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The quality which you put into your work will determine the quality of your life. The habit of insisting upon the best of which you are capable, of always demanding of yourself the highest, never accepting the lowest or second best, no matter how small your remuneration, will make all the difference to you between failure and success.

"If the laborer gets no more than the wages his employer offers him, he is cheated; he cheats himself." A boy or a man who works simply for his salary, and is actuated by no higher motive, is dishonest, and the one whom he most defrauds is himself. He is cheating himself, in the quality of his daily work, of that which all the after years, try as he may, can never give him back.

If I were allowed but one utterance on this subject, so vital to every young man starting on the journey of life, I would say: "Don't think too much of the amount of salary your employer gives you at the start. Think, rather, of the possible salary you can give yourself, in increasing your skill, in expanding your experience, in enlarging and ennobling yourself." A man's or a boy's work is material with which to build character and manhood. It is life's school for practical training of the faculties, stretching the mind, and strengthening and developing the intellect, not a mere mill for grinding out a salary of dollars and cents.

Bismarck was said to have really founded the German Empire where working for a small salary as secretary to the German legation in Russia; for in that position he absorbed the secrets of strategy and diplomacy which later were used so effectively for his country. He worked so assiduously, so efficiently, that Germany prized his services more than those of the ambassador himself. If Bismarck had earned only his salary, he might have remained a perpetual clerk, and Germany a tangle of petty states.

I have never known an employee to rise rapidly, or even to get beyond mediocrity, whose pay envelope was his goal, who could not see infinitely more in his work than what he found in the envelope on Saturday night. That is necessity; but the larger part of the real pay of a real man's work is outside of the pay envelope.

One part of this outside salary is the opportunity of the employee to absorb the secrets of his employer's success, and to learn from his mistakes, while he is being paid for learning his trade or profession. The other part, and the best of all, is the opportunity for growth, for development, for mental expansion; the opportunity to become a larger, broader, more efficient man.

The opportunity for growth in a disciplinary institution, where the practical faculties, the executive faculties, are brought into systematic, vigorous exercise at a definite time and for a definite number of hours, is an advantage beyond computation. There is no estimating the value of such training. It is the opportunity, my employee friend, that will help you to make a large man of yourself, which, perhaps, you could not possibly do without being employed in some kind of an institution which has the motive, the machinery, the patronage to give you the disciplining and training you need to bring out your strongest qualities.

And instead of paying for the opportunity of unfolding and developing from a green, ignorant boy into a strong, level-headed, efficient man, you are paid!

The youth who is always haggling over the question of how many dollars and cents he will sell his services for, little realizes how he is cheating himself by not looking at the larger salary he can pay himself in increasing his skill, in expanding his experience, and in making himself a better, stronger, more useful man.

The few dollars he finds in his pay envelope are to this larger salary as the chips which fly from the sculptor's chisel are to the angel which he is trying to call out of the marble.

You can draw from the faithfulness of your work, from the grand spirit which you bring to it, the high purpose which emanates from you in its performance, a recompense so munificent that what your employer pays you will seem insignificant beside it. He pays you in dollars; you pay yourself in valuable experience, in fine training, in increased efficiency, in splendid discipline, in self-expression, in character building.

Then, too, the ideal employer gives those who work for him a great deal that is not found in the pay envelope. He gives them encouragement, sympathy. He inspires them with the possibility of doing something higher, better.

How small and narrow and really blind to his own interests must be the youth who can weigh a question of salary against all those privileges he receives in exchange for the meager services he is able to render his employer.

Do not fear that your employer will not recognize your merit and advance you as rapidly as you deserve. If he is looking for efficient employees, - and what employer is not? - it will be to his own interest to do so, just as soon as it is profitable.

W. Bourke Cockran, himself a remarkable example of success, says " The man who brings to his occupation a loyal desire to do his best is certain to succeed. By doing the thing at hand surpassingly well, he shows that it would be profitable to employ him in some higher form of occupation, and, when there is profit in his promotion, he is pretty sure to secure it."

