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Washburn, F. E. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 5, No. 2 (May 1901)

The young engineer,   pp. 209-212


Page 210


210               The Wisconsin Enigineer.
self, for no one knows better than he whether he has applied him-
self earnestly enough to warrant the confidence which is naturally
due the successful young man. In the first place he must have
a reasonable amount of confidence in himself, for if this is lacking
it is useless to expect his employers to place him in a position of
trust and responsibility. Secondly, he must never refuse to un-
dertake a piece of work "because he never did that work before."
This is an expression frequently heard in machine shops, usually
made by some unthinking apprentice who forgets that it is his
duty to learn how.
  The second question the graduate asks himself is not so readily
answered. The answer to this question does not depend so much
tupon what the young engineer thinks he knows, but rather upon
what his future employer thinks he ought to know.
  Employers, owners of manufacturing plants, and business men
in general may be classified as college bred men and the so-called
self-made men. The college bred man has all the benefits derived
from daily contact with men of widely differing opinions about
matters concerning his own particular line of work, and it is a
matter of no great difficulty for him to understand a college man
better than a man of the second class named. In obtaining em-
ployment under such a man a graduate stands a better show for
advancement than would otherwise be the case. On the other
hand, an application for a job under a man of the second class is
usually met by the question "What practical experience have you
had and ivhere did you get it?" In nine cases out of ten the
answer is: "At the University of          ," whereupon
the
applicant is told that if he wants to begin at the bottom and work
up, he can do so by starting in the shop and working as an ap-
prentice until he has gained sufficient practical knowledge to make
his advancement profitable to his employer and to himself. This
is due, no doubt, to the fact that the above named employer has
gained his experience and knowledge by hard work and costly
experiments, and it is often very hard to convince such men that
any other method of attaining the desired end may be employed
with equal success. In the end this is the best way for a gradu-
ate to begin his career as an engineer. The greater percentage of
students entering the engineering courses come direct from high
schools or other preparatory schools, with a very scant knowledge


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