"Give us facts", a young man said to me when
complaining that promotion had not come his way as he had hoped, and that
the "best jobs" in the large Company for which he worked were not, and
never would be, within his reach. I ventured to sug-. gest that the first
facts necessary for him to ponder might be the facts disclosed by
self-examination. He admitted that once, when he was earning a smaller
salary than he is to-day, he used not only to save money, but to send some
home to his people in Scotland. Now he does neither. Once he used to
attend Church regularly; now he doesn’t. Once he wrote home regularly; now
he doesn’t. He admitted that soon after he came to the country he got into
the company of men, most of whom were earning much more than he was. He
joined their club. He found he was expected to keep pace with their ways
and their expenditure. He knew he couldn’t, but he tried. Once he was keen
on his work; to-day he is keen on tennis, but otherwise "fed-up" with
nearly everything and everybody — soured in
outlook and sarcastic in speech. To-day he is in debt, and he "thought he
would come and see me"; and this, although his beginning-salary was nearly
three times the cost of his board and lodging.
Let no harsh word be spoken, but only this
— that the story, alas, is not uncommon. And I
have noticed often and often that the first sign of something being amiss
with a young man coincides wtih his disappearance from the Services of his
Church. The backward — if not downward
— process is nearly always gradual, and so is
hard for a young man to see at first. These friends he made most certainly
did not mean him any harm, nor did the Club mean to lead him out of his
depth. But the facts of his present position are as stated; he is at the
deep end of the pool without being a swimmer.
Now, although business is far from good at the moment
in the Argentine, there are still young men arriving from home. These
words will perhaps meet the eye of some of them, and out of bitter
experiences that are within my knowledge, I would humbly offer them
(I). Keep in touch with the folks at home. Write them regularly. The father who toiled for you and who denied
himself much for your sake — the mother who bore
you and perhaps nursed you through many weary, days and nights—they have a
first place in your life’s big Debit Account.
(II). Get in touch immediately with your Church. And keep in touch with it. The Ministers of that Church will most
heartily welcome you, and will do all they can for you—
they’ll show you every kindness within their power. They’ll not
often introduce you to a wrong friend. Bring the letter of introduction
from your home Minister immediately to the Minister here. Don’t produce it
for the first time two years after your arrival, when you’re wanting a
loan and some sympathy. And remember that the Padre is not here to sing
your praises to "the boss" — if you’re to get a
rise in salary, that will depend on you and your work alone.
(III). Don’t tell the boss (or bosses) how to run
his business. What he and the business expect from you is not words of wisdom but
deeds of duty faithfully and punctually done. Such deeds speak loudly, and
they lead to promotion, not to trouble.
(IV). Go slow in making your friendships. That does not mean that you are to be unfriendly to anyone. It does
mean that, for the first few weeks, you should beware of becoming so
friendly with any man that you can’t say "no" to him when you feel you
(V). Go slow in joining Clubs. That means that there is probably no necessity for you to rush into
Club .membership right away. There are several monthly counts that come
first (1). Board and lodging. (2). Clothing, etc. (3). Something to save.
(4). Something to send home. (5). Social obligations, Church and
Charity.... Find your level first. Re-member the fine motto of the
honoured House of Airlie — "Flee laigh"
— fly low.
My young friends, that is a wise saying and worth
remembering. And a last word is this. Be careful of your personal
appearance — dirty clothes, and down-at-heel
boots, and an unshaven chin, loudly proclaim slackness. Keep a cheery
face. Look everybody in the face. Acknowledge rightful authority always,
and respect it. Get on with your work. And be assured that the best jobs
are still open for the "BEST MEN".
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