How To Secure Justice From Others
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THE complaint that one has not been justly compensated is heard more often than any of the other excuses which are usually made in attempting to explain failure. It is an excuse, although not often intended as an excuse. I sympathize with most of the people who make such an excuse—for they are earnest and sincere, and good workers. But, they are mistaken in thinking that they should be given just compensation providing they work well, lead in their work, and give service.
If I buy a railway ticket for a trip from Chicago to New York, if I take the train at Chicago, and if I intentionally get off at Buffalo, have I any right to complain that the train is unjust because it does not land me in New York?
Traveling only a part of the way to your goal does not land you at the goal. You may do your work well, you may be a leader in doing it, and the work you do may be of great service—yet, if you fail to take the next step, you may fail to secure just compensation.
On my way from Chicago, I may pass through Toledo, pass through Cleveland, and reach Buffalo. But, if I fail to make the last lap of the journey, and stay in Buffalo, I should not expect to find myself in New York.
Justice is a factor of human relationship.
Hence, securing justice is not the result of dealing solely with things or words. It depends upon your dealings with people, and how you manage such dealings. If you handle or create things well, you succeed in handling or creating things, but you may fail to secure just compensation if you do not know how to handle those with whom you deal—the people who work with you, the people who buy from you, or the general public to whom you render service. Hand-ling people is the last lap of the journey to justice.
Sins of omission bring failure just as certainly as sins of commission.
If, in your effort to succeed, you fail to develop the ability and capacity of handling people efficiently, then you omit the last step which determines justice. If you fail for this reason, do not blame others. Instead, begin preparing yourself to become a leader in dealing with people, as well as a leader in handling things and using words. Then, just compensation will reward you.
There is justice in the world-for God rules it!
If it were not so, all things would disintegrate over night. Evil separates, disrupts, and destroys. Good unifies, and binds, and holds things together. Do not misjudge, as did the blind Hindu who felt only the elephant's trunk and decided that the elephant was like a tree. Judge not the whole by a part, nor a part by the whole. Every effort in life brings its own just and full reward, but no more.
Each kind of service is paid in its own kind.
Mr. Rockefeller, Senior, was the first oil man who vividly imaged oil flowing as a fluid. Many oil men, who at that time were wealthier than Mr. Rockefeller was, thought and planned as well as did Mr. Rockefeller. They thought of the oil business—the uses of oil, the cost of oil, the cost of its trans portation, the selling price, and the profit.
But Mr. Rockefeller vividly imaged oil running from the wells, and this image of oil flowing of itself made him think of pipe-lines as a means of transportation. It was this means of transportation which made Mr. Rockefeller the great oil king. In so far as his fortune resulted from this process of vivid imaging, the return to him in money is a just return.
On the other hand, Mr. Rockefeller failed for years to idealize his relation to the rest of society. He thought of himself as a man standing alone. For forty years he was silent—unwilling that any member or official of his company should give out any statement to the public, regarding the company's policies or methods. He failed to idealize the truth that all men are bound together in social structure; and consequently, separating himself from others, he failed to win the trust and good will of mankind.
Because he vividly imaged a material factor, a great material fortune was returned to him, and he became the greatest industrial success of his time. This is just.
Because he failed to idealize himself as a man bound together with all other men, the trust and confidence of mankind was not given him. In this, he was once the greatest individual failure in history. And this also was just !
God is a just God!
The nature of the compensation you receive depends upon the kind of service you render. If you demand money for a service of friendship, you will be denied the money or lose the friendship. That is just. This law is as old as the world : "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's." To obtain material compensation, render service which materially aids in meeting human needs.
To secure justice, be just. If you are doing only a part of the work, either in producing service, or in rendering service, determine what part of the service you render, and then image yourself in the shoes of the other man, to determine justly for him, the proportion of the service which he renders.
A short time ago, when talking with some mechanics in a typewriter factory, I heard this complaint, "We're not getting what's due us. These here typewriters cost only $21 apiece—and that there $21 includes the cost of every particle of material what goes into a machine, and it pays for all the labor what makes it. The company sells it for $100. They make $79 clear. I tell you, were 're not getting our share of the profits."
Such men value the material which goes into an article, they value the labor expended on it in the factory-but, they fail to value any service except that which they perform.
They fail to realize that it would not be profitable to keep them at work making typewriters unless there was a large organization to advertise and sell and distribute the typewriters after they are made. Every large manufacturer knows that advertising a product—one of the means of rendering service—often costs more for each article than the actual production of it.
Then also, there is the cost of all the office force, of all the selling force, of insurance, of taxes, of the interest on the investment, and a thousand and one overhead charges about which workmen seldom think.
