ELEMENTS OF THE VOCATIONAL PROBLEM
But, granted for the moment that we could devise and successfully apply exact and accurate standards of measurement for human beings, our work would be only partially done. Any mechanic knows that it is a sad waste of time and pains to standardize tenons, with micrometer and emery paper, to a thousandth of an inch, so long as the mortises are left unstandardized. A valuable man makes an unusual record on the staff of some employer. Other employers immediately begin to lay plans to entice him away. Transferred to another organization, he may prove mediocre, or even undesirable, in his services. Hiring “stars” away from other employers has proved disastrous so many times that the practice is no longer common. Many a flourishing and fruitful tree has been transplanted, only to wither and die—a tragedy involving the tree itself and both orchards. Measured by every known standard, a man thus enticed away may be close to 100 per cent efficient, but the man is only one ingredient in the compound from which results are expected. To know and to rate his aptitudes, abilities, personality, and possibilities is of the highest importance, but these cannot be rated except in relation to his work and to his environment. These are the other two ingredients in the compound. It is quite obvious that all standards for judging men—and for self-analysis—must vary with relation to the work they are to do and the environment in which they are placed.
The important factors of any vocation may be classified very broadly under three heads, namely, nature, position, and requirements. Chart I gives a classification of work, with a few suggestive subdivisions, under each of these three general heads. The meanings of the subdivisions listed under “Nature” and “Position” are clear.
|Combination of Physical and Mental
| \Heavy, etc.
Work has its physical requirements as to size, build, strength, endurance, freedom from tendencies to disease, agility, and inherent capacity for manual and digital skill. It may also have certain requirements as to eyesight, hearing, reaction time, muscular co-ordination, sense of touch, and even, in some particular places, sense of smell and sense of taste. Moral requirements may vary from those of a hired gunman to those of a Y.M.C.A. secretary or a bank cashier.