Planning Your Career
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Once you have made your decision, the next thing is to lay out a plan by which you will guide yourself to ultimate success and the realization of your ambition. Planning a career has often been compared with the mapping out of a long journey. You are more likely to reach your destination if you determine in advance in what general direction you intend to go, and at what places you intend to stop on the way. The comparison is not perfect, as there are many considerations entering into the planning of a career that do not enter into the planning of an itinerary. For one thing, the stopping places on the way through life are not as distinctly marked, nor are the distances between the signposts as definitely determined, as in the case of geographical points. Nevertheless, it is better to have a plan—though a flexible one—than to leave the journey through life entirely to chance. The plans may require revising as one goes along, for no one can be wise enough to anticipate all possible contingencies which the future might bring. Nor is it at all necessary to anticipate them; the main thing is to stick tenaciously to the destination—long or short detours on the way may be unavoidable.
It frequently happens that a man who has taken up a certain occupation, and has spent many years in the preparation for, and in the practice of, his work, will, for various reasons—or for no reason at all—become restless and discontented and wish to make a change. The unknown is usually more attractive than the things with which we are familiar, and so it appears to that man that another occupation than the one in which he is engaged is a better one than his own. He does not know the unpleasant details of the other man's work, but is familiar with the irksome requirements of his own. He forgets that all occupations involve some duties that are unpleasant, and that one must take the bad with the good. At such a time, the value of a well-made plan is great. By referring to it again, and studying the reasons that originally determined his selection of the occupation, he may again realize his peculiar fitness for the work and take on a renewed interest in it.
In making your plan, there will be some things which you will be able to determine definitely in advance; for instance, the educational and legal requirements for entrance into the professions. Other factors, such as length of time in a subordinate position before promotion may be expected, cannot be so definitely predetermined. A great deal will depend upon the occupation selected. If you select a trade, such as carpentry, the period of apprenticeship and the length of time required as a helper before you can become a journeyman carpenter are more or less fixed by the rules of the union or the customs of the community in which you wish to work. These requirements can be found by a study of the occupation. But after you become a journeyman carpenter, any further promotion will depend upon circumstances that cannot be definitely anticipated, although their general nature may be known. For instance, you may not be able to tell how long you will have to wait until you can become a foreman, but you know that foremanship is a possible promotion, and you can prepare for it so that when the opportunity does present itself you will be ready.
After becoming a foreman, you may desire to become a con-tractor. Here too, the exact time that this will take cannot be determined in advance, as it will depend upon your economic situation and upon future contingencies which you can neither anticipate nor control. But you can plan to become a contractor by determining to learn the things which the contractor must know, to develop the qualities which the contractor must have and to save enough money to make a start in business for your-self. All these things can be studied and planned for in advance.
If you wish to enter one of the professions, you will plan to meet the educational and legal requirements, which in most professions can be definitely ascertained in advance. In some states the prospective lawyer is required to serve a clerkship (a certain length of time in the employ of a practicing lawyer) before he may take the bar examination; a doctor must serve an interne-ship in a hospital before he is permitted to practice; and in some cases a pharmacist must serve as a junior clerk before he is entitled to a license. A study of the occupation will reveal these requirements to you. In law, medicine, dentistry and in some minor professions, the requirements are definitely determined by law in the community in which you intend to practice. In engineering, the conditions are not so well fixed. About 50 per cent of the engineers in this country have no engineering degree, having worked their way up in the industry in which they are engaged. As the records show that, of the number of engineers without degrees, as many have distinguished themselves as have those with degrees, the question of preparation will have to be determined by the individual himself. Many successful engineers have started in the drafting room or with a surveying party and, by unusual fitness, close application, keen observation and hard study in spare time, have attained the highest positions in the profession. Such progress is, however, becoming more difficult, as education is becoming more common and the competition keener. The man without a college education is seriously handicapped in any profession and, unless you can bring to bear qualities far above the average to compensate for the lack of a degree, you will do well to plan on college work if possible. Assuming even that you have such superior ability, a college training will enable you to make more rapid progress.
