Friday, July 18, 2014

What an Employer is looking for...

Yesterday I tackled some information on the filing systems used during the 19th century. Today I thought these words about what an employer is looking for in a good employee written to the employee might be helpful as you choose a career for your characters.

A Man's Usefulness in this world, whether in a subordinate position or otherwise, is very generally measured by his ability to adapt himself to circumstances and to be serviceable in whatever capacity he is working, whether the conditions are such as he is accustomed to or are entirely new. To put it in a rough way, his usefulness is measured by his ability to "catch on" The man who is content to seemingly perform the duties assigned him seldom excels in usefulness. On the other band, the man who actually performs all that is allotted to him. and who studies to increase his usefulness by doing certain other things that fall in his way, and which are necessary to be done by some one, even though they do not belong to him, very rapidly increases his measure of usefulness. It is hard to define the difference between a thoroughly useful helper and one who pretends to be useful and actually falls short, except only by the results of a period of trial. The one who pretends is very often so obtrusive in his methods as to came a false impression to prevail concerning his usefulness, and on the other hand, the modest young man whospends his time and strength in doing things instead of talking about them, sometimes fails of recognition because of the very quietness of his ways.

Every Business Man wants helpers who are actually useful. He wants men about him who really perform, not those who sperd their strength in talking about their performances. He requires the assistance of these who are ever alert to save bim work, ratter than the lip service of those who are perfectly .willing to neglect their duties whenever they fee the opportunity without committing an actual breach of contract, even though their shortcomings increase the cares of the principal in small things. Every business man and every manager of a department has enough of higher duties to perform to warrant every small responsibility being carried by a subordinate, and that, too, in a way to save constant watching and plodding, and yet ninety-nine out of every hundred managers, if they talk freely, will say that the things which wear them out in business are the neglected small duties of their assistants. Tbey will tell you that tbey are ever on the alert for fear something which belongs to some one else to perform will be lift undone, or else they are tired out by doing little things which their subordinates, by rights, should perform without their thought or supervision.

The Successful Business Man, and the leader in any enterprise, possesses the ability to do things, day by day, which he never did before, and to learn new trades from time to time, as made necessary by the shifting conditions by which he is surrounded, yet when it comes to the rank and file of his subordinates and assistants he will frequently encounter the assertion," I can't do that" (some new duty), "for I never learned it." Asa rule, the man who utters these words could not do so, meaning what be says, save only with a fair comprehension < f the requirements of the case in his mind. But to see the need of a thing, with the progressive man, is learning to do it. For the inefficient or unprogressive n an to see the need is, on the other hand, only an excuse for declaring that he never learned how to do it, and does not propose to try to learn now. It would be waste of space to present thoughts such as these for the consideration of the reader were it not for the facts, first, that every man is ambitious to succeed ; and, second, that in many cases those who do not succeed owe their failure very largely to standing in their own light in just such ways as above suggested. Source: The Office ©1891 (Not to be confused with the modern tv show.

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