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Pro and Con

From The American Horologist magazine, May 1946

Pro and Con
By EMANUEL SEIBEL

Why do men go to school rather than servft an apprenticeship?

Who is better prepared to serve?

When is a man finished at school?

Why does friend Jeweler urge his friend to quit school and come to work for him!

We will try to answer these questions in an unbiased manner:

Men go to school rather than serve an apprenticeship because they feel that they can get more of the basic knowledge necessary to follow their pursuit or profession successfully. They can, if in earnest, have access to material that they would not usually get in serving an apprenticeship, unless apprentices were located in a city where a good library existed.

Schools usually have a goodly number of those books which are really good but out of print and not to be had otherwise.

If a man goes to school, his only thought is to acquire all the knowledge he can, and not how he can hold his job by satisfying the boss as to what he is earning, because the boss is primarily interested in how much work he is getting for the salary he is 'paying the apprentice.

At school he does not have to spend any time at anything but the work he is learning to master. He does not have to clean the store, the windows, run errands and go to the post office.
At school he is taught how to perform his work in a correct and workmanlike manner, and not according to some whim of the boss or by his shortcuts, which usually mean slipshod tactics.

This answers question number two also, provided you go to a legitimate school that is founded and exists, not mainly for profit, but for service. Of course, you must have profit to keep going, but it is a fact that the profit motive is predominant in some schools and is the sole reason for their existence.
When is a man through school t When is a student finished learning 1 I will answer the latter question first:

Never, and I hope no one will dispute' this, for if a man thinks he knows all, he is a bigger fool than the one who does not want to learn more. In the first place, there is always something new coming up. There are always new methods of doing things, and as long as men are doing anything, someone will come up with some new use for your goods and something which someone thinks he is improving. The ambitious man wants to keep ahead or, at least, abreast of the times. Only in this way can he be a leader in his calling. Only in this way can he be a man to whom the public looks for satisfactory service and be sought out above his fellow workman for such service. He is the man who can command top salaries, which we all desire -but it must be earned. The world does not owe us a living, we must wrest it from the world, and the price we must pay for it is constant vigilance and study to keep up with the latest advances in our profession. You cannot stand still; you either forge ahead or go backward. The only one who stands still is the one who is dead.

This answers the question as to when you are through school. Never. Your formal schooling ends when you have mastered all ope'rations expected from you in the performance of the duties of your profession, but never until you are laid away with your hands folded on your chest, six feet under the sod, are you through school. For, all of life is a school, and none are so misguided those who think, "Now that I have graduated, I am through with my education."

It is a curse of our profession that , so many are lured away from school, before they have come near what we may, call-matriculation. Lured by some Jeweler friend who tells them that they can have more at the bench than they can in school - " Why stay in school and pay hard cash to learn, when I'll pay you a salary and you can learn just as well."  This is a snare and delusion into which so many fall, and so few learn it until it is too late to make up for it. Too many of these Jeweler friends are looking for a cheap employee. "Of course, I know you have a lot to learn, therefore I cannot pay a journeyman's salary, but as you improve I will pay you more." But they not tell you of the heartaches of the man trying to work at his chosen line when he had incomplete knowledge and no experience. As one man addressing a group recently said - "The line which demarcates the proficient one from the mediocre, is a fine one and they are not very far separated." 

A short time ago a student got up to ask his instructor, saying he was not trying to be funny or wise-cracking, "Is it necessary to learn this and what good is it going to do me?" He did not know that the more knowledge he had, the better an artisan he would be; the better chance he would have to excel in his chosen line; to be the fellow who would be sought out to be offered the really desirable position. The man who would eventually stand out ahead of his fellow craftsmen.

My advice to all students who are lured or enticed to quit school before they have mastered the complete course" is to say to friend Jeweler:

"Get thee behind me Satan," for he is not thinking of your best welfare, but only of how he can get a cheaper employee.

We all know that a grade school student entering the commercial field cannot find the same remuneration, nor as desirable an occupation as a high school boy, nor can he, the high school boy expect as lucrative and desirable an occupation as the college man, nor can the college man expect as fine prospects as a man who avails himself of highly specialized study in some line.

So, if a student will count on taking 18 months of earnest training rather than 12, or 9, or 6, he will be able to command better opportunities and remuneration. If he can stretch it out for more so much the better are his chances.

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A motion picture camera has been developed, which operates at 8,000 winks a second-160 times faster than the wink of the human eye.

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A bamboo shoot, ,has been known to grow as much as 24 inches in 24 HOURS. 


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