Suppose you wish to engage in business pursuits, with the hope of becoming, say, a buyer in a large department store, or perhaps a proprietor of a business of your own. Your plan in this case will involve more possible variations than in either the trades or the professions. Yet, a study of the occupation which you have chosen will reveal a fairly definite line of promotion from one position to another. In your plan you will have to put down your ultimate goal, and then study the occupation with a view to finding out the successive steps necessary to attain that goal. A vocational plan is tied up inseparably with an educational plan, and you will do well to keep that in mind. In making your plan you should also bear in mind that, wherever possible, your education should come first, or early in life. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to acquire an education; and this is due to limitations imposed by social obligations, to economic conditions, to habit and to the slowing up of the capacity to learn. You may plan to begin your business career as a sales clerk; but if you limit your education at the beginning to the requirements of a sales clerk, with the intention of studying in your spare time for the successive promotions, your progress is likely to be much slower than if you get a higher education in the beginning. But, of course, circumstances will govern individual cases, and no definite rule can be laid down that will apply without modification to everyone. Your plan will have to be made in accordance with the requirements of your particular problem.
You will find it fascinating, as well as profitable, to plan your career. Nothing is more interesting than to watch yourself as you travel steadily along the path you have planned. Your success will depend not only on your plan, but also on how conscientiously you follow the common-sense principles you now lay down. So plan carefully, and work hard while following your plans, and you are bound to attain success in the end.
In making your plan, it is best to include a complete record of your study of your vocational problem and the various stages you went through in determining your choice of a vocation. You will, therefore, start with your self-analysis, and follow it up with the analysis of occupations, the making of your choice and finally, with the actual plan for attaining your ambition. The importance of this task warrants your taking great pains in its execution, and you will get a great deal of satisfaction from putting it into good mechanical form. As a number of sheets will be required, you should clip them together and attach a cover page, upon which write your name, the date and the vocation selected. This should be followed with your self-analysis questionnaire and then with the rest of the plan, in accordance with the following outline:
I. Name. Date.
II. Vocation chosen.
Answers to questionnaire on page 31
IV. Occupational analysis:
See specimen analysis on page 49
V. ReaSOns for choice:
(a) From conclusions to occupational analysis
(b) Any other reasons
VI. Educational requirements (number of years in each case) :
(a) High school . . .
(b) Trade or technical school
(c) College . . .
(d) Night school .
(e) Correspondence school
Total number of years
VII. Legal or other requirements:
(a) Clerkship, interneship, junior practice, etc., depending upon
the profession (number of years)
(b) Apprenticeship (number of years)
VIII. Possible compensation:
(a) Financial, at the beginning
(b) Financial, when experienced
(c) Other compensations, such as social, leisure, travel, etc.
IX. Plan for meeting educational requirements:
(a) School or schools . . . Name or kind of
(b) Number of years each
(c) Total number of years
X. Plan for meeting other requirements:
(a) Nature of requirements
(b) Number of years
XI. Approximate cost of preparation:
(b) Living expenses while in school
(c) Miscellaneous expenses, license fees, etc.
(d) Total cost
XII. Plan for meeting cost of preparation:
(f) Other SOurces
XIII. Plan of progress subsequent to entrance into chosen field:
(a) List of positions in order of sequence, indicating possible line of promotion
(b) Requirements for each
(c) Plan of preparation to meet these requirements
XIV. Personal deficiencies or limitations:
(a) List of, such as poor memory, lack of self-confidence, etc.
(b) How to overcome
The Money Value of Education.—In planning your career, it will be well for you to consider the value of education, and then plan to get the best education you can. Everybody knows the cultural value of education, and the many social and other advantages which educated people enjoy. But that education also has a dollars-and-cents value is, perhaps, not so well known. It is an established fact that the industrial efficiency of a whole country or state depends upon the advancement of education in that country or state. Take Germany, for instance, where education has always been well advanced, and compare its industrial efficiency with that of Russia, where, in spite of all its natural wealth, it has not been able to make much progress because its educational facilities have been so poor. If you compare Massachusetts and Tennessee you will find the same thing to be true. And just as the natural resources of a country, no mat-ter how rich, are worthless without an educated people to develop them, so all the natural gifts of a man would be worthless unless he had an education with which to develop those gifts.
