The mind should not be allowed to wander, for wander it will if it
is not rationally directed. It should be furnished with some
interest, either in the form of study that is taken up out of
working hours, and which can be permitted to occupy the mind while
work of the habit kind is being done, or, if it is not a study,
there should be some wholesome interest or pleasure.
Music to some furnishes this need. Music heard in the home or
elsewhere will sometimes occupy the mind during working hours when
the work is of a monotonous character. In some instances music has
been provided during a certain part of the day, just for this need
of workers who are employed in an occupation that in itself
furnishes no mental nourishment.
But these extreme cases do not represent the vast majority. They
apply only to the needs of the mind of those engaged in a work in
which they can awaken no interest. Nearly all kinds of work offer
a chance for the average man to get interested directly in the
work itself. Such an interest soon bears fruit in the results as
well as in the comfort of the worker, and it is this phase on
which we must depend for making specialization comfortable and
profitable to the worker. It is this phase that is wholly
overlooked by those mentioned above who have seen or felt the joy
of work that comes to one who rambles into a new field. We fail to
see that the same kind of mental pleasure may be obtained while
working along the natural and efficient lines of habit, and that
in one case we have had pleasure at great expense of wasted
energy, and in the other case we may have made a true progress for
ourselves and others by moving along the rational way.
The Manager's View.
The important duty of weighing up these various views devolves on
the management, and its action should be in accordance with the
complete and corrected view. It must consider the subject from a
top viewpoint, and must then act.
The manager keeps in mind that the machines must be built,
purchased, and used by human beings, so he carefully studies their
peculiarities. He knows that change of thought or habit requires
In looking over the history of one of the companies engaged in
machine building, we find that the cost of the labor has been
lowered to about one-fifth of the original. In view of this and
the fact that a very slight change in model sometimes involves a
temporary increase in the cost of labor three-fold or more, we see
good reason for reluctance in making changes, even though we know
that two or three years later the labor cost may drop as low as
that previous to the change in model.
The inventor, the promoter, the salesman, and the oversanguine
manager do not always foresee such things.
The manager sees the enthusiasm with which the selling
organization hails the new model. He realizes that they know the
faults of the previous type, and he also knows that no one knows
the faults of the new, but he lets it go. Some enthusiasm must be
had, even if it be dearly purchased. He knows there will be many a
troublesome delay due to the newness, even if the whole scheme
proves very much better than the previous type.
This manager knows that his business success rests on the facility
with which the machines are satisfactorily built, the readiness of
the buyers, and, last but not least, the facility with which the
product is used. The facility with which the product will be used,
to his mind, is almost beyond overestimation.
Sub-division of Work.
The division of work into separate operations makes it possible to
divide the subject into relatively small sub-problems. This
division of the subject itself brings it within the capacity of
the lesser brains and makes it very much easier for a brain of
greater power. In other words, the subdivision of work makes
places in which all mental equipments may be used.
It is of no benefit to any one to keep the problems difficult by
making each man think out a process for accomplishing each one of
a great variety of operations, when the work may be so divided
that it is only necessary for him to think of just one little part
of the whole. And we should not befog the issue by saying that
this is degrading.
Some of the greatest scientists that the world has known have
concentrated attention to the smallest conceivable part of this
world, pieces so small that the microscope alone revealed them to
the eye. There is a chance for the thinker in most any of these
places that have grown out of this process of finest subdivision
of work. The hardship comes only when the mind cannot get
interested in the work. In many cases this is undoubtedly due to a
misfit, but in most cases it seems to be due to a false notion
that there is nothing there of interest.
The subdivision of work must go on. If hindered in any one plant,
industry or nation more than in others, the result will be a loss
to that one, and on the other hand, the one that carries it to the
most efficient point will become the most powerful.
This subdivision develops greatest dexterity and skill, as well as
the keenest comprehension of the ways and means of attaining a
given end. And this dexterity of operation is more easily carried
on than is the fumbling uncertainty of the work of the more