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received a dozen promotions all in one. He never stopped learning. He never stopped climbing until he had the highest position in the business-the presidency of the Western Union Telegraph Company. He is now one of the busiest men in the country. It was just fifty years from the time he commenced to work without a salary until he was elected president of the Western Union. If he had demanded even a small salary to start with all might have been different. If he had been satisfied with his promotion or ten promotions all would have been different, and our telegraph system less complete. But he never stopped learning, and he never stopped growing.
Patrick Houlahan is the superintendent of the Hannibal & St. Joe Railway. Thirty-six years ago he was employed to carry drinking water to the working men on an Illinois railway. Perhaps it isn't so much credit to him to do his work well now-he gets big pay for it—but it is to his credit that when he was carrying that water he did it well and kept it clean, fresh, and cool for the thirsty men. The young man who does the seemingly unimportant thing well from the start, and does it cheerfully, will have no
trouble with more important matters. It is in the beginning of a man's career that he falls down; not in the end.
John G. Carlisle, Secretary of the Treasury in Cleveland's administration, began teaching country school in Kentucky at twelve dollars a month. At the end of a year he asked for fifteen dollars. It stirred the people up to such an extent that the matter of a three dollar raise for the young man was made a campaign issue. He went on the stump in his own behalf and was defeated, but he says the experience gained put him in the House of Representatives a few years later.
Edward T. Jeffery, President of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway, started in the office of the Illinois Central Railway Company in Chicago at a salary of forty-five cents a day. He was another man, or, rather, a boy at that time, who wanted experience and was willing to work for it. He says: "The idea that I was engaged in business was a delight to me." And so hundreds of such men might be named, men who are very giants in their several fields. They commenced for just what they could get, and the fact that these young men took the
position at any price is as much an indication of greatness as anything else they ever did. The young men who are to be the little men of the future refuse to go to work for what they are worth. The young men who are to be the big men of the future go to work for what they can get, and trust entirely to their own skill and merit for promotion.
Getting started is the greatest of all steps toward success, and a man or boy should get the position regardless of the salary in order that he may gain experience and fit himself for any salary. It's an inspiration to a man to be in business even if his salary is unreasonably small. If the salary were the only thing that he was in business for, he might as well quit, perhaps, and become a tramp, but the salary has absolutely nothing to do with it. I repeat it, it is the position. Get the position. Put into it twice as much as is expected. Rejoice that you can get that experience without having to pay tuition as you would in college. Rejoice that you are a part of the world's workers and becoming useful to humanity, and just as surely as the sun rises in the morning your salary will
Out of over a thousand men to whom I have talked personally in regard to getting started, something like two or three hundred have taken exception to this position. These have all been men from twenty-five to thirty-five years of age. They say it's all right for a boy who is not supposed to be worth anything, or who has plenty of time to make it up in, "but I am a man; it's time that I was doing something. I cannot afford to waste any more time in getting experience." It doesn't seem to me that anything could be more unwise. How very foolish for a man to say he cannot afford to waste any more time getting experience, and then waste the next six months or the next year or the next five years looking for some one that will pay him his price. The chances are his price isn't half what he ought to be worth. Had he gone in at the other man's price he would have developed. At the end of five years he would have drawn a handsome salary. If a man is never to old to learn he is never too old to get started right. If he doesn't happen to get started when he is a boy or a young man, the sooner he gets started the better. He has got to start sometime or he will never be right. Suppose a
man takes the wrong road and has travelled a hundred miles in the wrong direction. How absurd it would be for him to say that he didn't propose to waste time to get on the right road and would continue to go the wrong way. Yet this is what is happening right along. On the farm scores of men ask for work and are told that they can get it at eighteen dollars a month, but move on because they couldn't get twenty. Perhaps they get twenty after a while, but they waste a month or two trying to find someone who will give them twenty dollars. It's ten thousand times more agreeable to work on a farm at any price than to travel along the road looking for work. This I know from experience. During the years of 1893 and 1894, in the drought-stricken districts of Nebraska and South Dakota, the best of farm laborers were only able to get work about half the time, and at fifty cents a day at that. There were a good many men in those States who knew what it was to walk along the railroad track or the dusty road for a week at a time before they could get work at any price. In those days, when the sun was beating down on the parched earth and dying grain, work at any price was a blessing.