In the old days, a road could be built with little knowledge or education, but today it is a complicated process. Men educated in traffic must first determine which sort of road would be most economical and efficient; financial experts are required to provide the huge sums necessary for such an enterprise; civil engineers must lay out the road, bridge engineers build the bridges, and so forth down the list, not to mention the clerks, auditors, managers, minor engineers and laborers, who are spokes in the big building wheel.
The success of the uneducated is the exception to the rule, a fact that is proved by statistics from many sources. Perhaps the best-known study of this subject is the one by A. Caswell Ellis, in the Bureau of Education Bull. No. 22, 1917, entitled "The Money Value of Education." This bulletin describes a study that was made some time ago of the 8,000 persons listed in "Who's Who," a catalog of leaders in every line of endeavor. Out of the five million uneducated men and women in this country at the time the study was made, there were but 31 who had gained enough distinction to be listed in that book. About thirty-three million people had obtained an elementary school training, and of this number but 808 attained distinction. Of the two million people with high school education, 1,245 have won distinction, while, of the million men with college education, 5,768 have found their way to distinction and mention in "Who's Who." In other words, the boy with no schooling has about one chance in 150,000 of gaining distinction; with an elementary school education, he will have four times the chance; with a high school education, 87 times the chance; and if he has the ad-vantage of a college education, he will have 800 times that chance.
In the same bulletin, we learn that Dr. Charles Thwing made a study of 15,142 men mentioned in Appleton's "Encyclopedia of American Biography." He found that there were 227 times as many college-bred men who had amassed great wealth as there were men without a college education. Studying these men in proportion to their numbers in the population, he found that the college men have become members of the national House of Representatives 352 times as often as the men who have not had the advantages of college education; President, 1,392 times as often; Justices of the Supreme Court, 2,027 times as often. In other words, though we have less than 1 per cent of college-bred men in our population, yet this 1 per cent has provided 55 per cent of our Presidents, 36 per cent of the members of Congress, 47 per cent of the Speakers of the House, 54 per cent of the Vice-Presidents, 62 per cent of the Secretaries of State, 50 per cent of the Secretaries of Treasury, 67 per cent of the Attorneys General and 69 per cent of the Justices of the Supreme Court.
An investigation was made by a committee of the Brooklyn (N. Y.) Teachers' Association, into the salaries received by graduates of elementary schools and of others who stopped school before graduation. Taking 192 elementary school graduates at random, the investigators were able to follow 166 until they were about thirty years old. Then it was found that their average income was $1,253.05, while the average income of those who had no elementary school education was about $500. As the difference of $750 a year is equal to 5 per cent of $15,000, this simple elementary education is practically worth $15,000 tucked away at interest for each one of the graduates.
This same committee also investigated the salaries of 1,600 pupils in New York City night schools. It was found that those who left school before finishing the eighth grade were earning an average wage of $469, after working about five years; those who finished one year of high school were earning an average wage of $435, but had only been working two years. Those who finished two years in high school averaged $466 after working two and one-half years, while those who attended three years were earning $503 after two years of work. From this it is seen that the three-year high school boys were already, after two years of work, earning more money than those who never entered high school, after five years of work. In thinking this over, you must remember that these pupils were above the average in intelligence and ambition, as they were continuing their education at night, so that the slow rise in salary of those who did not attend high school was not due to lack of ambition or interest, or to stupidity or laziness.
Indeed, it has been estimated that every day spent in school pays you $9.25 in increased salary. Figure it out yourself. Uneducated laborers average $500 a year for 40 years, making a total of $20,000. High school graduates average about $1,000 a year for 40 years, making a total of $40,000. To obtain this schooling, it requires 12 years of 180 days each, or 2,160 days in school. If 2,160 days can add $20,000 to your life income, then each day you spend in school is worth $9.25 to you.
Night school graduates benefit equally well by their additional training, as many investigations have shown. In one case graduates of a night school in New Jersey were compared. The average unskilled adult workers were receiving about $12 a week while the average skilled workers were receiving about $24 a week. The average graduate of the Newark Evening Technical School was found to have begun work at fourteen years of age at a salary of $3.55 per week and to have risen rapidly until at thirty-seven years of age the average salary was $42.03 a week as against the $24 a week earned by the skilled but uneducated worker. Those graduates who finished the course and were specially prepared to enter the machine trades were earning $57.17 a week. This proves that, while a night school education is very valuable, it is still more valuable when you specialize in some one industry. The very fact that so many industries have opened schools for their employees proves that employers have recognized the value of education, both for the individual and for themselves.