Do you think that kings of business like Andrew Carnegie, John Wanamaker, Robert C. Ogden, and other lesser powers in the commercial world would have attained their present commanding success had they hesitated and haggled about a dollar or two of salary when they began their life-work? If they had, they would now probably be working on comparatively small salaries for other people. It was not salary, but opportunity, that each wanted, - a chance to show what was in him, to absorb the secrets of the business. They were satisfied with a dollar or two apiece a week, hardly enough to live on, while they were learning the lessons that made them what they, are today. No, the boys who rise in the world are not those who, at the start, split hairs about salaries.

Often we see bright boys who have worked, perhaps for years, on small salaries, suddenly jumping, as if by magic, into high and responsible positions. Why? Simply because, while their employers were paying them but a few dollars a week, they were paying themselves vastly more in the fine quality of their work, in the enthusiasm, determination, and high purpose they brought to their tasks, and in increased insight into business methods.

Colonel Robert C. Clowry, president of the Western Union Telegraph Company, worked without pay as a messenger boy for months for experience, which he regarded as worth infinitely more than salary - and scores of our most successful men have cheerfully done the same thing.

A millionaire merchant of New York told me the story of his rise. " I walked from my home in New England to New York," he said, " where I secured a place to sweep out a store for three dollars and a half a week. At the end of a year, I accepted an offer from the firm to remain for five years at a salary of seven dollars and a half a week. Long before this time had expired, however, I had a proposition from another large concern in New York to act as its foreign representative at a salary of three thousand dollars a year. I told the manager that I was then under contract, but that, when my time should be completed, I should be glad to talk with him in regard to his proposition."

When his contract was nearly up, he was called into the office of the head of the house, and a new contract with him for a term of years at three thousand dollars a year was proposed. The young man told his employers that the manager of another house had offered him that amount a year or more before, but that he did not accept it because he wouldn't break his contract. They told him they would think the matter over and see what they could do for him. Incredible as it may seem, they notified him, a little later, that they were prepared to enter into a ten-year contract with him at ten thousand dollars a year; and the contract was closed. He told me that he

and his wife lived on eight dollars a week in New York, during a large part of this time, and that, by saving and investments, they laid up $117,000. At the end of his contract, he was taken into the firm as a partner, and became a millionaire.

Suppose that this boy had listened to his associates, who probably said to him, many times: "What a fool you are, George, to work here overtime to do the things which others neglect! Why should you stay here nights and help pack goods, and all that sort of thing, when it is not expected of you?"

Would he then have risen above them, leaving them in the ranks of perpetual employees? No, but the boy who walked one hundred miles to New York to get a job saw in every opportunity a great occasion, for he could not tell when fate might be taking his measure for a larger place. The very first time he swept out the store, he felt within him the ability to become a great merchant, and he determined that he would be. He felt that the opportunity was the salary. The chance actually to do with his own hands the thing which he wanted to learn; to see the way in which princely merchants do business; to watch their methods; to absorb their processes; to make their secrets his own, - this was his salary, compared with which the three dollars and fifty cents looked contemptible. He put himself into training, always looking out for the main chance. He never allowed anything of importance to escape his attention. When he was not working, he was watching others, studying methods, and asking questions of everybody he came in contact with in the store, so eager was he to learn how everything was done. He told me that he did not go out of New York City for twelve years; that he preferred to study the store, and to absorb every bit of knowledge that he could, for he was bound some day to be a partner or to have a store of his own.

It is not difficult to see a proprietor in the boy who sweeps the store or waits on customers - if the qualities that make a proprietor are in him - by watching him work for a single day. You can tell by the spirit which he brings to his task whether there is in him the capacity for growth, expansion, enlargement; an ambition to rise, to be somebody, or an inclination to shirk, to do as little as possible for the largest amount of salary.

When you get a job, just think of yourself as actually starting out in business for yourself, as really working for yourself. Get as much salary as you can, but remember that that is a very small part of the consideration.

