These, then, are some of the reasons people go into and remain in vocations where they do not fit. They are the reasons, also, why so many men are failures or near-failures. Any man is a failure in just the degree in which he falls short of developing and using his best and highest talents and powers.
William James, the psychologist, has said that most men use only a very small percentage of their real abilities. Harrington Emerson, efficiency engineer, says that the average man is only twenty-five per cent efficient and that his inefficiency is due to unfitness for the work he is trying to do. Students of economics say that only ten per cent of all men are truly successful. In this chapter we have presented many of the reasons for the misfit and failure. Some of them are chargeable to parents, teachers, and employers. But the most serious belong rightfully at the door of the individual himself. “The fault, dear Brutus,” says Cassius, “is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
It is highly desirable that parents, teachers, and other guides and advisors of the young should fully inform themselves about human nature and about work. They ought to rid their minds of prejudice and thus free themselves from unwise tradition and useless conventionality. Above all, they need to arouse themselves to the vital importance of ideals—of a clear, definite purpose, based upon accurate knowledge and sound judgment—in other words, upon common sense. This is the vocational problem.
The vocational problem consists, first, of the need of accurate vocational analysis; second, of the need of wise vocational counsel; third, of the need of adequate vocational training; fourth, of the need of correct vocational placement.
It is obvious that the vocational problem cannot be adequately solved by dealing with pupils or clients in groups or classes. It is a definite, specific, and individual problem. Group study is interesting and instructive, but, alone, does not give sufficient knowledge of individual peculiarities and aptitudes. It is obvious from the foregoing analysis of the vocational problem that it is practically identical at all points with the problem of scientific employment. Just as the highest efficiency of the employment department depends upon accurate analysis of the job and of the man, so the highest usefulness of the vocational bureau or vocational counsellor depends upon complete and exact knowledge of the requirements in different lines of endeavor, and the ability to analyze human nature accurately. It is obvious that wise counsel cannot be given, adequate training cannot be prescribed, and correct placement is impossible until these analyses have been properly made.