A record has been made of the salaries earned by the class of 1901 of Princeton University during the first ten years after graduation. In the first year their average was $706; in the fifth year this average had increased to $2,039.42; and by the tenth year the average had reached $3,804. This average was reached in spite of the fact that there were 19 teachers and clergymen reporting in the tenth year with very low salaries about half as much as their classmates were earning. The 1906 class started out with an average salary of $859.60, which at the end of five years had risen to $2,225.80. A study was also made of the salaries received by graduates of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale. The average salary in the first year was $683.85, rising to $1,257 in the third year and averaging $2,040.04 in the fifth year. The Harvard Law School graduates of 1905 averaged about $1,188 two years after graduation and in five years were averaging $2,616. Studies of Northwestern and of Dartmouth and University of Texas graduates show practically the same results.
Present-day earnings are, of course, quite different from those given in the above investigation, and allowances will have to be made accordingly. There are no indications, however, that the relative standing of the classes mentioned will be changed materially when conditions again become stabilized. Any one of the investigations mentioned might be open to criticism if taken alone. For instance, picking out the advantages of an education by studying the list of names in "Who's Who" might be open to the criticism that better surroundings, intelligent parents and other advantages may be the reason for this superiority, rather than the education itself; but when all of the investigations show practically the same results there can be no doubt regarding the superior earning power of educated workers.
Apparent Exceptions.—Attention is frequently called to this, that or the other man who has apparently succeeded without education—Lincoln, Edison and Ford are commonly cited as examples. How did these men succeed?
Abraham Lincoln engaged in farming, lumbering, teaching, storekeeping, and a great many other things. But while he was doing all these things he was constantly studying and planning to become a lawyer. Frequently thrown off his course by unavoidable circumstances, he nevertheless stuck to his one ambition until he finally succeeded. He never allowed his mind to rest, no matter how weary the body. His entire life was a struggle for education under the most difficult conditions—and it was not until he had acquired this much coveted education that he became successful.
Thomas A. Edison succeeded with practically no schooling. But who. can say that Edison is not an educated man? He, too, struggled all his life for an education which could have been obtained much more easily in school. When one speaks to Edison about his genius, he smiles and says that his work is 2 per cent inspiration and 98 per cent perspiration. This is another way of saying that it was through hard work, self-sacrifice and self-education that Edison became the great man that he is today. And had he had the education he should have had, his labor would have been materially lessened. He himself is a great advocate of education, but deplores the education that teaches nothing practical.
Then take the case of Henry Ford, who, too, seems to have succeeded without an education. But in his case, as in Edison's, he made up for lack of education by his tenaciousness, hard work, study and perseverance. Had his genius been based on a liberal education, however, he might have become a great man as well as a rich one, and perhaps have been saved from the many indiscretions into which his lack of education leads him.
Assuming that there are men who have succeeded without education, they are so few, as compared with those who are educated, as to be almost negligible. And the strongest proof of the value of education lies in the fact that every uneducated man of means insists on giving his children the best education obtainable, not only to spare them the hardships which he himself suffered through lack of education, but, what is more important, to enable them to enjoy those finer things of life which only education and culture can make available. It is true that experience is a great teacher, but those who decry the value of education forget that it is through education that all the experience of the past is made available to us today. He must be an egotist indeed, who would match his own puny, limited experience and intelligence against the accumulated wisdom of all time.
Choice of Schools.—One of the most common causes of vocational dissatisfaction is lack of training for a particular occupation. A general cultural education places its possessor on a higher social plane than he could otherwise occupy; and to the extent that this higher social standing presents greater opportunities for the development and exploitation of the individual's talents, cultural education is a great advantage. But unless the individual possesses also a thorough training for some specific occupation, his cultural education is likely to prove of little practical value either to himself or to society.
The educational requirements of the various occupations are outlined in the analyses of the occupations in Part II. There never was a time when it was easier for the sincere seeker of knowledge and training to obtain an education. All over the country, under public, private and philanthropic auspices, courses of training are established, or are being established, for every conceivable kind of work. No matter what your circumstances or previous education may be, you can find a school that will provide the training you need.
