Working with professionals is always so satisfying in any field. Professional people have the full on knowledge of their subject. Their knowledge, their skills and their devotion is highly appreciable. Professional people’s attitude is also different from others who are doing any job Continue reading
Do you like to work at home? Would you like to be your own boss? Does the thought of being an entrepreneur seem like more work and responsibility than you’re willing to handle? If you answered “yes” to all three of these questions, you will likely enjoy being a freelancer. Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular and a great alternative to working a regular job, especially considering that many people have lost their jobs in recent years or are endangered of becoming unemployed.
What Is Freelancing?
Freelancing is the act of offering an individual or company a service for a fee. Nowadays, many freelancing jobs are being done online and you can do this as well, assuming you have a computer. When freelancing, you are working independently via the Internet for an employer whom is located anywhere in the world, performing some agreed on service. All you need to do is register with a freelancing site, find a job, complete and submit your work, and get paid.
It is a much simpler alternative to starting your own business. You don’t need a large amount of capital to get started, just the vital equipment as a computer and software as well as all fees charged by the site you’re registered with. As for phone jobs, some employers prefer to hire individuals with a land line phone since a cell phone is not as cost effective or reliable.
Other things a freelancer may want to further enhance their career are:
- their own website
- a separate business line
- a business card
- a PO box business address
- a portfolio of their greatest works
Also, you need not register a business name in your state or pay taxes unless you plan to make a large amount of money and/or hire people to help you. Simply determine what type of service you would like to provide and find jobs in that area.
Types of Freelance Jobs
There are nine common types of freelance jobs available on the net including:
1. Writing: Whether it’s articles, ebooks, essays, manuals, press releases, or resumes you would like to write, there are hundreds of jobs on the web on sites as Odesk and Elance to name a few. Writing jobs fall under categories as copywriting, journalism, blogging, and social media.
2. Virtual assistant: For those of you who have a career background as an administrative assistant, office manager, or personal assistant, there are individuals and companies who need your skills.
3. Marketing and public relations: A countless number of businesses out there need a professional who can market their products or services and/or introduce their company to the general public. Once a company attains public exposure, a PR manager then seeks out feedback from the public to inform the business on ways it can improve. Likewise, PR people help an entity get out of a disadvantageous situation and enable it to reach its full potential.
4. Transcription: Some companies hire the help of independent contractors to transcribe or edit their reports. Medical transcriptionists take info from reports submitted by doctors and create written reports. Employers prefer to hire individuals who have certified training or job experience in medical transcription and are familiar with the terms and legal standards in this field. Legal transcriptionists decipher a lawyer’s dictation and generate and edit documents from that. For this, one needs to be familiar with legal terminology and have strong English writing and speaking skills.
5. Call center representative: A freelance call center rep can assist in a company’s customer support functions by handling calls at home. If you wish to pursue this, find out if the company will provide paid training. If not, buying it can be costly and some work-at-home call center jobs are known to be scams.
6. Online tutor: If you have previous experience teaching elementary, high school, or college students in a particular subject, say algebra, you can work as a tutor over the Internet. Before you can become a tutor you must have a college degree on the subject you wish to tutor others in.
7. Editing and proofreading: Assuming you have a good eye for detail and strong grammar skills, there are people who need freelancers to proofread and rewrite various types of documents or books. People of different levels of skill and experience can do this type of work.
…And it doesn’t stop there. You can find other types of freelance jobs if you do some further research.
The Pros and Cons of Freelancing Online
This type of work has great advantages, especially if you would rather be independent. You simply work at home so there is no driving or taking the bus necessary. There is no face-to-face contact when freelancing online and no dress code, you can even work in your pajamas. Also you can set your own schedule and work around your other personal activities. Hence, if you’re a night owl, you can work from dusk to dawn.
Likewise, you can bid on the jobs you want and you’re not obligated to accept any you dislike. As you bid, you can bid on the amount you desired to be paid. However, you must bid competitively to increase your chances of being awarded the job. On the other hand, if you bid too low, you might come across to the employer as a freelancer who lacks experience or does poor quality work and you can be earning less than you’re worth.
If you desire to make a substantial amount of money freelancing online you need a great amount of discipline, ambition, and energy. Being your own boss is not all it’s cracked up to be. You must learn to manage your time efficiently and be comfortable working long hours at your computer. Likewise, you must deal with distractions as the telephone, doorbell, children, pets, etc. Things in your home can distract you such as the TV, video game console, household chores, etc. And if you work at home and your spouse doesn’t, you’ll be expected to take on additional responsibilities as babysitting. If you spend excessive time on recreational activities, you can rob yourself of serious potential income.
Are you really OK working at home? It’s not necessarily easy nor is it for everyone. If you value the social contact of coworkers and the diversity of sights and sounds in the workplace, working at home can become very lonely. Likewise, you may become bored being cooped up in your house all day long. Although commuting may seem like a hassle, it can be a joy as well, especially if you love to shop after work.
Freelancing income alone often is not sufficient to meet your living expenses – not unless you’re a professional with lots of job experience. Most freelance jobs offer low pay, especially if there are numerous people bidding for the same jobs you are. Many companies outsource their work because they know they can pay freelancers much less than they would hiring a full time employee. Freelance work has earned a reputation of a way of obtaining high quality work for dirt cheap and thus, some employers habitually take advantage of online workers.
Likewise, freelancers must pay taxes on all income over $600 earned on one job. For long-term jobs, the employer may require that you provide them with a 1099 for before you can start work. Then, you must report significant earnings on your income tax return when you file next spring.
Keep in mind that work is not always steady or consistent. Some weeks you may be juggling a few jobs simultaneously and other weeks, not be able to find anything. If you’re highly skilled and experienced in your trade, you’re likely to land long-term jobs but they can end suddenly, without warning. Thus, when you’re making good money, you may need to save some of it for times when you’re having difficulties finding work.
Being a freelancer might be just the thing for you. If you suddenly wind up unemployed, you can start working online the day you lose your job. This income can help tide you over until you find your next job. On the other hand, if you’re currently working and need a supplemental income, you can think of freelancing as a second job.
