AND PIECES OF MY LIFE
by JAY OTIS
The title of this autobiography is taken from a book
"Bits and Pieces of a Man's Life" by Ralph R. Blanchard. Ralph owned
and operated an auto-repair shop in Lake Placid. He was unique in that he
operated an honest shop, repaired only that which needed repairing, and tried to
save money for his customers. His book is composed of anecdotes, Bits and Pieces
of a man's Life, so if this autobiography ends up in bits and pieces of my life,
which I intend it to do, it owes the idea to Ralph Blanchard who gave permission
to use his title.
The bits and
pieces of a man's life should be picked up somewhere. My life began on August
30, 1907. The official record, birth certificate, gives August 31, 1907. The
confusion of dates caused me no end of trouble obtaining my security clearances
during world War II.
The irony of
my birth situation was that my mother was a dedicated member of the Women's
Christian Temperance Union and Dr. Jay Rand was one of its raison d'etre. He was
the attending physician and was well into his cups before, during, and after the
babies he delivered during the end of August 1907. All births during this
particular spree were recorded on the same day, August 31, 1907. 1 found it
difficult to convince an army security officer that my birth date was not as
of the lie detector used to check the truthfulness of my statements while
undergoing a security check could not believe his instrument when I truthfully
answered "Yes" to the question, "Was your birthday on August
30th, 1907? His record, my birth certificate, stated the date to be the 31st.
Both the Department of the Army and NSA were delayed in using my services
because of the drinking habits of my attending physician. My birth certificate
still reads August 31 and I long ago gave in to the error rather than argue with
the various licensing bureaus necessary for the sanctions of certain human
start life on the wrong foot, I started mine on the wrong date.
compensations, however, I was fortunate in the location of my birth. Melvin
Dewey of the Dewey decimal system used to say, "Just as the heart is
situated in the upper left hand side of the human body, Lake Placid is situated
in the upper left hand side of the state of New York." I was born in Lake
Placid and still think of it as my home even though I have spent little of my
life there. The village is comforting.
Dyke Bingham wrote a short article for one of the journals describing the
occupational experiences of a small-town boy. I was able to experience
several ways of earning a living and through these experiences I learned more
about what I did not like to do than what I wanted to do.
summers on my uncle's farm and learned that I hated all aspects of farming,
except eating buckwheat griddle cakes and maple syrup on a cold Adirondack
morning. I drove horses and cared for them and acquired a dislike for them which
has lasted all of my life. I worked as a boatman on Lake Placid. I worked around
the freight station, filled woodboxes, swept porches, filled iceboxes, cared for
clay tennis courts, shoveled snow, cut wood, and among a variety of other
activities I could repair a Model T Ford.
from my eighth year until my sixteenth and was a caddy-master part of one
summer. I lied about my age in order to get a professional Adirondack Guide's
license and worked as a fishing guide for about ten summers. If I ever need to
go back to work, guiding would be my choice. I was and still am a good
fisherman. Right now I'm trying to learn the habits of bass. I suppose they are
learning my habits, since they either take a trout fly or I say to heck with
them. There is a thrill in trying to land a five pound bass using a 3 1/2 oz.
flyrod and a two pound test leader. It can be done. Sometimes.
escaped from New England after the Revolutionary War. Vermonters by birth they
were caught in the land grant dispute between New Hampshire, Vermont, and New
York. England decided in favor of New York. I imagine that the Otises decided
that if you can't lick them, join them and they migrated, or at least some of
them did, to New York where Adirondack land was cheap.
grandfather, Dillon Otis, raised a family, farming about ten acres of land. He
was the only square-dance fiddler in the Jay Valley so his services were
in demand. His stipends, often in potatoes brought in more money than farming.
The so-called farm was in the Town of Jay which is located in the
Champlain Valley. It was good land. Will Otis, my uncle, had the farm across the
road from my grandfather's farm. His was an eighth section, 80 acres, and he was
the one who taught me to hate farming. I asked my father what did Uncle Will die
of. He replied, "He didnt die of anything, he just wore out."
In Ohio I
bought a farmhouse with some acreage in Chagrin Falls which I named "Wasafarm."
I saw that it stayed that way.