In choosing a school, you should first consider your own circumstances and needs, and then try to find the school that most nearly meets your requirements. To help you do this, there are many sources of school information available. Practically all of these are described below:
Bureau of Education, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C.
Publishes from time to time bulletins of information regarding education and educational institutions in the United States and possessions. These bulletins are obtainable free of charge direct from the Bureau, or from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., in which case a small charge is made. The Bulletins are also on file in most public libraries. A list of Bureau publications is also issued periodically, and is obtainable free on application to the Bureau at Washington.
Bulletin No. 28, 1922, "Statistics of Universities, Colleges and Professional Schools, 1919-1920."
Contains a list of universities, colleges and professional schools; the location of each; courses of study offered by each; number of professors and instructors; number of students; other information.
Bulletin No. 10, 1920, "Correspondence Study in Universities and Colleges."
Contains list of universities and colleges offering correspondence courses; description of correspondence study methods; high school and college entrance courses; cost to student; scholarships and other information.
Bulletin No. 47, 1919, "Private Commercial and Business Schools, 1917-1918."
Contains two lists :
1. Purely private commercial and business schools, not connected or affiliated with any religious or public organization.
2. The Y. M. C. A. commercial departments and schools.
The lists contain the names and location of the schools; number of teachers; number of students; day and night courses; hours per day and night; tuition fees; time required for completion of courses.
Patterson's American Educational Directory,
American Educational Co., Chicago.
Contains a list of all schools and colleges in the United States, including universities and colleges, secondary and preparatory, professional, music, art, business and trade schools; a list of correspondence schools; information as to subjects taught, class of student admitted, religious affiliations, year established and name of executive head. On file in most public libraries.
American Private Schools,
B. E. Sargent, Boston.
This directory contains a critical list of private schools, including boys' schools, military schools, professional schools, schools of music, art, business, technological and trade schools. On file at most public libraries.
College and Private School Directory of the United States,
Educational Aid Society, Chicago, Ill.
Contains a descriptive list of universities, colleges, private schools, technical, commercial, vocational and correspondence schools. On file in many public libraries.
United Y. M. C. A. Schools,
The International Committee of Young Men's Christian Association, 347 Madison Ave., New York.
The United Y. M. C. A. Schools maintain schools and courses in practically every Y. M. C. A. center in the country. These schools offer a wide range of general, technical, commercial and trade courses, which are open to all men, regardless of creed. Information about these courses may be obtained at your local Y. M. C. A., or from the International Committee at the above address.
K. of C. Schools,
Knights of Columbus Committee on Education,
New Haven, Conn.
The Knights of Columbus are maintaining and establishing schools and courses of study in K. of C. centers all over the country. These schools offer a wide range of general, technical, commercial and trade courses, which are open to all men, regardless of creed. Information regarding these courses may be obtained from the Educational Secretary at the above address.
Y. M. H. A.
The Young Men's Hebrew Association, National Office,
352 Fourth Ave., New York.
The Young Men's Hebrew Association maintains community centers in many cities throughout the country, at which are offered courses of study and lectures on cultural subjects, including art, music, citizen-ship, etc. Some centers also offer commercial and preparatory courses. These courses are open to all men, regardless of creed. Further information regarding these courses may be obtained at the National Office, at the above address.
In addition to the above sources of information, there are many professional societies, some of which maintain educational departments. Most of these societies are, as a rule, glad to furnish information regarding schools offering instruction in the professions which they represent. A self-addressed and stamped envelope should accompany each request for information. The names and addresses of the more prominent national professional organizations are given below:
Accountants, American Institute of, 135 Cedar St., New York.
Actors' Equity Association, 115 W. 47th St., New York.
Actuarial Society of America, 256 Broadway, New York.
Advertising Clubs, Associated, 383 Madison Ave., New York.
Aeronautic Association, National, 17th St. N. W., Washington, D. C.
Agricultural Teaching, American Association for the Advancement of, Secretary, H. D. Cotterman, University of Maryland, College Park,
Architects, American Institute of, 1741 New York Ave. N. W., Washington, D. C.
Arts, American Federation of, 1741 New York Ave. N. W., Washington, D. C.