Freelancing may prove to be advantageous if you:
- spend several hours a day on your computer
- don’t mind being cooped up in your home the entire day
- if you are a single adult with no pets or children
- if you are especially skilled at writing or talking on the phone
Overall, if you’re the type of person who would rather be self-employed and can make do without the security and steady income of a regular job, your niche may lie in freelancing.
The Place of Work in Human Life
Some of us might be tempted to define work as something we don’t want to do; but that is all wrong. Work is any form of activity that is directed toward the earning of a living.
The same kind of activity might be work under some circumstances and not under others. A man may work mowing our lawn, and we pay him for it because that is his means of support; but if we mow our own lawn, it is not work in the economic sense. A teacher works conducting classes as a means of livelihood; but your studying in those classes does not help you make a living now, though it probably will later. When Bob Feller pitched for his service unit it was for fun. But when he was with the Cleveland Indians it was work and he was well paid for it.
Why Do People Work?
Work is a necessity to the world’s progress. It is the only way by which the forces and resources of nature have been made useful to man. It is the only way men have arisen from the conditions under which they lived in primitive times to their modern state of comfort and luxury. Often more than one motive urges a person to work.
In most cases we must work to satisfy our wants. In the days of the Jamestown colony, Captain John Smith announced with perfect justice, “He that will not work shall not eat.” The more civilized we are, the more extras we want beyond mere existence, and so the more wisely or faithfully we must work.
Social pressure makes some people work, in order to have the good opinion of their neighbours and acquaintances. Sometimes certain kinds of work bring prestige and influence that one could not otherwise get in an honourable way.
Undoubtedly some people work for the pleasure of it — “for the joy of the working,” as Kipling put it. The artist, the actor, and the inventor find real thrills and delight in what they under take. Andrew W. Mellon, who served as Secretary of the Treasury under three Presidents, is said to have been asked once why a man of his vast wealth, who was already beyond the age when many men retire, kept on in his position. “ I like it, I like it,” was his explanation.
Some work because they wish to render service to others. The teacher, the church worker, and the physician need to pay expenses, but they are anxious also to benefit other people.
Make a list of ten occupations in which your family or neighbours engage and classify them in accordance with the motives that cause them to do their particular work. Is a man lucky if he does not have to work? Illustrate your answer from people you know.
Kinds of Work
All work may be grouped in two great fields — physical and mental. It is physical that we most often think of when we talk about work in general — that kind of toil which calls particularly for the use of muscle power. Mental activity, which requires thinking and planning, is just as truly work as the other kind. Hardly anything, however, is exclusively mental or physical. The ditch-digger must do some thinking when he handles his pick and shovel, and the newspaper reporter has to use his muscles when he operates his pencil or computer keyboard.
Too often workers in one field fail to show appreciation of the importance of work done in other fields. The man who works with his muscles may think of the brain worker as a loafer. The man who does mental work may look down upon the manual worker. The work of the world must be done by people of many kinds of talent. Few people are qualified to do well many different things. If the work we are doing is honourable, it de serves appreciation, whether it is done in an office or on a farm or in a mill.
An economic principle which we call the law of least social cost is this: a worker is most likely to succeed if he engages in those activities for which he is best fitted and which he most enjoys. The same principle applies to communities. There the law might read: a community is most likely to succeed if it engages in those industries and occupations for which it has natural advantages. If we could bring about these conditions for every worker and every community, we might hope for a whole nation prosperous and free from discontent.
Make a list of five occupations which you thick you would not enjoy. Consider each of them with reference to its service to the community and decide what kinds of people would satisfactorily carry on such work.
Make a similar list of five occupations which you think you would enjoy. Why do you feel that way about these occupations? How helpful are they to society in general?
Is there any evidence that your community in its own activities is or is not obeying the law of least social cost?
Cooperation in Work
We have already had much to say about cooperation, or teamwork. How necessary shall we find this to be as we study our economic life! The work of the nation might have to stand still if just one large class of workers should not perform its customary duties for even a week. We expect others to feed us, to clothe us, to carry our messages, to provide the means for us to travel in work or play. We depend upon others even in the actual carrying on of our own work.
Even when primitive men hunted and fished, they found it helpful to work with one another. In early times every man had to be a jack-of-all-trades. Everybody did about the same kind of work. When they worked together, it was simply a case of several people combining to do the same thing simple cooperation. This is still necessary at times, as you realize when you see half a dozen men lifting and carrying a steel rail.
As people increased in number, men began to give more time and attention to those things that each one could do best. Thus division of occupations came about. Some devoted their time to building, some continued to be farmers, some made clothing, some made tools for other people to use. But still the builder did every thing necessary in putting up the house, the farmer raised and marketed every kind of farm product, and the shoemaker put together the entire shoe.
As time went on, however, the operations of a single trade were divided, and definite division of labour came about. Now the builder did not attempt to put up an entire house himself. Today be makes use of carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, painters, electricians, and other kinds of workers.
The process has now advanced to the stage which we call specialization. The wood-worker may make only doors and windows instead of doing all the wood-work about a building. The doctor who tried to remedy every human ailment may now specialize in diseases of the eyes or throat. Some lawyers will accept only certain kinds of cases A teacher may not be allowed to teach anything but English and history, for example, if those are the only subjects in which he has especially prepared himself. Specialization has been carried down to a very fine point.
Why did man at first perform all his own tasks? low was simple division of labour a benefit? Has complex division of labour advanced too far?
Classes of Occupations
Those qualities in goods which enable them to satisfy wants we call utilities. Every occupation men engage in either gives utilities to goods or makes use of their utilities.