Lester Otis, escaped from the farm in Jay and moved to Lake Placid where he
worked as a butcher , bought a team of horses and set himself up in the trucking
business. In time he developed an ice business which he sold after he saw an
electric refrigerator. our home belonged to my maternal grandmother. It was torn
down after I inherited it. If you happen to be in Lake Placid, I was born across
from the Olympic Arena where a gasoline filling station now stands.
Adirondack native, now called a "local," has a bit of New England
character with strong belief in individual rights. His philosophy is "You
can ask me to do something, but don't try to tell me to do it." The
Adirondack natives I knew would say, "I'll help yuh out, but I won't work
fur yuh." In other words the people I knew not only resented supervision,
they were also hard to supervise.
locals, fishing and hunting were more important than work and few natives worked
during the first day of fishing and during the hunting season. In fact, some of
my friends just did not like to work at all. I liked to work, but I hated
supervision, an acquired trait.
lake is approximately a mile from the center of the village. Lake Placid village
is located on Mirror Lake, which on a calm morning reflects the mountains, the
blue sky and the clouds so clearly that the reflection is difficult to
distinguish from the actual view. It is beautiful country.
some of the rudiments of fishing on that lake. I was taught by Sam Barton, Civil
War sharpshooter who eked out a living as an Adirondack guide. When I was a boy,
Sam Barton appeared each Thanksgiving to participate in the turkey shoot. Sam
would fire first for drift, second for height, and the third shot, he never
missed. His audience always cheered. Watching Sam Barton win his turkey was an
When I was a
young boy, tourism was just starting in Lake Placid, lumbering was still the
main source of income, and natives did not know it, but they were poor. Governor
Cuomo announced in a recent address that the Adirondack area is economically
depressed. It was economically depressed long before the governor's
announcement. During my boyhood everyone worked during the summer in order to
earn enough to get through the workless winter months. Christmas was an economic
annoyance for most families.
of the class of 1924, my high school class, had excellent New York State regents
grades. There were 24 members of the class. My grades were good by any standard,
but the grades earned by half of my classmates were better than mine. Being in
the lower half almost cost me my college education.
years were enjoyable. We experienced what Caribbean natives call "island
fever." Contact with the outside world consisted of two trains a day, one
coming in in the morning and the same train leaving in the evening. Our class
raised enough money to take a trip to Washington which, at that time, was the
highlight of my life. On this trip I, given courage by the by the
teacher-chaperon, asked Elodie for a date, a date which ended up in
marriage 7 years later. For the record, we are still happily married.
I can brag
about my children. Neither my son, Robert, nor my daughter Jayne have ever given
us one bit of trouble. But they
have given us four, two each, wonderful grandsons who also have remained trouble
free during these stressful times.
our high school principal, was a Wesleyan Graduate. He encouraged me to go
there. I had a scholarship to Cornell and when one was forthcoming for Wesleyan
I followed Coon's advice and applied. After much exchange of credentials I was
admitted. For me, it was not the better choice.
incident in my life illustrates my problem with Wesleyan, my fault not
Wesleyan's. The man who employed me as a guide was wealthy and had a host of
relatives. His chauffeur was called "Ennis." This was his last name. I
did not intend to be called by my last name. A nephew of my employer persisted
in calling me "Otis" even though I asked him not to. On returning from
a fishing trip and having been called "Otis" all day, I was told to
have the gear ready for next morning's seven o'clock start. It was then I told
my boss I was quitting. When asked why, I replied, "No one is going to call
me 'Otis'." So my hackels were up each time I was asked, "Where did
you prep?" I did not adjust to the servant status required to earn a
living in a resort town.
Nor did I adjust to the difference
between prep school and high school. So do not call me Otis, and do not ask where
The Town of
North Elba, the township in which Lake Placid was located, was the home of John
Brown. I did not know of discrimination until I entered Wesleyan. You can
imagine the situation when I invited a negro for dinner at my fraternity house.
My Eastern-Shore-of-Maryland brother created the disturbance,
much to my astonishment. In Lake Placid, Lyman Epps, a survivor of the
underground railroad, led the Memorial Day parade. Our minority classmates were
close friends. When I invited a nonwasp to join our fraternity, another
incident occurred. Much to my joy, the national fraternity expelled our chapter
when it initiated a black. I take pleasure in writing letters to the national
fraternity telling why I do not intend to contribute.
