some people who have no patience with details. They do not like them. They cannot attend to them. If depended upon for exactitude and accuracy, they are broken reeds. They forget detail.
There are many executives holding important positions and making a sad failure of them because they are, by natural aptitudes, excellent detail men but poor planners and executives. The following story illustrates, perhaps, as well as anything we could present, the qualities of these overworked, busy, busy executives who have no right to be executives, but ought to be carrying out the plans of someone else: HOW SOCRATIC HELPED BRAINERD BUILD BUSINESS
People sometimes bring their business troubles to a friend whom we shall call Socratic. And Socratic helps them out for a consideration. His time is valuable and he bought his wisdom at a high price.
Some months ago a pompous fellow dropped in. We recognized him as Brainerd, one of the leading business men of a small city. His story was this: He had built up a big enterprise during the pioneer boom days of easy money and negligible competition. Now, when margins were closer, the pace hotter, and a half dozen keen fellows were scrambling for their shares of a trade he had formerly controlled jointly with one other conservative house, he found sales falling off and his profits dwindling to a minus quantity.
Socratic heard him through; then said: "I'll look your business over, tell you the troubles, and show you how to remedy them for one hundred dollars."
"Oh, I couldn't afford to pay that much, the way business is now," Brainerd objected.
"How much, then, do you figure it would be worth to you to have your sales and profits climb back to high-water mark?"
"Oh, that would be worth thousands of dollars, of course. But can you guarantee me any such results?"
KEEPING THE APPOINTMENT
"Well, if you carefully study over what I tell you, and faithfully follow my advice, and the results are not satisfactory, you need pay me nothing. Is that agreeable?"
"Sure! If you can show me how to bring my profits back to normal, I'll gladly pay you two hundred."
"It's a go!" said Socratic. "Have the contract drawn up ready to sign when I call to begin my examination.
When shall that be?"
"Well, let's see. I'm so all-fired busy it's hard to find time for anything. Say early next week sometime."
"All right. What day?"
"Oh, Tuesday or Wednesday."
"Tuesday will be satisfactory. What hour?"
"Well, some time in the forenoon, I guess."
"Ten o'clock be all right?"
"Yes, ten o'clock will do."
"Very well, I'll be there at ten sharp."
Tuesday morning, at ten sharp, Socratic stood by Brainerd's desk. Brainerd was working away like a busy little high-pressure hoisting-engine. He looked up with a bright smile.
"Oh, it's you, is it? Sorry, but I can't do anything for you to-day. I'm awfully up against it for time. Can't you drop in a little later in the week?"
"What day?" Socratic asked.
"Oh, Thursday or Friday," a little impatiently.
"Thursday is all right. What hour? Ten o'clock do?"
"Yes, yes, that will do," sighed the busy, busy business man, his nose deep in his work.
Socratic turned on his heel and walked out.
THE HEAD CLERK'S SALARY
Thursday morning he was again beside Brainerd's desk. It was easy to see that this little buzz-fly was a mile up in the air. Hi$ coat was off, his cuffs turned back, his collar unbuttoned, his hair mussed, and he had a streak of soot across his nose. He hardly looked up. Just kept chugging away like a motor-cycle going up-grade at fifty miles an hour.
Oh, but he was the busy man!
"Sorry to disappoint you again, Socratic," he jerked out, "but I haven't got time to breathe. You'll have to come in again."
"Making stacks of money with all this strenuous activity, I suppose?" asked Socratic.
"Oh, no! It keeps me on the jump like a toad under a harrow to pay expenses."
"Call that a profitable way to spend time and nervous energy so prodigally?"
"It may not be--I suppose it isn't, but I can't help it."
"Your head clerk draws pretty good pay, doesn't he?" asked Socratic.
"Why, yes," answered Brainerd, staring.
"Probably has a bigger income to handle, personally, than you have?"
"Oh, I guess so" You'll have to excuse me, Socratic. I'm too busy to talk to-day."