We say that a good has time utility if it is present when it will be of use. A storage house, for example, may keep our furniture for us until we can use it more advantageously. A good has place utility if it is in the location where it will be of service. Time and place utility often go together. The railroad and the automobile each may supply place utility. A good has form utility if it is in the shape that will permit it to render service. We want a book, for instance, in the shape books are usually made rather than as large sheets of paper. The manufacturer has the special function of supplying form utility. Possession utility exists when one has the right to use a certain commodity. A house has no possession utility for us unless we have bought or rented it. The merchant or the broker may provide possession utility for his patrons. There are also qualities which we call natural utilities, put into goods by nature. An apple to satisfy our hunger must be a real one, possessing natural utility, and not an attractive imitation made by a skillful toy-maker. Such workers as the farmer and the forester do more than others to help nature provide the natural utilities that permit certain goods to satisfy our wants.
We use the word industry most often to suggest some activity connected with manufacturing or mechanical labour All the great industrial activities of men can be grouped under a few general heads. Indeed, they can all be classified as primary or secondary. Primary industries, like farming, mining, and fishing, deal directly with natural resources and are therefore fundamental. Others, which cannot be carried on until after the products of the primary industries have been made ready, may be called secondary industries, such as manufacturing, transportation, and all the activities connected with buying and selling, or trade. You can’t make steel until the ore has been taken out of the ground, and you have no use for a railroad unless there is something to carry.
It is not always easy to classify particular workers. Should we, for instance, consider an office worker as in the furniture industry if he is employed in the office of a furniture factory? Even the Census Bureau publishes two kinds of classifications of workers — one by industries, and another by occupations, which tabulates them more nearly in accordance with the work they do.
I what occupational groups would you classify the following: gardener, baseball player, minister, salesman for a grocery firm, tailor, carpenter, bookkeeper?
Grades of Workers
Individual workers naturally vary in their ability. Sometimes we classify workers with reference to the training levels on which various occupations rest—that is, the amount and kind of preparation needed for their line of activity.
The ditch-digger or street-sweeper requires little more than physical strength and endurance to accomplish his work. A girl who pastes labels on bottles, or sorts papers, or does some other simple task, needs little more than quickness. Because little special training is required of such workers, we call them unskilled or little skilled.
Next come the semi-skilled workers. These need some experience and training before they can do their work well, but the variety of things that they have to do is limited; and when they have once learned their job, they need only to keep on doing the same kind of thing day after day. The street-car motorman belongs in this group, as well as those who operate much of the machinery in mills and factories.
The skilled laborer needs a considerable amount of training and experience which may run from several months to several years. Besides, he has to be able to adapt himself to jobs which may not be exactly alike. Such workers as the carpenter, the plumber, the paper-hanger, and the like, are in this class, as well as workers with machines who have more to do than merely watch the machine operate.
Next we come to the science level of workers. For them it is not so much a matter of skill in doing mechanical things as of knowing facts and being able to apply them, The chemist, for instance, is engaged in carrying on experiments or otherwise serving in a great factory. He must have special training and possess special information in his particular line of work. A photographer might perhaps belong in this class also.
The fifth class is the expert or professional group. These are the workers who must possess special intellectual ability, extensive study, and practice over a long period in a limited field. The physician, the teacher, and the lawyer are in this group.
Do you think of any kinds of workers whom it might be difficult to classify in any particular group? Which class of workers do you think is the largest? Which class generally receives the highest salary or wages?
The Circle of Economic Activities
Everything that people do or want to do, as far as it has an economic side, will find a place somewhere in the circle of four economic activities — consumption, production, ex change, and distribution.
The use of goods to satisfy wants is known as consumption. In one sense consumption means destruction, as when we eat an apple. With our books, clothes, and homes, the process is more gradual and may not be noticeable at any one time. Consumption is in a way the foundation of our modern life. We would not produce goods unless people wanted to consume them or the producer thought he could make people want to consume them.
Then comes production — the preparation of goods to satisfy human wants. Production is the giving of utilities to goods. Growing things, as the farmer does, making things in the sense that the manufacturer does, and the giving of time utilities and place utilities, such as the railroad and the storekeeper give, are all forms of production.
Even a man in primitive days might produce more things of a certain kind than he could use. Then he would seek to exchange with somebody else who might have produced more of other things than he could use. As our activities have become more and more specialized the necessity for this phase of the circle — exchange — becomes greater. By exchange we mean the transfer of ownership or possession of goods from one person to another. Generally this calls for the use of money or some substitute for it.
The fourth phase of our economic interests we call distribution. This does not mean the carrying or marketing of goods, for those activities belong to production or exchange. Distribution has to do with what becomes of the profits or returns that are earned by those who have helped in production. How much should each worker receive? How much does he receive? The answers to these two questions may be far apart.
Now you see how these four phases of our economic activities form a circle. We want to consume; therefore goods have to be produced for us to consume. Since we do not and cannot all produce the same thing, there must be exchange. We expect some kind of compensation for the services or goods that are ex changed, and with the help of this compensation we are in a position to consume and so go around the circle again and again.
If anything happens to the orderly process of going around this circle, embarrassing times may result. Sometimes more goods are produced than there is a demand for; then business slows up. If workers do not, through the process of distribution, receive the “wherewithal” to buy goods, the process is held up at another point. That is the worst feature of business depressions. When business in some lines is slack, employers may lay off some of their workers. Then those workers cannot buy as they did before, and other lines of business suffer. Then workers are laid off there, and still more cannot buy. To have contentment in our economic life our circle must keep going round and round regularly.
Do men consume in order to produce, as well as produce in order to consume? In which do you think men take the more pleasure? Can a person get an honest living without. engaging in some form of production? Just what does a soldier or sailor produce?
The Factors in Production
Let us think now about some features of production. Four factors, or elements, are necessary in any form of it:
Land is any gift of nature which is used in industry. In this sense the word means not merely the ground we build houses on, but the trees of the forest, mineral deposits, and the water that turns mill wheels. Even the fish in the sea are land in this sense. A longer expression that means about the same thing is natural resources. When land is used for production, the gain or return from its use which the landholder receives is called rent.
Labour is any activity of human beings that enters into industry. This applies to mental and physical effort alike. The man in the office whose work is to think, give orders, and dictate letters is just as much a labourer as the man who looks after a furnace in a great steel mill, or the girl who watches the loom in a cotton factory. Labour gets a return or compensation which we call wages.