Authors' League of America, Inc., 22 East 17th St., New York. Automotive Engineers, Inc., Society of, 29 West 39th St., New York. Banking, American Institute of, 110 East 42nd St., New York.
Bar Association, American, Section of Legal Education, Baltimore, Md.
Chemical Society, American, 1709 G St. N. W., Washington, D. C.
Civil Engineers, American Society of, 33 West 39th St., New York.
Electrical Engineers, American Institute of, 20 West 39th St., New York.
Mechanical Engineers, American Society of, 29 West 39th St., New York.
Medical Association, American; Council on Medical Education, 535 No. Dearborn St., Chicago.
Ophthalmology and Oto-Laryngology, American Academy of, New Willard Hotel, Washington, D. C.
Typothetae of America, United, 608 So. Dearborn St., Chicago.
Screen Writers' Guild of the Authors' League, 6700 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Cal.
Public Schools.—Many excellent courses of study are offered in schools which may not be located through any of the sources given above. In many cities the local school system provides instruction in technical, trade and commercial subjects in day and evening classes. Information about such courses may be obtained directly from the local board of education. Normal and teachers' training schools and courses for teachers of industrial subjects are conducted by both city and state authorities, as well as by colleges and universities. Information about such schools and courses may be obtained from the State Board of Education located at the capital of your state, or from your local board.
Extension Courses.—Colleges and universities all over the country are expanding their facilities to take care of the increasing demands that are being made upon them. Courses of study are being added daily to the already large list. Especially is this true of the extension departments of the universities. These departments offer courses at hours convenient to those who must study while earning a livelihood. One does not have to be a high school graduate or take an entrance examination to qualify for these courses. As a rule, they are open to anybody who wishes to take them up. It is impossible for the U. S. Bureau of Education or other agency to keep up with this constantly expanding list of courses; hence, the publications described above are not likely to be complete. While these publications may be used as general references, in all cases, before making a final choice of school, you should send for the catalogs of the institutions which interest you, and study and compare them carefully.
Correspondence Schools.—The value of correspondence study is now well established. Besides the many private correspondence schools, good, bad and indifferent, many colleges and universities all over the country are offering home-study courses. The list of these institutions given in the U. S. Bureau of Education Bull. No. 10, 1920, is too old to be complete. However, a request to the Extension Department of any of the universities will bring detailed and up to date information about their home study courses. One does not have to be a high school graduate to qualify for these courses; as a rule, they are open to anyone who wishes to take them up.
While the home study courses offered by the extension departsments of the universities are, as a rule, desirable, the same cannot be said of the courses offered by all the privately owned correspondence schools. This statement should not be taken as a reflection upon private correspondence schools, for there are a number of such schools doing excellent work in some cases even better than the resident schools. But it is practically impossible for the individual to judge the value of many of these private correspondence school courses, for which exaggerated claims are frequently made by their sponsors. Even the better class correspondence schools offer some courses which do not measure up to the standard of the courses upon which their reputations were built. Thus, one correspondence school may be better for technological courses, another for commercial courses. There is no official regulation of correspondence schools beyond that of the post-office regulations regarding the use of its mails to defraud. All correspondence schools may be relied upon to furnish the instruction they offer; it is in their estimate of the value of this instruction that exaggeration sometimes enters. Many magazines and metropolitan newspapers which carry school advertising offer information about schools on request. In judging a correspondence course, the prospective student should consider not only the reputation of the school, but especially, the probable value, to himself, of the particular course in which he is interested.
Some studies may be more successfully pursued by correspondence than others; and some persons may succeed with correspondence instruction, where others may fail completely. For those who live a long distance away from populated centers, correspondence courses are very valuable, provided the student is really in earnest and spends the required time and effort on his work. The lack of personal contact with a teacher and with other students doing similar work is a great disadvantage, for even an earnest student will often meet with discouragement, which a sympathetic teacher or fellow-student could dispel. Since correspondence courses are taken at home and without super-vision, there is a tendency to skip parts or go over exercises hurriedly, because of the interference of home life in general. But if the student is a hard-working individual, who is taking up the course because he really means to succeed, he will succeed in spite of all obstacles. He can take his lessons off by himself and study earnestly, and get all he can out of them. Again, it can be said that all he needs is a definite aim and sufficient will power to stick to his studies in spite of all obstacles.