On the other hand, employers often think only of the service they are rendering, and this ultimately means failure because it is unjust.
It is remarkable—almost a mystical truth —that your compensation increases rather than diminishes in proportion as you justly value the services of others as well as the services you render, and in proportion as you lead others to do the same. Seemingly more mysterious is the truth that the compensation of each person increases in pro-portion to its division on this basis. It is again the law of the loaves and fishes ; when two people, who are working together, justly value each other's services, there is harmony, greater cooperation, better and more work done, and a greater service rendered. Then, the reward to be divided is so much increased that each receives a much greater amount than he would otherwise receive.
The degree of compensation you should receive corresponds to the degree of service you render. The greater the good to the largest number, the larger your just reward.
God is a just God !
The importance and difficulty of managing people determine the reward of the leader.
As a leader in dealing with things, you receive from three to ten dollars a day.
As a leader in using words, you receive from five to fifty dollars a day.
As an efficient leader in managing and directing people, you may receive from five thousand to one hundred thousand dollars a year.
And, in leading people, adaptation of your work so that it helps leaders to train their subordinates successfully to handle the men under them, greatly increases your just compensation. So far as I know, there are but two men in America who have given years to studying the subject of executive leadership. One is a university professor, and the other is myself.
My friend has made a very extended study of the leaders of history—Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, et cetera. He has classified the qualities which make a man a leader. I have no such extended knowledge as my friend has. My study of leadership has been confined to men doing the work of the world in industry and government.
He lectures about leadership to young men in university classes. My work has been confined to consultation—pointing out to business executives, how they can select leaders from among their men, train them, and develop them.
My friend, for his talks at the university receives about one-tenth as much each day as I receive in consulting fees; yet his brain is as good as mine, his study is more comprehensive than mine and his knowledge is just as certain as mine.
Compensation depends on the result, and the degree of effort. More is paid for service in managing people than for service in using words; and more is paid for efficient use of words than for making things. There is justice in this.
It is more difficult to manage people than it is to deal with things, or to use words. You can do whatever you wish with a thing, but it, of itself, has no power of changing itself. You can do whatever you wish with a word—spell it correctly or incorrectly, or place it where you please in a sentence—but it, of itself, has no power of changing itself or its position.
With people it is different. You may direct ten people to do a thing a certain way. Yet, each of those ten has the power within himself of doing what you ask him to do in twenty different ways. And, each one of the twenty ways in which each person can do it may differ from the way in which you have directed that it should be done. This is why managing people is so difficult a task. This is why leadership of people is so important. This is why efficient leadership of people is so well paid for.
Since both my university friend and myself instruct others on the same subject, is it just that I should receive more each day for my work than he receives for his? Of course, I have urged my friend to drop his university work and adapt his knowledge to meet actual human needs of the men of action in industry and government, rather than talk about his knowledge to young men, of whom not one out of ten will ever man-age other people. The justice of his compensation is determined by the number of lectures he gives. The justice of my compensation is determined by my adaptation of my knowledge to meet the human needs of executives, who are in action.
We often hear the story of an inventor being cheated out of the profits of his invention, while a manufacturer makes millions out of it. I hold no brief for the dishonest man—manufacturer or inventor. And, I regret that some inventors have been robbed by unscrupulous lawyers, promoters, and manufacturers.
But there is also a large class of inventors who have not received the compensation they think they should have received be-cause the service which they started would never have been rendered to the people except for the effort of the producer and the distributor. It is the promoter, the manufacturer, and the distributor who renders the service, and it is just that those who render the service should be paid for doing it.
I appreciate the service of the weaver who weaves the canvass which is used for the artist's painting. I know that it is just that the weaver should be well paid for his weaving. But if such a weaver is unable to pro-duce an artistic painting it is unjust for him to demand extra pay for his weaving, solely because he cannot produce an artistic painting.
We are sorry for the inventor who has not the character, push and ability to market his own article. We are also sorry for the man who lacks the ability to know whether or not the man with whom he is dealing is honest. Being sorry for a man, who lacks certain character qualities, is one thing; but to assert that he should receive compensation because of his lack of certain character qualities is quite another thing.
Your position in life and the justice which will be rendered to you depends on the means you use to secure justice. Justice is the balance of certain activities between man and man. Hence, action is the one means of communicating to others the value of the service you render, and the best means of leading them to pay you a just compensation for that service. Talk will not secure justice, for justice is a balance of action. Just as millions of dollars spent in advertising falls flat and fails, if not handled in the right way, so your talk of the value of your services and your demands for greater compensation will fall flat if you do not use the right means to secure justice.