"Queer, but your head clerk and cashier seem to have plenty of time for conversation. They have been scrapping for fifteen minutes about chances of the Pirates and the Cubs. You feel happy to pay people big salaries for talking baseball?"
"No; of course not; but how can I help it? A man can't hire reliable help for love or money in this town, and I haven't got time to watch all of 'em."
"How would it do to have the bookkeeper check up those sales-slips you are tearing your hair over, instead of manicuring her pretty paddies and tucking in her scolding locks?"
"Well, she was doing something else when I began. Excuse me a minute."
SOME FOOL EXCUSES
And Brainerd dashed away to the front of the store to wait on a nicely dressed lady who had just come in.
When he returned he said: "I'll tell you, Mr. Socratic, I've been thinking over the matter of our contract, and I don't believe I'm prepared to go into that thing at present. Times are so hard and I am so rushed for time, and you would probably recommend a lot of things I couldn't afford, and likely couldn't work in with my present system. I guess I'll have to let it go for the present. It would be a good thing, no doubt, but I guess I'll have to do the best I can without it. Some time later, perhaps, I'll take it up with you. Why, I don't even get time to read the papers, and I certainly wouldn't have time to go into that examination with you."
"I've completed my examination," remarked Socratic.
"Why, how's that?" gasped Brainerd. "When did you do it?"
"The day you were in my office. What I have seen and heard on my two visits here only confirms the diagnosis of your case I made then. But the real purpose of the two calls was to endeavor to make you see your troubles as I see them."
"I don't know what you mean, sir," said Brainerd, piqued by the unmistakable trend of Socratic's remarks.
"I rather think you do, but I'll take no chances. Your business is desperately ill, isn't it?"
"Yes, I guess it is," reluctantly.
"Then it needs a heroic remedy, doesn't it?"
"And that remedy must be applied to the source of the trouble. Not so?"
And that source is none other than Mr. James H. Brainerd. No, don't blow up with a loud report. Listen to me.
You are really too good a business man to go to the wall for the want of a little teachableness. You have foresight, initiative, energy, and perseverance. These are success-qualities of a high order. But you have fallen into some very costly bad habits.
Let me give you the names of six old-fashioned virtues that you are going to start right in to cultivate. When CHAPTER III
you have developed them, your profits will take care of themselves.
The first is Order. You waste seventy-five per cent of your time and nervous energy because you let your work push you instead of planning your work and then pushing your plan.
The second is Punctuality. You lose time, money, friends, temper, and will-power because you are vague and careless about making appointments and slipshod about keeping them.
The third is Courtesy. This has its source in consideration for others and is closely allied to tact. When you ask me to come and help you, and then tell me you are sorry you can do nothing for me, or sorry to disappoint me, that's patronizing. When you ignore a caller and go to reading papers on your desk, that's rudeness. And you can't afford them in your business.
The fourth is Economy. Your time is worth more to this business than that of all the help put together. And when you spend it doing what a ten-dollar-a-week girl could do just as well, it is sinful extravagance. It wastes not only your time, but hers. Worst of all, it undermines your self-respect and her respect for you.
The fifth is Honesty. When you rush away to wait on some customer yourself because that customer has connived with you for some special cut rates, you may not intend it, but you are dishonest. Business must be done at a profit and all those who share in the privileges of buying from this store should share proportionately in paying you your profit. If anyone doesn't pay his share, the others have to make up for it Give everybody a square, equal deal. That will build confidence and increase trade. And then you can leave your salespeople to wait on all customers, giving you more time for real management--generalship.
The sixth is Courage. It's easy enough to see obstacles, to make excuses, to procrastinate. When a hard task has to be done, you will find it no help to begin to catalog the difficulties. Just fear not, and do it.
Now, you are going to cultivate these virtues, Brainerd, because you see that I am right and because, after all, you are a man of good judgment and reason.
"Never mind the contract. When you think my advice has proved its value, send me what you think it is worth."
And he walked out, leaving Brainerd purple in the face with a number of varied emotions, chief among which were outraged dignity and warm gratitude.