You have actually gotten an opportunity to get right into the very heart of the great activities of a large concern, to get close to men who do things; an opportunity to absorb knowledge and valuable secrets on every hand; an opportunity to drink in, through your eyes and your ears, knowledge wherever you go in the establishment, knowledge that will be invaluable to you in the future.

Every hint and every suggestion which you can pick up, every bit of knowledge you can absorb, you should regard as a part of your future capital which will be worth more than money capital when you start out for yourself. Just make up your mind that you are going to be a sponge in that institution and absorb every particle of information and knowledge possible.

Resolve that you will call upon all of your resource fulness, your inventiveness, your ingenuity, to devise new and better ways of doing things; that you will be progressive, up-to-date; that you will enter into your work with a spirit of enthusiasm and a zest which know no bounds, and you will be surprised to see how quickly you will attract the attention of those above you.

This striving for excellence will make you grow. It will call out your resources, call out the best thing in you. The constant stretching of the mind over problems which interest you, which are to mean everything to you in the future, will help you expand into a broader, larger, more effective man.

If you work with this spirit, you will form a like habit of accuracy, of close observation; a habit of reading human nature; a habit of adjusting means to ends; a habit of thoroughness, of system; a habit of putting your best into everything you do, which means the ultimate attainment of your maximum efficiency.

In other words, if you give your best to your employer, the best possible comes back to you in skill, training, shrewdness, acumen, and power.

Your employer may pinch you on salary, but he can not close your eyes and ears; he can not shut off your perceptive faculties; he can not keep you from absorbing the secrets of his business which may have been purchased by him at an enormous cost of toil and sacrifice and even of several failures.

On the other hand, it is impossible for you to rob your employer by clipping your hours, shirking your work, by carelessness or indifference, without robbing yourself of infinitely more, of capital which is worth vastly more than money capital - the chance to make a man of yourself, the chance to have a clean record behind you instead of a smirched one.

If you think you are being kept back, if you are working for too small a salary, if favoritism puts some one into a position above you which you have justly earned, never mind, no one can rob you of your greatest reward, the skill, the efficiency, the power you have gained, the consciousness of doing your level best, of giving the best thing in you to your employer, all of which advantages you will carry with you to your next position, whatever it may be.

Don't say to yourself, "I am not paid for doing this extra work; I do not get enough salary, anyway, and it is perfectly right for me to shirk when my employer is not in sight or to clip my hours when I can," for this means a loss of self-respect. You will never again have the same confidence in your ability to succeed; you will always be conscious that you have done a little, mean thing, and no amount of juggling with yourself can induce that inward monitor which says " right " to the well-done thing and "wrong " to the botched work, to alter its verdict in your favor. There is something within you that you cannot bribe; a divine sense of justice and right that can not be blindfolded.

Nothing will ever compensate you for the loss of faith in yourself. You may still succeed when others have lost confidence in you, but never when you have lost confidence in yourself. If you do not respect yourself; if you do not believe .in yourself, your career is at an end so far as its upward tendency is concerned.

Then again, an employee's reputation is his capital. In the absence of money capital, his reputation means everything. It not only follows him around from one employer to another, but it also follows him when he goes into business for himself, and is always either helping or hindering him, according to its nature.

Contrast the condition of a young man starting out for himself who has looked upon his position as a sacred trust, a great opportunity, backed, buttressed, and supported by a splendid past, an untarnished reputation - a reputation for being a dead-in-earnest hard worker, square, loyal, and true to his employer's interests -with that of another young man of equal ability starting out for himself, who has done just as little work for his salary as possible, and who has gone on the principle that the more he could get out of an employer - the more salary he could get with less effort - the shrewder, smarter man he was.

The very reputation of the first young man is splendid credit. He is backed up by the good opinion of everybody that knows him. People are afraid of the other: they can not trust him. He beat his employer, why should not he beat others? Everybody knows that he has not been honest at heart with his employer, not loyal or true. He must work all the harder to overcome the handicap of a bad reputation, a smirched record.

