If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything, then you waste nothing but your time and are not likely to waste any material. It is better to do nothing than to do something wrong. It affects the nerves of the boss less, as well as leaving more money in his purse.
If you do not know what is the right thing to do, and do not find out from those that do know, and thereby do something wrong, the error is yours, and you alone are responsible. It is a poor excuse to say that you weren’t told not to do it the way you blindly went at it. It doesn’t cost near as much to ask questions as it does to do the job a second time.
If you start to do a job without a clear idea of the result you wish to attain you are like a man with his eyes blindfolded going over a rocky road: you will stumble often and make many a start only to fall down again. Whereas if you have planned your job beforehand you will see the rocks in the way and go around them instead of falling over them.
The idea of thinking that you can do the job, as far as it looks plain to you, and then find a way to complete it, is all wrong, because you will often find that when you do part of it another part will conflict with the work already done, and you will have some of it to do a second time.
Did it ever occur to you that every time you do a job over you are paid double for the work you do right? Of course, it is impossible for any man to do every job just right the first time, but it is possible to get the percentage of errors very low. If you knew you were to be paid only for work that was correct how much do you think you could reduce your errors?
When the boss has a contract he only gets paid for the work he does right, unless he is smart (?) enough to make the customer believe it is right in any event. The customer may be fooled once or twice, but he goes to another place for his work later on. The boss gets short of work and you look for another job.
The man that tries to do the right thing will have few troubles. When you are wrong be honest about it. Don’t equivocate and try to crawl out of it—there is no half way point. A thing is either right or it is wrong. The honest man that accepts the responsibility for his deeds will command respect everywhere.
Do your work right as best you know. Do right with those associated with you. Don’t impose or be imposed upon. If you work an hour on a job you can do in a half hour, you are not honest with your employer. If you must put an hour on a half-hour job, do the job in a half hour and rest the other half.
The man that makes a job last when work gets short will likely have it last just till he completes that one job. A man that stretches a job is not a safe man to have about, because he doesn’t do what he is paid for doing. Men that shirk never become very well known. I often think the bees are wiser than we humans, they kill off the drones.
A man that only does just what he is paid for does just that much and gets the same pay year after year. The one that does more than is required of him and doesn’t need to be told to do it, is found to attract attention to himself, and when he does that he is on the road to success. One never gets a thing until he shows that he is entitled to it, unless he steals it. If you want to rise above your present position work and think.
The Patternmaker – February, 1905