Wesleyan was good to me. I had Horace English and Carney
Landis for psychology teachers. They opened my eyes to the possibilities of this
science and I am grateful to them. They were both interested in students.
problems plus an offer of a good job in Philadelphia prompted a transfer to the
University of Pennsylania at the end of my sophomore year. It was a good move.
Senior faculty members at Penn were Witmer, a student of Wundt, Twitmyer in
speech, Fernberger in experimental, and last but far from least was Morris
Viteles in industrial. I stayed at Penn until 1936 and earned both an M.A.(1931)
and my Ph.D.(1936). Viteles was my mentor. He was a good one to have.
from Penn with a major in psychology in 1929. It was Karl Miller, both professor
and director of admissions, who told me of the possibility of obtaining an
assistantship in the department. My graduate years were both demanding and
enjoyable. I have tried to summarize the contributions of the department and I
end up with memories of Viteles. Among the many things of value I received from
him was respect for basic data and the need for a reliable criterion. With these
two as levers, one can lift the psychological world to places dreamed of in its
I was fortunate in obtaining work during the depression. There was an
opening for an instructor at the University of Rochester during the thirties.
Henry DeWitt who obtained the job told me that there were over 200 Ph.D.'s and
even more with M.A.'s applying for the job, even psychologists were unemployed
during the depression.
It was Cal
Shartle who came to Penn looking for persons to work in the Worker Analysis
Section of the Division of Standards and Research of the Department of Labor. I
was employed. I received my doctorate from Penn shortly after starting my work
exciting years. Money was available for research and more important, subjects in
industry were available. The Technical Advisory Committee of the Worker Analysis
Section consisted of such persons as Donald Paterson, Morris Viteles, Marion R.
Trabue, L. J. O'Rourke, and there were others who should be mentioned, but my
records have been reluctantly discarded as my living space has become smaller
during my years of retirement.
permitted to get involved in the job analysis section along with our work in the
worker analysis section. Those in charge of the projects were wise and the
monumental task of writing job descriptions for several industries plus the
Dictionary of occupational Titles and Codes were contributions which have been
of value to our profession.
This is not
the place to describe all of the work undertaken during this period by this
pioneer project. I can say that my contact with the job analysis group convinced
me that job analysis is the basis for most of the work in our field and deserves
the continued support of industrial psychology. Job analysis should also include
the analysis of the psychological requirements of occupations as pioneered by
Viteles' Job Psychograph. This was the basis for the occupational
Characteristics Check List developed by those in the work of the Division of
Standards and Research.
It was there
that the first cross-validation study was undertaken. I learned then,
generalization was a dangerous and at times an unwise procedure.
I stayed with
the Worker Analysis Section until 1938. Kinsley Smith told me about a job
opening at Western Reserve University. I was hired as an assistant professor. 1
had tried to set attainable objectives and one of them was to combine college
teaching with industrial consulting, a Morris Viteles influence? Western Reserve
University gave me this opportunity. My letter of agreement with the University
contained a clause permitting me to work with firms providing I had access to
top management so that I could have a laboratory for my research.
industrial contact was with a small detergent company and I was on retainer with
this company for 34 years. The company was taken over by a larger chemical
company and I learned of the horrors of mergers, takeovers, and what not to do
in personnel relations from that experience. Rather than create a personnel
department, I trained all department heads in interviewing, selection, training,
and salary administration. It worked. I had test scores for every executive
including the president and worked with management in development of personnel.
Although by battery of tests for selecting detergent salesmen had relatively low
validity, salesmen selected by it were often offered jobs by competitors. The
former president of this company is now a neighbor and is still a good friend.
back over the many industrial experiences, some enjoyable and some stressful,
one in particular may be of interest. The president of this company retained me
to conduct his yearly performance review. I was permitted to gather information
about his performance from any source I desired. During performance review time,
I conducted his review. My last contact with him was over dinner when I met him
accidentally in Chicago. He confided that in spite of my reviews he never
improved as president, but at least he knew when he made a mistake. In spite of
our attempts at behavior modification, do we ever really change? Does the
leopard change his spots? To my younger colleagues, I always found it easier to
find the environment to suit the individual than to change the individual to
adjust to the environment.