In other words, he is starting out in life with a heavy handicap, which, if it does not drag him down to failure, will make his burden infinitely greater, and success, even a purely commercial success, so much the harder to attain.

There is nothing like a good, solid, substantial reputation, a clean record, an untarnished past. It sticks to us through life, and is always helping us. We find it waiting at the bank when we try to borrow money, or at the jobber's when we ask for credit. It is always backing us up and helping us in all sorts of ways.

Young men are sometimes surprised at their rapid advancement. They can not understand it, because they do not realize the tremendous power of a clean name, of a good reputation which is backing them.

I know a young man who came to New York, got a position in a publishing house at fifteen dollars a week, and worked five years before he received thirty-five dollars a week. The other employees and his friends called him a fool for staying at the office after hours and taking work home nights and holidays, for such a small salary; but he told them that the opportunity was what he was after, not the salary.

His work attracted the attention of a publisher who offered him sixty dollars a week, and very soon advanced him to seventy-five; but he carried with him to the new position the same habits of painstaking, hard work, never thinking of the salary, but regarding the opportunity as everything.

Employees sometimes think that they get no credit for trying to do more than they are paid for; but here is an instance of a young man who attracted the attention of others even outside of the firm he worked for, just because he was trying. to earn a great deal more than he was paid for doing. The result was, that in less than two years from the time he was-receiving sixty dollars a week, he went to a third large publishing house at ten thousand dollars a year, and also with an interest in the business.

The salary is of very little importance to you in comparison with the reputation for integrity and efficiency you have left behind you and the experience you have gained while earning the salary. These are the great things.

In olden times boys had to give years of their time in order to learn a trade, and often would pay their employer for the opportunity. English boys used to think it was a great opportunity to be able to get into a good concern, with a chance to work without salary for years in order to learn their business or trade. Now the boy is paid for learning his trade.

Many employees may not think it is so very bad to clip their hours, to shirk at every opportunity, to sneak away and hide during business hours, to loiter when out on business for their employer, to go to their work in the morning all used up from dissipation; but often when they try to get another place their reputation has gone before them, and they are not wanted.

Others excuse themselves for poor work on the ground that their employer does not appreciate their services and is mean to them. A youth might just as well excuse himself for his boorish manners and ungentlemanly conduct on the ground that other people were mean and ungentlemanly to him.

My young friends, you have nothing to do with your employer's character or his method of doing things. You may not be able to make him do what is right, but you can do right yourself. You may not be able to make him a gentleman, but you can be one yourself; and you can not afford to ruin yourself and your whole future just because your employer is not what he ought to be. No matter how mean and stingy he may be, your opportunity for the time is with him, and it rests with you whether you will use it or abuse it, whether you will make of it a stepping-stone or a stumblingblock.

The fact is that your present position, your way of doing your work, is the key that will unlock the door above you. Slighted work, botched work, will never make a key to unlock the door to anything but failure and disgrace.

There is nothing else so valuable to you as an opportunity to build a name for yourself. Your reputation is the foundation for your future success, and if you slip rotten hours, and slighted, botched work into the foundation, your superstructure will topple. The foundation must be clean, solid, and firm.

The quality which you put into your work will determine the quality of your life. The habit of insisting upon the best of which you are capable, of always demanding of yourself the highest, never accepting the lowest or second best, no matter how small your remuneration, will make all the difference to you between mediocrity or failure, and success. If you bring to your work the spirit of an artist instead of an artisan, a burning zeal, an absorbing enthusiasm, these will take the drudgery out of it and make it a delight.

Take no chances of marring your reputation by the picayune and unworthy endeavor "to get square " with a stingy or mean employer. Never mind what kind of a man he is, resolve that you will approach your task in the spirit of a master, that whether he is a man of high ideals or not, you will be one. Remember that you are a sculptor and that every act is a chisel blow upon life's marble block. You can not afford to strike false blows which may mar the angel that sleeps in the stone. Whether it is beautiful or hideous, divine or brutal, the image you evolve from the block must stand as an expression of yourself, of your ideals.

