After many troubles of this kind, G—— finished his engineering course and secured a position in one of the largest corporations in the United States at a salary of fifty dollars a month. At the time when he went to work for the big corporation there were probably three or four hundred other graduate engineers added to the staff. So keen was his mind along mechanical and engineering lines, and so great were his natural aptitudes, that within a few months his wages had been increased to $60 a month and he had been given far more responsible work. Almost as soon as he took up work with the corporation, he began making improvements in methods, inventing machinery and other devices, and thinking out ways and means for saving labor and making short cuts. Within a few weeks after his joining the force he had invented a bit of apparatus which could be carried in the coat pocket, and which took the place of a clumsy contrivance which required a horse and wagon to carry it. In this way he saved the company the price of horses, wagons, drivers, etc., on a great many operations. From the very first the young man rose very much more rapidly than any of the others who had entered the employ of the company at the time he did. Soon he was occupying an executive position and directing the activities of scores of men. To-day, only nine years after his leaving school, he occupies one of the most important positions in the engineering department of this great corporation, and while he does not have the title, performs nearly all the duties of chief engineer.
The point of all this story is that this young man, while he had plenty of mechanical ability and enjoyed machinery, was not fit to be a locomotive fireman or stationary engine fireman. He had, in addition to his mechanical sense and great skill in the use of his hands, a very keen, wide-awake, energetic, ambitious, accurate intellectual equipment, which did not find any adequate use in his work as a mechanic or fireman. Nor could he ever have found expression for it unless he had taken the initiative as a result of wise counsel and secured for himself the necessary education and training. With all his ingenuity, he would always have been more or less a slave to the machine to be operated unless he had trained his mind to make him the master of thousands of machines and of men.
About eight years ago, while we were in St. Paul, Minnesota, a young mechanic, J.F., came to us for consultation. He was about twenty years old, and expressed himself as being dissatisfied with his work.