sabbatical was a 13 week tour of Europe. I arranged for meetings with my
European colleagues and found them to be mutual learning experiences. Professor
Bonnardel of the University of Paris opened my eyes to the value of worksamples
as predictive measures. Later, I learned from O'Rourke that he had the same idea
for use in vocational guidance. Bonnardell constructed worksamples for
practically all jobs in an automobile plant. Any worker considered for a job
change reported to the psychotechnical laboratory where he took the worksample
test for the job under consideration for him. Norms had been established for
each test, cut‑off scores were used, and the worker had to meet the
standards before the job change4 was permitted. When I asked Bonnardell about
the union reaction he replied, "Who would dare question my professional
integrity?" I answered, "Walter Reuther, for one." Bonnardell
responded, "If he did, I would sue." There is a lesson here for us.
Bonnardell had faith in his professional judgment.
participation was beginning to be of interest at the time I was in Europe and
participation was in use by some European companies. one of the executives in
Monsanto arranged a meeting for me with a joint Industry-University
program group. This was in Belgium where management was required by law to meet
with its employees for discussion of problems at least once a year.
My meeting taught me
about the depth of feeling between the Dutch-speaking Flemings and the
French-speaking Waloons. There were more interpreters in the room than
participants or so the noise level seemed. I asked for attention and asked if
they would like to hear about our American Indians. I told them about the
meeting of the Iroquois nations each year to gather salt. I explained how they
"buried the hatchet" before meeting together. I asked if it would not
be possible to "bury the hatchet" for this meeting. Cowboys and
Indians won. From that point on we all spoke English. It was then I learned
about a problem which neither management nor labor had been able to solve,
parking bicycles. One participant said, "Isn't it better to argue about a
problem you cant solve, than to strike?
Perhaps joint participation is a goal we should seriously consider.
However, I do have reservations. In some industrial areas an autocratic approach
seems best. of this, I am sure.
then as it now is is in the compensation field, a field where emotions can
over-ride reason to the harm of both parties. I found my European
colleagues were interested in job evaluation, job classification, and wage
setting so their questions limited my opportunity to learn about their work. I
did, however, bring back more ideas than I left there. Job Evaluation, Otis and
Leukart, had been read by most of those I visited. In fact, several chapters
had been copied into a French text almost word for word. our text remained in
print from 1948 until 1985.
I could pass
along an idea I used in job analysis. It is true that the worker knows more
about his job than anyone else. So I trained employees to write their own job
descriptions. The employee's supervisor also knows the worker's job. I permitted
the supervisor to make changes, in red ink, to the worker's description of his
job. I reserved the right to edit. Like Professor Bonnardell, I knew more than
either the worker or the supervisor about jobs. I made my changes in green ink.
All ideas about the job were a matter of record. All changes were made on the
original document, which I called a "Living Document." By the use of
duplicating machines the history of this job and its changes became a matter of
record. I reduced the cost of installing a wage system through the use of living
documents by 50%.
it possible for me to have considerable industrial contact while in graduate
school. I vowed that if I ever had the opportunity to teach, my students would
have some knowledge of industry. To that end I created first, the Personnel
Research Institute, then a vocational guidance center, and was forced by
University pressure and my own desires to head up a Research and Service Center
which comprised such different activities as a Reading Improvement Service, a
Writer's Advisory Service, an Educational and Vocational Guidance Center, the
Bureau of Business Research and the Personnel Research Institute. For several
years I administrated. With the backing of the University President, I turned
the Bureau of Business Research over to the Dean of the School of Business, the
English Department took the Writer's Advisory Service, the Department of
Education was happy to run the Reading improvement Service and I kept the
Personnel Research Institute and the Vocational Guidance Service. By then Erwin
Taylor, Joel Campbell, and Eric Prien were on board and I tried to catch up on
the reading I missed during my stint of administration.
At the time I
went to Western Reserve , there were seven members in the Ohio area of the
industrial division of the American Association of Applied Psychology, There was
no support for graduate students in industrial psychology. I created these
organizations for the purpose of earning money for graduate student support
while at the same time providing work experience for them. It was not an easy
way of life. Some students felt exploited, perhaps they were, some did not like
their assignments, they all resented my dual control both as a professor and as
a work supervisor, I don't blame them now nor did I then. However, I can safely
say that all industrial psychology students in the Western Reserve program not
only had classroom they also had some industrial experience.
