Page images
PDF
EPUB

times and become sensible and successful men and women. That teacher, although at least thirty years old, and teaching school every year, didn't know that Judge Parker lived on the Hudson, or even that he was the nominee of the Democratic party for President of the United States, although two months had elapsed since his nomination and every daily paper in the country was full of politics. Was she ready for an emergency? What would she do if any of her pupils asked her a sensible question that wasn't in the book? Think of a teacher assuming to train the immortal minds of the future men and women of this country, who, outside of the things taught in the books, doesn't seem to know any more than a caterpillar! She could get a certificate just because she knew what would be asked; she studied the things that were in the books, and by reviewing for a week or two before the examinations she could get through. She knew what she was obliged to know in order to get a certificate perhaps, but she didn't know anything else. Knowing simply what one is obliged to know isn't much credit to anyone.

I met a young man in Concord, Massachusetts, the other day who didn't know where Waldon Pond was, although that beautiful little lake was immortalized half a century ago by Thoreau. This young man had lived in Concord for months, and if he had had his eyes and ears open he would have known that Waldon Pond was within a mile and a half.

While travelling on the "Twentieth Century Limited" the other day I employed the official train stenographer to take my dictation. He did it well, but in my limited conversation with him I learned that he had never heard of George H. Daniels. Think of it! A stenographer for a whole year on the finest train the world ever saw; perhaps the only train that has a general stenographer for the accommodation of the public, and yet not recognize even the name of the general passenger agent of that road. Will that stenographer ever be general passenger agent? Hardly.

True, this is an age of specialists. This young man did his work well, was agreeable and very accommodating, but would he be any less valuable as a stenographer if he knew other things? Why wouldn't it be well for him

to know something of the men who have made his position possible? Why not know everything possible about the great railway system of which he is a part? Why not take a special pride in the railroad business, the officials, and those magnificent trains, those luxurious palaces, that fly through space with the speed of a tornado?

Every day clerks and stenographers, salesmen and managers, men and women, engaged in every kind of work under the sun, are being asked to do things that they ought to know how to do. It pays to cultivate more level-headed common sense, more energy, more hope, more life. High hopes, high aims, and high ambitions are what are wanted. It is knowing more than is expected, and doing more than is expected that wins the prize and makes a person proud of his endeavor. This is what brings promotion. It is the real secret of achievement.

Don't be satisfied with simply doing your work; put your personality into the little things and don't be afraid of doing too much. Don't be afraid of knowing what is going on around you. It is not only your business as an employé, but your privilege and opportunity to know

more and to do more than you are hired to do. It is thinking these things and doing them without any hope of reward that pushes men ahead faster than they had ever dreamed of going. "Folks who never do any more than they get paid for never get paid for any more than they do."

« PreviousContinue »