Capital is any product of past industry that is used in producing more goods. Be sure to get this idea straight. Money itself is not necessarily capital. Wealth includes capital, but capital is only that part of wealth which is used in producing more wealth. Machinery in the mills, trains on the rail roads, and even the ditch-digger’s shovel are capital. All these were once made by man and are now used directly or indirectly to produce something more. The compensation received for the use of capital by its holders is called interest.
Management is the factor that plans an enterprise and handles or employs the other three factors — land, labour and capital. Industry cannot exist without management. At times the manager may also be a labourer and get wages for his labour, or he may be the owner of the capital employed in the business and receive interest on that account. But the work of management is distinct from either labour or capital. The manager’s compensation or returns we refer to as profits.
Since it is difficult to tell how important is the contribution each of these four factors makes, it becomes a problem to know just how much each ought to get as compensation for its services. Andrew Carnegie was once asked, Which is the most important, land, labour, or brains? “ His reply was, “ Which is the most important leg of a three-legged stool?
Conditions Necessary to Satisfactory Progress
If the circle of economic activities is to move around smoothly, there must be purposeful planning to establish the necessary conditions.
First, there should be individual freedom. You remember the law of least social cost. So one should have what lawyers call freedom of contract and freedom of opportunity to move from place to place and to engage in a job for which he can show he is qualified.
Second, industrial progress goes on most rapidly if workers have some spur to do their best. Such a condition we may call com petition in service. If a person knows that he is the only one who can do a certain piece of work and that nobody else can be secured to take his place, he may be satisfied with less than his best service, unless he has a stronger moral character than some have.
To do their best, however, workers must also have good health and training for their tasks. It is good business, if nothing else, to see that workers have pleasant surroundings to work in and are so protected that their work is not a menace to health.
We need, too, the spirit of cooperation. There should be no unpleasant feelings between one branch of the great industrial world and another. Employers and their workers must be on good terms and mutually understand one another. Farmers and city workers must realize each other’s problems.
Another essential condition to satisfactory progress is security. That may be a personal matter, such as safeguarding a worker on his job in the factory. It may be a community matter, such as protecting the worker as he goes from his home to his place of business or to a factory from marauders or thieves. It may take the form of a sense of soundness in the business world that will encourage business men to keep moving instead of slacking up in their activities and throwing men out of work.
And finally that more or less intangible thing — the square deal must be the motive and ideal back of every one’s business contacts. Suppose the labourer feels that the capitalist wants to get all the returns for himself or reduce the labourer’s returns to the least possible amount. Suppose people in general think that an electric light plant or some other industry on which they depend for convenience and service is carried on simply to make unreasonable profits. Suppose any class of people feels that the activities of its government are carried on to promote the welfare of only one group or a few groups, rather than the best interests of all. Then there will be unrest and discontent and perhaps something worse.
Business and morals cannot be separated. The same Golden Rule which we recommend in our social dealings must find a place in our business relations if they are to go on most pleasantly and efficiently.
Never have boys and girls had it so much in their own hands as now to settle some of the biggest problems in life. Although parents do much, and the public through its schools, libraries, and playgrounds are doing more for boys and girls than has ever been done before, the fact still remains that young people today are settling, largely by themselves, such great questions as what they shall be in the world, how well they shall be prepared to take their place among the world’s doers, and how they shall use the very precious hours of school, occupation and leisure.
In many a school boys and girls decide to leave for work just as soon as the law will let them. In many cases they leave before they have finished the elementary school; they drop out from the lower grades just as soon as they reach their fourteenth birthday. In some cases, real need at home makes it necessary for children to get work, any kind of work, as early as possible. But in a vast number of cases the boy or girl fancies that working in a store or office is more interesting than staying in school, So they take their plunge into working life with no idea as to where they will come out a few years later, and with no thought as to how they might fit themselves to do the work which holds out the best opportunity for them.
So eager are they to begin “life,” as they imagine, that they neglect to think about the need of fitting themselves to fill a place in which they can be of the largest use to themselves and the world. They have not as yet found out, what later they may discover to their sorrow, that more and more the world wants those who are trained to do work of a definite kind with skill and decision. Too late many a youth learns that the big opportunities come only to those who are fitted to take advantage of them; that luck plays but very little part, and purpose and preparation a very large part, in all achievement.
In other words, although many boys and girls are trying to settle their future for themselves, they have not awakened to the fact that no life-career can be settled through whim, impulse or accident. Nothing can be of greater importance to a growing boy and girl than planning for the future, and no subject needs more thoughtful, earnest consideration, and search for the best help and counsel possible. There never has been a time when such life-work planning has been so much needed as the present. All the trades, professions, and businesses are undergoing great changes. The application of science and new ways of doing things are changing even the very furniture and fixings of shop and office.
Now the boys and girls who merely drift into jobs, without aim or plan, are not building a career at all. They do not know the difference between a job and a vocation, and as they have no purpose in choosing an occupation, the chances are that they will float from one place to another, and never stay long enough in any of them to learn anything of real value in advancing them selves. As they have not really studied the facts of the different vocations they have little to guide them in choosing the kind of work they can do best. The result is that positions are taken, not because a future career is offered, but because of such trivial reasons as that the work seems easy, the companionship agreeable, the hours short, or the pay attractive.
Later on, when more serious needs and aims develop and perhaps ambitions are awakened, these young workers, once so eager to get out of school, begin to wonder if they really have been using their time and energies wisely; they ask themselves what they have been learning that will lead to something better; indeed they question now, for the first time perhaps, if they are worth much more than any other untrained youngster just out of school. Perhaps they compare their progress during the precious years of early youth with that of others who have been using all their spare hours, giving up a good deal oftentimes, so as to enable them to do something more than unskilled and everlastingly juvenile work.