Power of Will.—One hears a great deal about the power of will. What is the secret of will power, and how can will power be acquired? The answer is quite simple. Suppose you make up your mind to do a certain thing—to follow a certain course of study, for instance—and after working enthusiastically for a length of time you gradually begin to waver and neglect your study. Why do you weaken in your determination? Is it because you lack will power? Not at all. A great many people would think so, and thus condemn themselves of a weakness which in reality they do not possess. The reason why you give way so readily to the inclination to neglect your studies is because you have begun to doubt the wisdom of the original decision—and to question whether the course you have taken up is worth all the trouble and hard work that it entails. In other words, the thing which should have been a closed question and settled once for all has become again a matter of indecision. The same questions that you asked yourself when you were contemplating taking up your new course of study crop up again; but this time the answers are not the same. Having embarked upon your new course, you have, to an extent, entered upon its duties—and find them distasteful. The line of work which, before you entered upon it, seemed so attractive, ceased to make its appeal as soon as you became somewhat familiar with it. You do not like it, and so finally decide to drop it.
You have dropped the course which at first seemed so attractive not because you lack will power but because you lacked sufficient knowledge when you first took it up. The remedy, then, is quite obvious. A vacillating will is due to indecision. Indecision comes from lack of knowledge. If you would develop your will, do not try to force it to maintain a determination which is based on insufficient knowledge, and which your common sense tells you is unsound. You will only fail, and weaken your will as a result. Instead, make your decisions more deliberately and only after the most painstaking study. Impulsiveness and poor will power go hand in hand. Especially in a matter as important as the choice of your life work, it is essential that you bring to bear all the thought, study and information that you can. And then, if you make your decision in accordance with the instructions provided in this book, you will have little difficulty in maintaining it, and your will power will not have too great a strain placed upon it.
Once started on your vocation, stick to it. Do not let anything turn you from your original intentions. If, after you have chosen a vocation, you are not sure whether you ought to stay where you are, but keep thinking you could do better somewhere else in some other line of work, you can trace that all back to the fact that when you made your original decision it was made without sufficient knowledge and thereafter you will never be quite sure whether you did just the right thing. Half of the misfits, the "square pegs in round holes" will tell you that if they had only studied and selected carefully they might have succeeded, whereas now they are only mediocre workers at the thing they are doing.
There should be only one decision in choosing your vocation, and that should be the right one. You should make that decision deliberately, and only after you have acquired all the information involved in the question. Do not spare time and trouble in getting all the information available. It may seem like a waste of time to you now, but in the end it will save you much more than that amount of time and trouble, and will prevent you from becoming a drifter. Once you are certain you have made the right choice, you will waste no time thinking about other opportunities, but devote all your time and enthusiasm to making a success in the work which you have chosen. When you have made your choice, put it down on paper, together with all the reasons that guided you in making that choice. Then, if you are ever beset with questioning fears as to whether you did the right thing in going into the line of work in which you seem to be struggling, go to that piece of paper and see why you made that choice. This fresh review of the reasons will give you renewed certainty and strength to go on with your work, and bring you nearer and nearer to the desired goal.
Summary.—We have seen that there are far too many misfits in the world of industry. We have seen their unhappiness and the unhappiness of those about them, as well as the loss to them-selves and society from having "square pegs in round holes." Fortunately, we have also seen that such misfitting of man to industry is avoidable, and that the greatest success and greatest happiness are experienced when a man is doing the work he loves to do. From the earliest ages, man has tried to solve the problem of fitting the man to the job. Magic, fortune telling, clairvoyance all these appeals to the supernatural powers that man thought ruled the universe—have failed in their turn. The pseudosciences claimed much to their credit, yet physiognomy and phrenology were each tried and rejected by straight-thinking men and women. Vocational psychology may in time be developed into something of value in helping to guide the youth in the right choice of his life work, but at present the science is still in the formative stage and of little use.
