His resignation had to be passed upon by the general manager, who, before accepting it, sent for him.
“What’s the trouble, B.?” said he. “I thought you were getting along fine. We like your work, and we thought you liked the company. Why do you want to leave?”
“I don’t like to say anything about it, Mr. Jones,” said B., “but the plans passed on to me to carry out in the construction of that new power-house down in Elm Street are technically wrong. They mean an expenditure of $35,000 along certain lines which will be pretty nearly a dead loss. When you come to try to use your equipment there, you will find that it all has to be taken out and replaced by the proper materials.
“Suppose you get the plans, B., and show them to me, and explain just what you mean,” said the general manager, who was also a professional engineer of many years’ successful experience.
So B. produced the plans and explained his proposition.
“Why, of course you are right,” said the general manager. “I’m surprised that Mr. F. should have thought for a moment that he could use that type.”
The result was that B. was reinstated and the chief engineer reprimanded. Stung by his reprimand and angered because the correspondence school graduate had bested him, the chief engineer resigned. His resignation was accepted and B. became chief engineer of the company. Later, he was promoted to the position of chief engineer of an even larger corporation, and, finally, occupied an executive position as managing engineer for a municipal light and power plant in one of the large cities of the country.
Some years ago we spent a few months in a very comfortable and homelike hotel in one of the largest cities in the Middle West. Down in a nook of the basement of this hotel was a private electric light plant. In charge of the plant was an old Scotch engineer delightful for his wise sayings and quaint philosophy. The fireman, a young man named T., was rather a puzzle to us. He had all the marks of unusual mechanical ability, and yet he seemed to take only the slightest interest in his work, and was constantly being reproved by his chief for laziness, irresponsibility, and neglect of duty. “What’s the use?” he asked us, after we gained his confidence, and had asked him why he did not take greater interest in his work. “What’s the use? After years of experience shoveling coal into a firebox and monkeying around these old grease pots, I suppose I might get an engineer’s certificate. Then what would I be? Why, just like old Mack there—$75 to $100 a month, sitting around a hot, close basement twelve hours a day or, perhaps, twelve hours at night, nothing to look forward to, no further advancement, no more pay, and, finally, T.B. would carry me off because of the lack of fresh air, sunshine and outdoor exercise. No, thank you!”