Such self-comparison does good, although, unfortunately, it is made too often when opportunity after opportunity has slipped by forever. Too late do many boys and girls discover the difference between what are called “blind-alley” or dead-end jobs and vocations. A blind- alley job will employ any boy or girl, no matter how aim less he or she may be as to the future, and perhaps pay fairly well for what seems to be light work, but in such jobs nothing is gained in the way of real skill; they do not call for reading and study; in other words, they do not train, and therefore can never really lead to anything worth while. Some of the best occupations pay beginners very little, but year by year they teach something of value; each year counts and leads to something better; each year advances those who study and keep on growing and learning all that can be learned in the work. In a very few years we can see a tide gap between the prospects of those who have been blindly drifting from one unpromising job to another, and of those who have been climbing step by step to more and more skill and knowledge and power.
The years from fourteen to sixteen have been Sled the “wasted years” in industry. The thought is that these years are so precious in career-planning that it is highly important to use them as much as possible in pre paring for what we care most to do and can learn to do well. These youthful years are indeed golden, and for many decisive. They mark a turning-point in many lives.
At sixteen we should know better than at twelve or four teen how much we owe to our teachers, friends, home, books, and our surroundings.
Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen we should begin to work for the place we want to win, with resources greater than we can command during earlier years. When we finish the elementary school we have the high school before us and many special kinds of schools. In the high school we often find several courses or departments open for our. choice. In all these secondary schools we find keen interest in the colleges which high school graduates may go to, or the great professional schools, or perhaps the business openings which are ready for the bright high school graduate.
Clearly the high school is the place for trying to settle on a life-calling. In the elementary school we cannot expect final decisions to be made; but very important decisions can and should be made in the high school. In the first place, we decide at this point, whether or not we shall use our school life so as to help us form good habits of work, doing well whatever we have in hand, and finishing whatever task we have begun. Above all else, we should decide rather early in life whether we shall be drifters or strong, purposeful men and women.
Now it is a bad thing to drift, and no one takes proper advantage of his school days without some aim and desire as to the part he shall play later in the great world of effort. It does not matter if we change our ideas of what to be during early school days. Many a rough sketch is made by the architect who plans a building or by a painter who dreams of a picture. Model after model is made by the inventor and sculptor. But every discarded effort, however crude, made with a definite goal or ideal in view, is a step nearer to fulfillment.
Every normal boy or girl has some particular talent or talents, some interests more alert and some powers which are more pronounced than others. It is a large part of the business of the school and the home, and of the child, too, to find out just which are the strongest interests and capabilities of each, and to give these a chance to develop. They may not always develop. They may seem to vanish or to merge into new or hitherto undisclosed gifts and desires. This is well; again the school and home must respect these fresh signs of character and possibility and make the most of them. Destiny does not reveal all her secrets at once, but of this we can be sure: Whatever children, and grown-ups, too, put their best efforts into, is likely to be a blessing both to them and to the world, and wherever interests and talents find real scope there the most fruitful endeavors are likely to be found.
Somewhere in every program of school and home life children should be given an opportunity for discovering what their powers are. Where wise teachers and parents have done this, fewer young people become drifters and ineffective workers; schoolwork takes on new interest and the desire to prepare for a career becomes a mastering force.
For this reason the schools are undertaking new and most interesting duties. A modern school is unlike the school of a generation ago. Those who plan school buildings today must think of things which were not dreamed of twenty or thirty years ago as belonging to a school. We now make provision for school doctors and nurses, playgrounds, school shops, school kitchens, home visitors, vocational advisers, and departments which are like the businesses which we see in the world outside. All these opportunities have come in order to help boys and girls get a good start in life and to end the waste which is sure to follow a wrong start in life; they have come because it is impossible for anyone not a special student of an occupation to obtain a thorough knowledge of it.
Hundreds of new professions and trades have been or are developing because of the great strides made in transportation and invention, because of the vast growth of cities and countries, and because of world-markets and the free movement of masses of people from country to country. Years ago conditions were simpler; the neighborhood perhaps was small, and the neighbours few. Shops and factories and offices were not very far from home. Often several members of a family worked in one place, if indeed they did not own their o shop or store.
Now all this is changed. Years ago a few men made a whole shoe and a shoemaker was something more than a cobbler. To-day in the big shoe factories of
The vocations need to be studied to-day not only from the angle of their multifarious subdivisions, but also of their effects on health and well-being. There is a mass of special literature, growing in volume, which deals with the special problems of health in the various trades.
There are studies of lead-poisoning in lead-using industries, tuberculosis in dusty trades, and fatigue and nervous breakdown in occupations which involve much monotonous repetition of the same motion of the hands or body. One must know something about these vital matters be gore deciding definitely on an employment. Often it is a matter of life or death to possess this knowledge.
Moreover, many of the best openings in all occupations are reserved for those who have taken special courses to be fitted for them. In every State there are various special schools which prepare for the skilled vocations. Nothing can be more profitable and interesting for home and school study than the catalogues of these schools. A boy or girl might start a useful home library of these educational catalogues and in using them with the teachers’ help find out where to go for the best training in a chosen work. Such knowledge is real power. It gives definite direction to ideals and desires, and opens up new channels of opportunity.
Many schools have begun to give such educational in formation as part of informal class talks and exercises; in connection with parents’ meetings; or as lessons in civics, geography, or economics. To know about the different vocations of a town or State and how best to fit for them is to get a good start on the road to citizenship.
In order to help the boys and girls of her class, a certain high school teacher made up an interesting program of class talks on the trades and professions. She stimulated the class to think about the various callings, and one question she wit to each pupil in respect to his chosen occupation probably stirred more thought and interest than any other. It was, “What service to the community do you expect to render by choosing this vocation?” Many a boy and girl had not looked upon choice of a lifework from this viewpoint. Indeed, how many people do? Yet those who go into their life-work with an ideal of service are the honored of the land.
Developing plans and ideals for future service, then, is one of the most precious activities which school and home can encourage. But the building of a life-career is not accomplished through mere wishing and dreaming. Desire does not move things. It is the physical, moral and mental energy back of any ideal which determines how far it is to be realized. In all good work, energy is one of the big items in settling success or failure.