I can think
of many more bits and pieces of interest to me but perhaps not of interest to
others about my years at Reserve, now Case Western Reserve University. One bit,
I turned over all of the money I earned as a consultant to support the graduate
student program. I hasten to add that the retainers from the three companies I
used as my own laboratory were kept by me.
from the University in 1972. I started my own consulting business as Jay L.
Otis, Associates. I retired from this in 1974, and this is another story, I
truly retired. Of interest, when IRS was auditing the books of my firm, the
auditor came to Elodie, my accountant as well as my wife, and said, "I
can't find any payroll taxes." I explained to him that from the time I
left graduate school until I retired from the University , I had people
reporting to me. When I established the consulting firm, I decided there would
be no payroll. I used colleagues on various projects, but they set their own
fee, worked when and if they wanted, and were independent contractors. I used
the same procedure for secretarial services. I didn't pay my wife to keep books,
and I only took dividends from the firm.
inspector told Elodie that she kept the best set of books he had ever audited.
When she quit, I retired and gave up all work, except a bit of housework under
firm prospered, and the profit was the basis for my retirement. I enjoyed
working for myself.
I tried to
ease up after I formally retired. I learned that retirement is full time
and it should be. I kept one consulting account until the field got ahead of me
and I was happy to give it up. I have written several letters to those seeking
advice about retirement. They sum up to the idea that you should not let work
get in the way of a golf starting time.
I purchased a
condominium in Florida. We have an eighteen hole golf course, executive, a good
library for fiction, a recreation building (I have not yet descended to
ceramics), and many opportunities for community service.
is managed by its residents. A general manager is employed to oversee the
operations, but he is directed by a board of trustees. Both state law and
condominium documents limit the power of management so that residents are
protected. Our condominium has an excellent pattern for governance.
I thought at
first I could use the condo as a lab, it would have made an excellent one, but
residents would have excluded me from their groups if they suspected they were
being used as experimental persons. My one excursion into research was an
attitude survey, I incurred the wrath of the board of trustees when I presented
I have served
two terms as chairman of the Council of Condominium Representatives, two terms
as building representative, am currently Senior Editor of our condominium
newspaper, and I do not set an alarm clock, except when I have a very early
starting time. Most residents know I will do anything I can which is a positive
for the community which falls within my ability. Retirement is great for those
who are willing to retire, it is a poor life for those who still yearn for the
days when the secretary brought them coffee each morning in preparation for
fudging the expense account.
I did serve
as president of Division 14, 1952-53. 1 also served as president of the
division of consulting psychology a few years later. As president of division
14, 1 began the training programs which now have become a part of its meetings.
I believe the division had about 300 members at that time.
mention the many who contributed to my psychology career. Morris Viteles was one
of the best. He was a hard taskmaster. He was good for me. Walter Bingham was
kind to all his juniors. I shall never forget my work with him on a
subcommittee of the Committee on Classification during World War II. I invited him to conduct a conference and during that
conference he gave the attendees this thought when asked to describe the
difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Bingham said, "A
psychiatrist is trained to look for what is wrong in human beings, a
psychologist is trained to look for what is right."
brought me aboard the Psychological Corporation, he and his staff taught me a
great deal. Marion Bills gave me an insight into a psychologist in industry.
Henry Link was helpful in marketing psychology. L. J. O'Rourke, one of the first
psychologists in government service befriended me during my Washington years and
opened my eyes to the complexities of test construction. Harold Burtt, Ohio
State, one of the first in our field was helpful while I was at Western Reserve.
Toops at Ohio State made it possible for me to get to know Bob Wherry who
conducted conferences for my program at Reserve. I was fortunate to be young
enough to get to know most of the pioneers in our field. They all were willing
to share knowledge.