Those who do not care how they do their work, if they can only get through with it and get their salary for it, pay very dearly for their trifling; they cut very sorry figures in life. Regard your work as a great life school for the broadening, deepening, rounding into symmetry, harmony, beauty, of your God-given faculties, which are uncut diamonds sacredly intrusted to you for the polishing and bringing out of their hidden wealth and beauty. Look upon it as a man-builder, a character-builder, and not as a mere living-getter. Regard the living-getting, money-making part of your career as a mere incidental as compared with the man-making part of it.

The smallest people in the world are those who work for salary alone. The little money you get in your pay envelope is a pretty small, low motive for which to work; It may be necessary to secure your bread and butter, but you have something infinitely higher to satisfy than that; that is, your sense of the right; the demand in you to do your level best, to be a man, to do the square thing, the fair thing. These should speak so loud in you that the mere bread and-butter question will be insignificant in comparison.

Many young employees, just because they do not get quite as much salary as they think they should, deliberately throw away all of the other, larger, grander remuneration possible for them outside of their pay envelope, for the sake of " getting square " with their employer. They deliberately adopt a shirking, do-as-little-as-possible policy, and instead of getting this larger, more important salary, which they can pay themselves, they prefer the consequent arrested development, and become small, narrow, inefficient, rutty men and women, with nothing large or magnanimous, nothing broad, noble, progressive in their nature. Their leadership 'faculties, their initiative, their planning ability, their ingenuity and resourcefulness, inventiveness, and all the qualities which make the leader, the large, full, complete man, remain undeveloped.

While trying to "get square" with their employer, by giving him pinched service, they blight their own growth, strangle their own prospects, and go through life half men instead of full men-small, narrow, weak men, instead of the strong, grand, complete men they might be.

I have known employees actually to work harder in scheming, shirking, trying to keep from working hard in the performance of their duties, than they would have worked if they had tried to do their best, and had given the largest, the most liberal service possible to their employers. The hardest work in the world is that which is grudgingly done.

Start out with a tacit understanding with yourself that you will be a man, that you will express in your work the highest thing in you, the best thing in you. You can not afford to debase or demoralize yourself by bringing out your mean side, the lowest and most despicable thing in you.

Never mind whether your employer appreciates the high quality of your work or not, or thinks more of you for your conscientiousness, you will certainly think more of yourself after getting the approval of that still small voice within you which says " right " to the noble act. The effort always to do your best will enlarge your capacity for doing things, and will encourage you to push ahead toward larger triumphs.

Everywhere we see people who are haunted by the ghosts of half-finished jobs, the dishonest work done away back in their youth. These covered-up defects are always coming back to humiliate them later, to trip them up, and to bar their progress. The great failure army is full of people who have tried to get square with their employers for the small salary and lack of appreciation.

No one can respect himself or have that sublime faith in himself which makes for high achievement while he puts half-hearted, mean service into his work. The man who has not learned to fling his whole soul into his task, who has not learned the secret of taking the drudgery out of his work by putting the best of himself into it, has not learned the first principles of success or happiness. Let other people do the poor jobs, the botched work, if they will. Keep your standard up. It is a lofty ideal that redeems the life from the curse of commonness and imparts a touch of nobility to the personality.

No matter how small your salary, or how unappreciative your employer, bring the entire man to your task; be all there; fling your life into it with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster. Poor work injures your employer a little, but it may ruin you. Be proud of your work and go to it every morning superbly equipped; go to it in the spirit of a master, of a conqueror. Determine to do your level best and never to demoralize yourself by doing your second best.

Conduct yourself in such a way that you can always look yourself in the face without wincing; then you will have a courage born of conviction, of personal nobility and integrity which have never been tarnished.

What your employer thinks of you, what the world thinks of you, is not half as important as what you think of yourself. Others are with you comparatively little through life. You have to live with yourself day and night through your whole existence, and you can not afford to tie that divine thing in you to a scoundrel.


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