Because the sense of masterful vitality in whatever one does is so important, all who direct the vocational interests of young people believe strongly in athletics, school gymnastics, camping, walking, simple food and plenty of rest. They know that a strong body, a rested frame and a clear brain, are needed to further a purpose in life. Very often the career which boys and girls say they wish to go into, or the work they say they wish to do, gives a good hint not only as to their intelligence, but also their physical condition. That story told by a friend of boys, Dr. John L. Elliot of
Energy, health, and good habits are needed to-day in the occupations perhaps to a degree never before called for. The whole world of business and manufacture is being swept by a movement which is called the efficiency movement. New professions are arising which aim to point out how to better ways of doing work. Mon are carefully studied at their lathes or desks, and every operation noted, whether it be in typewriting, laying bricks, or building a great machine. The result of such efficiency studies has been to make a greater demand than ever before upon clearness of brain, good eyesight and hearing, and a thoroughly sound constitution. Weak people cannot hold their own in work carried on with such efficiency demands. Stores, offices, and factories are be ginning to keep records of their employees in a way which is bound to sift out the careless and the untrained.
It is almost impossible today to “pick up” a trade or any other work and feel sure that we have mastered it. Conditions are more complicated than they were fifty years ago. Employers are too busy to teach; they expect others to attend to the teaching. In the professions, too, the standards have risen year by year. It costs more to become a doctor or lawyer to-day than ever before. To be successful in agriculture requires a scientific preparation such as an agricultural school or college alone can give. Girls who know how to cook, cater, and plan meals for hospitals, nurseries or other institutions are in great demand and are respected and paid like any other trained professional worker. Not so long ago any woman could hire out as a nurse. Today no doctor or patient cares to employ a nurse who has not been thoroughly trained in a school for nurses. Teaching requires long preparation; and positions as special teachers in drawing, cooking, sewing, manual training, playground work, stenography, and the arts and crafts are open only to those who have special qualifications, training and experience.
In time, every worth-while employment, if not all employments, will work out standards, too, and standards for any work always have the effect of shutting out those who cannot come up to them. Efficiency is the keynote of all twentieth century work, and to be efficient one must be trained. This age will not tolerate the wasteful methods or the crude devices of the past. Expensive machines only a few years old are often discarded for new and more costly machines which promise better, more economical, and larger results. Every day there is a vast casting aside of old methods and material. Workers unable to meet the new demands are unfortunately thrown out, too. There is keen rivalry for every good position. The in efficient, the weak and the aimless are not wanted.
Because the world is making such drastic demands upon the coming workers, every thoughtful tan and woman, every, teacher and reflecting parent, is planning ways to fit the children for the life and needs of this new century. The new opportunities for special education in our towns and cities have come in order to help boys and girls to find their places in the work of the world and to hold them successfully.
This is the explanation for vocational schools, industrial classes, school shops, and courses in business, millinery, cooking, printing and the like. The colleges and universities are adding vocational courses to their programs. We now have college schools of journalism, commerce, engineering, dentistry, and domestic science, in addition to those of medicine, law and theology. The list of special schools is a long one. In time it will be much longer. Evening schools offer special training facilities for those who are already at work.
All these new schools are intended to meet the new efficiency standards of the age. They are intended for boys and girls with energy, ambition and ideals to amount to something in the world; they show that education has taken on a new and broader meaning. They clearly indicate that hand-education is as valuable to hand-workers as book-education is to those whose tools are books. Any one is educated who keeps growing in sympathy, skill and power through work, no matter what the work may be. The world belongs to those who grow. Youth’s greatest duty is to grow into efficient manhood and womanhood.
In the preceding article we saw how the great changes in methods and organization of work make it impossible, without special study of the matter, to know much about the work of the world. Many people talk about the vocations with out special knowledge; they think about them in terms of an earlier time, for a few years often make a vast difference in the growth of a vocation. Perhaps they have only impressions based on scattered observations. They may have a fair notion of what the vocation means, but impressions are insufficient for purposes of vocational choice.
Special Study of the Vocations
Today, therefore, a number of specially qualified men and women are spending time in looking into the conditions of various occupations. Their published studies not only tell about the wages, hours, and other facts of vital interest as regards certain employments, but, what is of equal importance, they show, among other things, whether the work lasts through the year, or keeps the workers busy for only a few months and then lays them off. We have lately begun to learn something about seasonal employments, as they are called, and we now know that occupations which may pay high wages for only a few months in the year are not nearly so desirable as those which pay smaller wages but are steady and keep the workers busy throughout the year. In other words, it is well to know what a worker receives not in weekly but rather in annual income, for living expenses go on just the same whether work is temporary or steady.
Public authorities, like city and state boards of health, and sometimes official commissions specially created for the purpose are investigating employments to find out if they involve any peculiar dangers to health, or life, or morals. Public conscience has grown sensitive to the matter of physical and moral risk in employments and many new laws have been passed in the States for the purpose both of safeguarding workers and of shutting out those too young or otherwise unfit.
Protecting the Young Worker
In the State of Massachusetts, for example, and there are other States with like laws which protect young workers against injury, no child under sixteen is allowed to work at or near such dangerous machinery as circular saws and many other kinds of swift-moving tools ‘which cut or stamp. We have seen many pathetic cases of young persons who have lost fingers, arms or legs, while working near belts or sharp knives moved by steam or electric power. The country does not want to see its children injured in this way, and consequently factories are visited by officials to ensure that the laws for safeguarding workers are enforced. The laws in some States go further and try to keep children from working in places which are not helpful to character-building, for the country is anxious to guard its future citizens against moral as well as physical dangers So children may not work in tobacco factories, liquor stores or billiard rooms. Bad companions are as dangerous as buzz-saws.
What Sort of Associates?
Every home also should ask the question, What sort of associates will our boy and girl find in this or that trade and business? Are the workers and the surroundings probably such as will strengthen ambition, good habits, and efficiency? No wage or salary, however high, can ever make up for the bad results of low associations. People everywhere are so convinced of this truth that laws have been passed, and many more laws are sure to be passed in the near future, to keep children away from occupations which debase character.