I do not dare
try to mention the many graduate students who put up with me. Harry Laurent was
more a friend than a student. I feel humble when I watch their development and
successes over the years. I can only hope that our program gave the students the
opportunity for their growth, growth for which they can take full credit.
with graduate students I tried to follow a statement in Industrial Psychology by
Morris Viteles which I tried to use as my guide. Viteles writes, "In
formulating a program of industrial psychology the maximum efficiency of the
individual in industry and his optimum adjustment are looked upon as
complementary facets of a single objective." Individual adjustment is a
tremendous challenge for those working in an industrial setting.
which I faced and which all those in our profession face is to try to change the
individual so that he can adjust to his current industrial environment. or
should we try to find the environment which best suits the individual. The
current emphasis on "stress" is not new to industrial psychologists.
As industrial psychologists we are in a good position to study both
environmental and individual change to aid the individual in industry achieve
personal adjustment. My experience has led me to believe that it is easier to
change the environment to achieve individual adjustment than it is to change the
I use the
example of "roll thread Annie" an employee in a nut and bold factory.
She weighed at least 180 lbs. Her ankles were big, her sparse hair was greasy
and dirty, she had no teeth, and no interviewer in his right mind would
recommend her for any kind of employment. Each stroke of a roll thread machine
calls for a a bolt to be inserted to be threaded. Annie rarely missed a stroke
of the machine, she was as close to a perfect worker as one could want. She
liked her job and was good at it. Of all employees in that plant she was the
best. She was adjusted. She was efficient. Finding roll thread Annies is our
Going back to
bits and pieces, I was always interested in the employment interview. The White
Foundation in Cleveland gave me a grant to purchase recording equipment. At that
time the newest recorder was a Brush Wire Recorder, it weighed a ton. We did
locate a disc recorder which recorded interviews in a satisfactory manner. Harry
Daniels and I first asked the question, "What really happens in the
employment interview." So we recorded a goodly number of interviews
conducted in employment offices by employment interviewers in industry. It was
then we learned that the interview was dominated by the interviewer who took
practically all the interview time talking. We made the significant conclusion
that an interviewer learns little about an interviewee when he does most of the
talking. From that study we interviewed some interviewees to obtain their
reaction to the interview experience. Many of them told us that they were sure
little was learned about them, that they did not have the opportunity to talk,
and the interviewer seemed to use the application blank as his source for asking
questions. From these experiences I devised an interview technique which I
called "The Get Acquainted Technique or How to Listen."
simple, the interviewer asks the interviewee to talk about himself in the areas
of educational experiences, work experiences, and home and family background.
The latter areas were discarded after the passage of the Equal Employment
Opportunity Act, but as most of us know these are productive areas for employment
decision making. After asking the question or describing the areas for the
interviewee to follow, the interviewer merely looks interested and keeps his
mouth shut. The longest interview I conducted using this method lasted over an
hour, a very productive hour. Usually the ratio is 90% interviewee time/10%
One aspect of
my life is the use of training conferences or seminars. Mine were
cookbook in nature. I tried to send the conference attendees home with
skills they could use. From those conferences, Job analysis, Job evaluation,
Wage and Salary Administration, Employment Interviewing, Employee Selection,
Statistical Aids for Personnel Workers, Performance Review, and Employee
Evaluations and a few others that did not draw I created consulting and research
work for our students as well as for myself. I might add that along with each
conference, I invited the group out to my house for an evening of drinks, food,
and conversation with a few of our graduate students. These were fun evenings as
well as productive evenings through interchange of ideas on an informal basis. I
offered some of these conferences at McGill University, California Institute of
Technology, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, and for a few industrial firms. I
gave up these industrial inhouse conferences because I found I was competing
with my own at Reserve. There are a limited number of personnel people in the
United States working for companies with money allocated for their training.
I hasten to
add, that I often learned as much from these practitioners as they learned from
seminars at McGill for around 25 years. At one time I was better known in Canada
than in the United States. Dr. Edward Webster, a McGill industrial psychologist,
brought me to his university to give seminars. I generated many research and
consulting contacts from these conferences. Some years I spent over 3 months
in Canada plus the 3 weeks a year I taught at McGill.
At that time,
I was promoting the job cluster approach in setting up wage and salary programs.
The idea came from Dr. Livernash at Harvard that wages were linked within a firm
by proximity and by similarity of job content. Both the Canadian government and
the Province of Ontario were interested and I spent considerable time working
with their compensation administrators in establishing their compensation
programs. I found these seminars helpful in promoting industrial psychology.
