By HENRI GRUSIN
A YOUNG man interested in entering the profession of watchmaking should consider, primarily, his fitness for this particular work. This cannot easily be determined by the young man himself, not knowing what it is like beforehand, he cannot be sure of what success he may expect as an apprentice or as a student in school. It is not enough that he expresses a desire to learn the art, or that, as in many cases, a son steps into his father's repair shop; or, as an errand boy to the watchmaker, he begins to tinker with tools.
It is not often that an American young man will lose sight of his possible future earning ability. It would be senseless for him to use his probable salary as a yardstick of his future ability. Nor would it be commendable on the part of a teacher to accept a student only on the strength of the expressed desire by the latter.
It must be realized that the young man is making an important decision, perhaps the only decision that will shape his life more than anythil1g. Is not one's advice to the young man equally serious?
A school of horology may be ever so equipped as to matriculate students as master mechanics, only to find them later experiencing drudgery at meager wages -just as briIHant students in law and medicine become failures after being on their own. Of course, that has long been thought of as a matter of fate and no one was to be responsible.
We are now entering a phase in scientific research that does away with the hit-or-miss method in selective occupations. According to fitness most failures are preventable. That is to say; the applicant's fitness for the particular occupation may be pre-determined.
To be specific, let us, for example, point out that, according to this new science, interest is no guide to aptitude and that tweezer dexterity and finger dexterity are two distinct characteristics.
It goes without saying that mathematical knowledge, resourcefulness, good eyesight, tendency to precision in all things and patience are the prerequisites of the applicant. But these qualifications without natural aptitude will prevent their co-ordination, resulting in a mediocre workman despite fine training.
No science dealing with the human mind can be expected to work absolutely perfect. But from results obtained thus far by the Human Engineering Laboratory in Occupational Guidance, it would seem that THE AMERICAN HOROLOGIST as well as responsible Horological Schools would look into the matter for the benefit of applicants and others seeking advice.
We have gone a long way toward developing tools, materials, alloys, lubricants, and precision devices; let us catch up with the human element without which all these are without meaning.
This may be done through scientific selection. It is not too much to ask of our horological schools to exercise extreme care where scientific selection is not possible, particularly, since it is the aim of all schools not only to turn out good mechanics but happy men as well.
Without natural aptitude happiness in one's occupation may be questionable. What is known already on the subject should be sufficient to point the way toward development of better horologistg in the interest of the public and themselves.