Work and Citizenship
We have good reason to rejoice in the growing desire to make the vocations help in the building of good citizens. The more people care about such things, the better for all the vocations as well as for the workers in them But many years will go by before we really do this duty well, the duty of lilting every occupation into a force for good citizenship. One sure way of helping to bring this about is to disseminate more and more knowledge as to what the vocations return to their workers in the way of ennobling influence.
Keeping Up to the Standards of a Profession
Everybody respects the doctor because in this profession the standards are so high. The doctor must think of his patient’s welfare above everything else, and must sacrifice himself, if need be, to this end. In the interests of their profession doctors have lost their lives, and in so doing have shown other physicians how to save lives. We have all read of the heroism of those doctors who discovered the cause of that awful scourge, yellow fever. In order to prove that this disease was carried by insects, two surgeons allowed themselves to be bitten by mosquitoes which had previously bitten yellow fever patients. The result was that the disease was communicated to the doctors, who died, but their work enabled us to build the
Now it is not too much to hope that the standards of all the work which the world carries on will in time be raised, so as to make fine men and women of all workers. It is only because we do not use our imaginations that so much of the work done now falls below this ideal. But we are making great advances in this direction. In some localities, it is true, very young children are still allowed to work long hours without any schooling or play time, and there seems to be little or no anxiety felt as to the kind of men and women they will become. But gradually the world is becoming convinced that boys and girls who are not given a chance to fit themselves through study and play with strength and happy ambitions for the life-career, turn out to be very poor citizens.
Protecting the Worker From Excessive Fatigue
Tired men and women with no strength left to improve their minds and lives, doing any odd jobs for a living, or working long hours for very little pay, cannot be expected to help their country to develop as it should. Because we gave so little thought to such matters in the past, many a promising life has been destroyed. It is quite likely that we cannot do away with all danger and fatigue no matter how much caution we use; but of this we can be sure, the more attention we give to the matter, the greater will be the number of people we can save, and the smaller will be the number of accidents arid cases of disease.
Work is done nowadays under such pressure, speed and turmoil that some constitutions unable to bear the strain break down. Hours of labor have, therefore, been shortened, night-work prohibited to women and children in many industries, and laws passed to help ease the burden under which people toil. Moreover, enlightened employers have been trying on their own account to lessen the strain by providing rest periods and recreation for their workers. In some countries, very back ward in humane ideas, men and women, and children too, may be seen laboring like beasts of burden, and apparently there is no concern felt by those above them as to how the work affects them, or how the nation as a whole deteriorates when it suffers the overwork and the breakdown of its people.
The New Ideal of Citizenship
But in all advanced countries there is now keen interest in the industrial life of the people and a growing desire to keep the workers in sound health, fit for their work and civic duties. Because of this new ideal of citizenship, friends of boys and girls are concerned that the work they go into shall be safe and proper; they are concerned, too, that each youth shall be given the opportunity to make the most of what it may be in him to be. This indeed is a great goal for any nation to set before it—that every child shall be encouraged to make the most of life, to be efficient, to be .self-supporting, and useful to self, family, and society. But even to approach the goal is not easy, unless the public, the home, the school, and even the boy and girl themselves, all help.
How Boys Used to Start in Life
In the Middle Ages parents who wanted their boy to have a good start in life and an assured future would bind him over to some employer, apprentice him, as it was called, and pay a good round sum of money for this opportunity of their boy to learn a trade. The boy must then be “indentured,” that is, settled with the employer for seven years, living with the master in his home during all that time, working with him in the shop, and other wise being wholly under his control. If the boy ran away, the authorities must look for him and bring him back, where punishment was sure to await him. But boys did not run away much. Although the discipline was very severe, in some instances altogether too harsh, boys were glad to be able to learn a trade so that some day they might be masters on their own account with apprentices to help them. Without such apprenticeship there was little or no opportunity for the boy to amount to anything. There were no schools or libraries or boys’ or girls’ clubs in those days.
The Apprentice Under the Guild System
The masters, or master-craftsmen, and the professional men, too, of the Middle Ages were organized into powerful bodies called guilds and no one could enter any occupation without the preliminary seven years of service. No wages were paid to the apprentice, although the master provided food, clothing, lodging, and medical care. But when the apprenticeship period was over the youth who, after an examination by a committee of the guild, showed proficiency, was admitted after a trial term to the full privileges of the craft. These privileges often carried important civic rights such as free citizenship and the right to travel from place to place. In the course of time the apprenticeship system broke down, and when steam-power, labor-saving machinery and great factories began to take the place of water-power or human power, and of hand labor, small shops and home manufacture over a century ago, the system of indenture almost entirely disappeared.
One result of the disappearance of the apprenticeship system is to make it difficult for the average boy to learn a trade or profession.
Necessity of Special Preparation Today
Only in rare cases to-day, usually in the very large stores or industries, do employers make any provision for training their employees for the higher and better-paid positions. To the well-known professions beginners must come prepared, usually through a special school. The young lawyer cannot as of old prepare for the bar by reading in a lawyer’s office. A law-school education must come before the practice of law, and usually a stiff bar examination after completing the law school course. So the doctor, dentist, engineer, accountant, and teacher must go through a preliminary course of training. In this way the professions are raising their standards and weeding out the unfit. In a growing number of retail stores there are classes in salesmanship. Several public and privately supported schools are also carrying on such classes. Even the selling of goods over the counter has become skilled work. In fact, although natural ability forwards one in almost any vocation, special preparation is now necessary in addition to ability.
Little Chance for Special Preparation in Office or Shop
The disappearance of apprenticeship opportunity is indeed a serious loss, for without some such provision it is only by accident that certain abilities ever see light. It is better for people, while young, to find out so far as possible what they can best do rather than to try them selves out in the precious years when they have already started life’s work. Besides, the employer is not anxious to try out too many employees. There is little time for instruction in a busy store, office or shop. What usually happens, therefore, is that the average boy or girl is put to some simple task and kept there everlastingly. Seldom is there any effort made to find out what they could do better. So long as they do reasonably well, the one thing they are engaged to do, they keep their place. If they fail they go. Neither they nor their employer can tell anything about their real merits, about the possibilities of their success in some other task or department.
