Perhaps one of the most difficult causes of misfits to overcome is versatility. He who can do many things well seems always to have great difficulty in fixing upon any one thing and doing that supremely well. The versatile man is usually fond of variety, changeable, fickle; he loves to have many irons in the fire; he likes to turn from one kind of work to another. It is his great failing that he seldom sticks at any one thing long enough to make a marked success of it. Because of his great versatility, too, he is often a serious problem, even for those who can study his case scientifically. It is difficult to give him counsel and it is even more difficult for him to give heed to that counsel when it has been given. The one hope of the exceedingly versatile individual is to find for himself some vocation which has within it an opportunity for the exercise of many different kinds of talents, and for turning quickly from one kind of work to another. Routine, monotony, detail work, and work which is confining in its character and presents a continual sameness of environment, should be avoided by this type of individual.
The inability to do any one thing particularly well is, in its way, as serious a handicap in the selection of a vocation as great versatility. One who can do nothing well finds it just as hard to decide upon a vocation as one who can do everything well. Perhaps the large majority of those who come to us for consultation do so because they feel that they have no particular talent. Oftentimes this is the case. But frequently there are undeniable talents which have simply never been discovered and never developed. Even in the case of those with no particular talent, there is always some combination of aptitudes, characteristics, disposition, and other circumstances which makes one particular vocation far more desirable than any other. It is most important that the individual with only a moderate inheritance of intelligence and ability should learn to invest his little in the most profitable manner possible.
Those who escape wrong choice of vocation on account of their own bad judgment and errors in selection; who are not turned aside into the wrong path by the bad judgment, prejudices, and other errors of parents; who escape from the clutches of sincere and well-meaning, but unwise, teachers; who are not thrown into the nearest possible vacancies by economic necessity; who do not fall short of their full opportunities because of restlessness; who do not have their problems complicated by too great versatility or too little ability, still have many a rock and shoal to avoid.
One very frequent cause of misfits in vocation is the bad judgment of employers. This bad judgment, like that of parents and teachers, arises from ignorance—ignorance of human nature, of the particular individual, and, strange to say, of the requirements of the work to be done. Whole volumes could be written on the bad judgment of employers in selecting, assigning, and handling their employees. This, however, is not the place for them. Neither is this the place for the discussion of the remedies to be applied.