I had a good
work life. My colleagues were stimulating and helpful. The host of graduate
students, over 100 in number were qualified for and interested in industrial
psychology. I was lucky to be a part of the second generation of individuals in
our field. It was stimulating to meet and talk with such founding fathers as
Cattell, Paterson, Burtt, O'Rourke, Arthur Otis, Walter Dill Scott, Uhrbrock,
Marian Bills, Paul Horst, Bingham, Link, Shellow, Bruce Moore, Herbert Moore,
Poffenberger, Freyd, Hull, and Viteles. Most of the above named were older than
I. There was a small group which called itself, Psychologists in Industry which
met informally at APA meetings. when invited to meet with them, I was always
considered a cademic psychologist. I never worked full time in industry. My
contemporaries, Cal Shartle, Harold Edgerton, Bea Dvorak, Joe Tiffin, Chuck
Lawshe, Edward Webster, Roger Bellows, Marion Richardson, Fred Herzberg, Calvin
Hall, Erwin Taylor, Joel Campbell, Harry Laurent, David Chesler, Eleroy
Stromberg, Clare Graves, and Eric Prien plus many others enriched my knowledge
of our field.
There came a
time when retirement looked good. As mentioned above, I truly retired. The
retirement years have been rich. I am able to spend time with Elodie, my wife, a
neglected spouse for many years. While working I traveled over half the time. I
have continued travels with Elodie along. We leave for a trip around the world
in a few days. This is the second such trip. We hope it is not the last.
travel each winter to escape the snowbirds who infest Florida. My research
indicates that migratory birds return north each year to breed. We Floridians
believe that is why human migratory snowbirds return north each spring.
Retirement for me has been a good part of my life. My golf game is still
respectable, I shoot my age or better, Im trying to learn how to operate this
d--- computer, it scares me with its capability. My retirement
community, one of Leisure Technology's Leisure Villages called Seven Lakes, is
populated with friendly and interesting people. The climate is far better than
Cleveland's. I can be fishing in one of our lakes in about ten minutes, golf is
only five minutes from my door, I own my golf cart. As an editor of the Seven
Laker, our condominium publication, I can voice my reactions to community
affairs and thereby gain a measure of
obtained the ideal of an Adirondack native, no one asks me to work.
I found a
usable quotation in a book written by Richard C. Cabot which is entitled,
"What Men Live By," Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914. This could well be
used by our profession. My quote is as follows:
crude job as we get it there is much rubbish, for work is a very human product.
It is no better than we have made it, and when it is redeemed from brutal
drudgery it is apt to be scarred and warped by our stupidities and our
ineptitudes. Out of the rough-hewn masses in which work comes to us, it is
our business, it is civilization's business, to shape a vocation fit for man. We
shall have to remake it again and again; before we reject what we now have, it
is worth while to see what we want.
(besides better hours, better wages, healthier conditions) are the points of a
good job? Imagine a sensible man looking for satisfactory work, a vocational
adviser guiding novices towards the best available occupation, and a statesman
trying to mould the industrial world somewhat nearer to the heart's desire, what should they try for? Physical
and financial standards determine what we get out of our work. But what shall we
get in it? Much or little, I answer, according to its fitness or unfitness for
our personality, a factor much neglected nowadays.
Among the points of a good job I shall name seven: (1) Difficulty and
crudeness enough to call out our latent powers of mastery. (2) Variety
so balanced by monotony as to suit the individual's needs. (3) A boss. (4) A
chance to achieve, to build something and to recognize what we have done. (5) A
title and a place which is ours. (6) Connection with some institution, some
firm, or some cause, which we can loyally serve. (7) Honorable and pleasant
relations with our comrades in work. Fulfill these conditions and work is one of
the best things in life.
octogenarian I read the obituaries each morning. I also read the obits in the
Pennsylvania and Wesleyan alumni magazines as well as the American Psychologist.
I feel that this autobiography has been in the nature of an obituary. Any
resemblance was not intended. The best part of my life, marriage excepted, is
Cabot's seventh point of a good job. " Honorable and pleasant relations
with my comrades in work." My thanks to my many comrades in work.
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