In other words, the vocations to-day expect their beginners to know something and amount to something at the very outset. They have their minimum requirements. Those who fall below are not wanted. Also a large mass of work to-day is done in such subdivided manner as to require very little real intelligence, skill or preparation. This work is done by those who have not put forth the effort, or have not had the opportunity, to make special preparation for something better. Such subdivided work rarely calls for anything more than ordinary attention and health. As anybody can do it, thousands who should really be doing more profitable and stimulating work rush in.
Subdivided Work and Unskilled Workers
A word, however, is needed in connection with such un-educative, low-skill or no-skill employments. The world needs the product even of these industries; this work must be done. The question is not who shall do it—but under what conditions and on what terms shall it be done, so as not to hinder the growth of the workers? This question is important to the employer as well as to society.
The world is now beginning, though too slowly, to be sure, to scrutinize every occupation on the side of its advantages and disadvantages. It is a blessing, of course, to be well occupied. But we are learning to regard misemployment as hardly less of an evil than is no employment. That is, we are asking of every occupation not only questions as to hours, wages, seasons, and dangers, but also what its educational and moral influences are. It is a growing belief that all necessary work can be carried on in a way which shall be helpful instead of hurtful to its workers.
The Telegraph Messenger Boy
For instance, we are familiar in this country with the small figure of the blue-uniformed telegraph messenger boy. Delivering messages is useful work, but only very recently have we begun to examine into the nature of this work and the future of messenger boys. We have learned that messenger service is conducted by us in a way which is often injurious to the health and even citizenship of the boys. In some German cities messenger boys are better looked after. There they receive instruction and are generally better safeguarded than is the case with us. England several years ago woke up to the fact that it was employing many boys as telegraph messengers in connection with the post office, which in that country carries on the telegraph business, too, and that when the boys reached the age of sixteen or seventeen and were too old for mere errand work, the government simply dismissed them and took on other younger boys. The English people became alarmed over this waste, and the messenger service has been changed so as to allow the boys, while in their early period of messenger employment, to fit themselves for permanently useful life-career.
Nine Thousands Occupations
Studying a Vocation
We have chosen only a few of a long list. How many people can tell to what operations they refer?
How shall we study an occupation? How can the school and the home help boys and girls to get a knowledge of the vast and complicated field of employment? In the next article will be told something about the interesting experiments which schools and other organizations are making in the field of life-career help to boys and girls. Here we shall consider some of the more general matters in the study of a vocation. We may roughly divide all vocations into four classes:
- Those which require no special knowledge or manual skill.
- Those which require manual skill.
- Those which require knowledge.
- hose which require both knowledge and skill.
The Training for a Vocation
The knowledge referred to here is that which is specially related to the vocation in question. For example, a teacher of English must have a knowledge of grammar, composition, and literature and must know how to teach. When once we find out what training and talent a vocation demands, we are in a position to inquire further as to ways in which workers can obtain their training for it. Have all beginners the chance to master the whole occupation? Is there any systematic instruction in the shop or office? Is there any provision for apprenticeship, and if so, for how many apprentices? If we find no provision for training inside the vocation, the question arises as to how and where the training may be had. And in connection with this question is the no less important one as to where the best training opportunities are.
Qualifications for a Vocation
Not only must we study the vocation from the side of training, but we must regard its demands and conditions. What qualities are demanded—physical strength, endurance, accuracy, memory, dexterity, courtesy, caution, alertness, taste, imagination? The list is endless, as we proceed to analyze what each employment calls for in the way of qualifications, yet such a list every student of vocations must make an effort to draw up, as it helps in measuring one’s self in the light of the world’s requirements.
We have to consider, moreover, whether the work is in itself unwholesome or carried on in unhealthful places; whether it involves any peculiar physical or nervous strain; and whether it checks or promotes intelligence and good citizenship.
How to Discuss the Vocations
We have now gone over a number of points which we do well to keep in mind when we talk about any particular occupation. Many more might be suggested. A good method for any teacher or parent who is interested in planning with boys and girls their future life-career, would be to take a number of familiar employments, say the trades and businesses of the neighborhood, and try to make a catalogue of all the good points and bad points of each. One boy might be asked to make a list in two columns of all the pros and cons he can collect about the corner grocery store, another might bring in a simple study of what a lawyer, doctor and civil engineer need to know. Perhaps two boys, or the class in two divisions, might debate some occupation, one from the side of its advantages, and the other from the side of its disadvantages. Boys and girls who throughout the last years of school life engage in such discussions will go forth into the world with unusual preparation.
Vocations a Life-study
Enough has now been said to show how very hard it is to take the real measure of the varied occupations of mankind. They are indeed a life-study. They cannot safely be guessed at. If children have in the past stumbled into success and somehow made their way as strong men and women to the front, let us remember that no one writes biographies of those who do not succeed and of those who only half-succeed when a fuller life might have been theirs. Business and industry have been changed by the progress of the last twenty years. It is infinitely harder now than ever before to drift or stumble into success; there are too many ambitious and well- schooled boys and girls coming out of our training schools to-day for a drifting boy or girl to have a good chance to get ahead.
Much has been said in this article about the careful study of the points in each vocation. One reason for suggesting this is the help such study gives to a proper understanding of one’s self. We really study ourselves when we study the vocations, and unless we do study ourselves we cannot plan intelligently for the work we desire. We should know ourselves in order to find our selves. What are we good for? What can we do well? Why do we fall behind in this or that task? What habits of ours enable us to turn out a good piece of work? What habits trip us up?
The difficulties in planning for a life-career come not only from scant knowledge about the occupations but also from a failure to face ourselves as we really are. One benefit to a young person in talking about the work of the world and its demands with his parents and teachers lies in the clearing up of his ideas in regard to his own character and in the fresh inspiration he receives to enrich his natural equipment with the powers which the world prizes.