God is a just God !
Each means produces after its own kind! Words produce words !
Action produces action !
Since justice is a balance of action between man and man, action, is the means to be used to secure justice !
The success of your demand for just compensation depends on your capacity to persuade and convince others of your value. If you have failed to secure just compensation, you have failed because you have not used the right means of securing that which is justly due you. The remedy is not fault finding—not even finding fault with yourself ! The remedy is the right use of the right means—using action instead, of talk—to secure justice.
A young man who had worked three years in a publisher's office lately came to me for help. When he began work, it was his ideal to do everything possible in the interest of his employer. He was loyal and willing. Soon he began working overtime to show how willing he was to work. Month after month, he asked no extra pay for this over-time work, although other employees, who now and then worked overtime, left their credit slips with the bookkeeper, and received extra pay at each week end.
When the young man came to me, he was discouraged and a little bitter. He complained of the injustice of his employer. For three years he had done more work than any other employee. He had been willing to do more than others, and work overtime also, although he had not been paid for it. However, his employer had given him only a three-dollar increase when he had asked for a five-dollar raise, although others, who had not worked so well nor so many hours, had been given greater increases in salary.
It did seem unjust.
What mistake had he made?
First, he was not loyal, nor faithful, nor honest. He was not loyal to himself, nor faithful to himself, nor honest with himself.
Second, to his employer, the young man told falsehoods about himself and his work. When he again and again failed to hand in his credit slip to the bookkeeper, for extra pay for extra work, as others did, he told his employer—much more effectively than though he had told it in words—that he did not place a high valuation upon himself, his time, or his work. His action, in not accepting pay for overtime, told his employer that the young man did not consider his own work as equal to that of the others. Consequently, by his action, he told untruths about himself and his work. He was not even truthful and honest with his employer.
Third, he not only failed to use the right means, but he misused the means he did employ. Action is very much more effective than words. To request a raise, he used only words. Then, he used action (unintentionally) to tell his employer that he did not value his own services, as much as other employees valued their services.
Moreover, although this fine young man did not realize it, the ideal which led him to work so many extra hours in that office was not a worthy ideal. He wished to feel that he was doing much more work than that for which he was paid, and (subconsciously) he wished his employer to feel under special obligation to him because of the extra work done without extra pay. Such an attempt to place his employer under special obligations to him—for the purpose of winning a future reward—is ethical blackmail. It re-acted upon the young man who attempted to use it—even though his intention was ideal.
The above account of this young man's experience, does not mean that you should work only by the clock, or that you should not work extra hours unless you are paid for such work; but, it does mean that you do not secure just compensation for your services unless you justly value yourself and your work, and use the right means.
In revising this book for a new edition, I have the opportunity of telling you what happened, later, in the case of this young man. Shortly after the conversation, of which I have just written, he left the firm with which he was then working, and se-cured a position with another publishing company.
In his new work he was just as willing to work long hours, just as devoted to his work, just as loyal to his employer, as he had tried to be in his first position.
But, he took a different attitude, and manifested it in action. He recognized himself as a man. He recognized that a man does not win success or secure justice by playing the part of a slave, willing to work without pay for the privilege of justice in the future.
He changed his bearing; he learned to walk as a man of power walks. His shoulders said "I can do all the work and easily bear all the burdens you heap upon me." He held his head high, and it said, "But, don't try to heap on me the work which you should do." He worked conscientiously. His work was well done, he knew it, and let every one else know it—by his actions. Whenever he met the president, or any other official of the company, he spoke in tones. which were soft, agreeable, and pleasing—but which also said, "We are men; I am your equal, and you are mine."
The result was as astounding as it was just. Within thirty days he was promoted. During that first year, he was advanced six times; and today, he is a member of the firm. More, he is vice-president and general manager!
It is easy to obtain justice if you live justice. Living justice is living it in action—daring to value yourself and your work as they should be valued, and expressing your conviction by the postures and action of your body.
Talk little about obtaining justice; use words to convey information, but demand and secure justice by action—by the activity of your work, by your manner in dealing with others, and by the postures of your body.
Justice is a balance of ACTION between man and man.
Hence, justice is secured by action, for the first law of God is this—each means reproduces after its own kind !
I am inspired, and dream of writing a great book!
A book to heal the sadness of others!
I work on it, day by day; and year by year.
I consecrate myself to the service of writing it !
But, the book is never finished; it is never published; it is not read by others; and renders no service to them.
I receive no compensation here, and that is just—for we are not paid for service, but for service rendered.