But, in spite of all these things, there yet remains a way. The individual can do for himself what others have failed to do for him. He can study himself better than any outsider can study him; and he can determine his own characteristics by self-study much better than a physiognomist could tell him those characteristics by studying his face, hands and what not, or the phrenologist by the reading of his skull. All that is required is a little time, patience and knowledge—the knowledge of self, and then the knowledge of occupations; so that the individual may compare his own characteristics with the qualities and characteristics which each vocation requires. A careful filling out of the self analysis questionnaire, and a careful study of the various occupations analyzed in Part II, will be the foundation upon which the individual can make a choice and be sure that he has made the best one. All the counseling and all the questioning in the world cannot do away with the fact that each individual must take the final step by himself. And from the moment the step is taken and the decision made, it rests upon the individual himself as to how far up the ladder of success he will go. If he plans well, and keeps his eyes always on the goal before him, if, when he has secured his first job, he constantly strives to make good, continually looking ahead to, and preparing for, advancement, he is bound to succeed.
If you have studied yourself until you know yourself, and have studied the various occupations until you have come to the conclusion that there is only one occupation for you to follow, and you have made your plans accordingly, there is but one other thing to consider, and that is that at all times you keep your honor clean and your character above reproach. With the' right knowledge fortified with honesty, energy, morality, reliability and all the other essentials of good character, every man can win success in the career which he has chosen.
No course of study, no matter what its nature, whether a book, a correspondence course or a university course, can be complete without outside reading. The following list of books has been carefully selected, and you are urged to read as many of them as you can. If any question arises in your mind that is not fully answered in this volume, you will find it treated more fully in one of the following books. The more thoroughly you study the subject, the more likely you are to make a wise decision.
BLOOMFIELD, MEYER: "Readings in Vocational Guidance," Ginn & Co., Boston, 1915.
—"Youth, School and Vocation," Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1915. BREWER, JOHN M.: "Vocational Guidance Movement," The Macmillan Co., New York, 1916.
CRAFTS, W. F.: "Successful Men of Today," Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1905.
HALL, S. R.: "How to Get a Position and How to Keep It," Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1908.
KITSON, HARRY D.: "How to Use Your Mind," J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, 1921.
RYAN, W. CARSON, JR.: "Vocational Guidance and the Public Schools,"
U. S. Bureau of Education, Bull. No. 24, 1918, Washington, D. C.
"A Course in Phrenology," Chicago Psychic Research Co., Chicago, 1900. BALKIN, HARRY H.: "New Science of Analyzing Character," Rochester Times Union, Rochester, N. Y., 1919.
FOWLER, JESSE ALLEN: "Brain Roofs and Porticos," Fowler & Wells Co., New York, 1908.
BLACKFORD, CATHERINE: "Analyzing Character," Review of Reviews Co., New York, 1916.
FOSBROKE, GERALD E.: "Character Reading Through the Features," G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1914.
MORRELL, EDWIN: "Science of Judging Men," Knox School of Salesman-ship, Cleveland, Ohio, 1917.
HOLLINGSWORTH, H. L.: "Vocational Psychology," D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1916.
PINTNER, RunoLF: "Intelligence Testing," Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1923.
STERN, WILLIAM L.: "Psychological Methods of Testing Intelligence," Warwick & York, Baltimore, Md., 1914.
PLANNING YOUR CAREER 71
WHIPPLE, GUY M.: "Manual of Mental and Physical Tests," Warwick & York, Baltimore, Md., 1914-1915.
YOAHUM, C. S., and YERKES, R. M.: "Army Mental Tests," Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1920.
BECKMAN, R. O.: "Self-appraisal," Vocational Service Corporation, Chicago, 1922.
PARSONS, FRANK: "Choosing a Vocation," Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1914.
Planning Your Career
BARRET, CHARLES R.: "Getting a Good Job," American Technical Soc., Chicago, 1917.
MARDEN, ORISON S.: "Choosing a Career," Thos. Y. Crowell Co., New York, 1917.
MERTON, HOLMES W.: "How to Choose the Right Vocation," Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1917.
WEAVER, E. W.: "Building a Career," Association Press, New York, 1922.
ELLIS, A. CASWELL: "The Money Value of Education," U. S. Bureau of Education, Bull. No. 22, 1917, Washington, D. C.
LAPP, JOHN A., and MOTE, CARL H.: "Learning to Earn," The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, Ind., 1915.
WILSON, CALVIN D.: "Working One's Way Through College," A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago, 1912.