Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Young Man and His Vocation (1925-26): Lesson 16: Vocations Developed in Recent Years

The Young Man and His Vocation (1925-26): Lesson 16: Vocations Developed in Recent Years

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 01, 2011

For background and links to chapters in this series, see here



In the modern world there are so many changes in practically every industrial activity that new problems are constantly a rising and new occupations are rapidly being developed. This is an age of machinery – of new kinds of machinery which is ever changing as a result of new scientific discoveries. During the past century there has been more advancement in the physical equipment of the world than during all of the rest of the history of the world. This means that there must be constant shifts in vocational adjustments. The young man who wishes to protect himself vocationally must always be alert to make such adjustments as are in line with progress. There is no stopping the mighty tide of advancement that is sweeping the world, and the young man who is wise will not try to do so, but will study the situation and try to adjust himself to the progressive movements.

He will not be like a certain tinsmith who learned his trade in England in “the good old days” when a boy spent seven years as an apprentice learning how to make tin-ware by hand in the same way that it had been made for generations in England. With the development of machinery in every industry there naturally came improved and more economical ways of making tinware and the ware was much better than the old cumbersome handware. The old tinsmith refused to adjust; the spent his later years in poverty constantly lamenting the fact that the world was “going to the dogs.”

We might just as well make up our minds that the new is going to be replaced by newer, and that some of the occupations which are now thriving will be replaced by others that are more in keeping with the general industrial advancement.

It is impossible to enumerate all of the new vocations that have developed in recent years, since new ones are being added almost weekly. Only a few will be mentioned in this lesson and it is suggested that as many additional ones as possible will be discussed in the class.

Radio Operator

It is only during the last few years that the radio industry has been developed. It was not until 1887 that Hertz, a German scientist, proved that there were electrical waves that could be controlled in such a way that messages might be sent on them. Marconi in 1901 was able to send a wireless message in telegraphic code across the Atlantic, but it was not until about 1912 that there seemed to be any promise in wireless telephony. By 1922 the test of wireless transmission of the voice over long distances was complete and since that time the radio has become more than a mere toy. It is here to stay; and various phases of the industry employ thousands of workers, many of whom must be specialists who are trained for the specific service. This industry offers splendid opportunities for those who have sufficient mechanical ability and who are willing to secure the necessary fundamental training.

Personnel Work

In line with the elimination of the old hit-and-miss methods, and the substitution for the more exact scientific procedure, many o the larger industrial enterprises are using the assistance of employment managers to help in the selection of their employees. This selection is being made on the basis of ability and training which are determined by standardized tests. During the world war the personnel officers working under the direction of some of the leading psychologists of the country developed a technique of testing rather accurately large numbers of men in a comparatively short period of time. Exact records were kept of each individual.

This same type of study, suitably modified, is being widely adopted in many industrial and educational enterprises. Colleges are gradually beginning to keep personnel records of students. These include such material as the complete high school record, mental tests, etc. all of this material is useful in the work of assisting the student in finding his proper place in the vocational world.

There is a splendid opportunity for a large number of young men who desire to specialize int his personnel work, or as employment managers, as they are frequently spoken of in industrial organizations.

Production engineer

This is a day when efficiency is given great consideration. In up-to-date factories, every process is given the most careful study to eliminate all possible waste of effort and to make savings wherever they can be made. In one factory as a result of a careful study of the work 425,000 a year was saved just in interest on capital invested in materials. Every process throughout the factory was so coordinated that all departments had sufficient raw materials on hand without carrying unnecessary large stocks, whereas before the scientific study was made large supplies which tied up a great amount of capital were necessary to keep the factory running smoothly.

Some industries have permanent men whoa re always studying problems of production and efficiency; others employ efficiency engineers occasionally to help them in reorganizing their system. In either, the permanent or in the consulting phase of this efficiency work, there are splendid opportunities for capable young men.

Aviation is something that has developed in the memory of all of us. Only a very few years ago anyone who had anything to do with flying was placed in the Darius Green class of individuals who were considered to be not quite right mentally. Air traffic has not passed the preliminary experimental stage and is here to stay. Its development is going forward by leaps and bounds, and it offers an excellent opportunity for those who are adapted to it and who are seeking something unusual. It is still a rather hazardous occupation but is each year being made more safe.

The Trade Investigator has become a rather important individual in the commercial world. He is a scout of business opportunities who is often able to return to his firm many times his cost.

The Physical Director/Recreational Specialist, is rapidly rising to a very important place in institutions and communities. With the new labor-saving devices in the home and with shorter working hours in industry, people have much more leisure time and much greater opportunity than formerly to engage in recreation and play. If this leisure time is not properly directed it is likely to become the source of very great evil; whereas, if it is used in the best way it may be made a mean snot only of physical renewal but also of social and cultural betterment.

This whole field is developing into a vocational specialty for which there is wonderful opportunity for those of good character who have a suitable personality and the proper training.

Social Service

There is rapidly growing a demand for expert help in many fields. One of the most useful is in the line of social service. More and more the various public agencies are coming to recognize the responsibility of the public in helping to care for those who are unfortunate, and vast sums of private money has been given to assist in welfare work. Experience has shown that this type of service needs to be rendered by specially rained workers. Charity, unless wisely administered, is likely to do more harm than good; hence the necessity for experts in all kinds of social service work.

There are also numerous other types of service such as boy scout executives. These activities are worthy as vocations for any young man who has the right personality and who can secure the necessary training.


1. Why are so many new vocations developing recently/
2. Should we try to restrict the use of machinery so that the old occupations will be protected?
3. Discuss the use of the radio in your section.
4. Give the history of the discovery of radio.
5. What are some of the opportunities of the personnel worker?
6. What is the chief work of the production or efficiency engineer?
7. What do you think of the outlook for air travel?
8. What are the opportunities of the physical director, or recreational specialist, for service in your community?
9. What kinds of help may be given by the social service worker?



  1. Sorry for the flood of these posts. Three at a time is bad enough, but I was editing the others and kept hitting “publish” instead of “update.” I would redesign WordPress’s dashboard if I were WP, so that wouldn’t be so easy to do.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 1, 2011 @ 8:44 am

  2. I think this is a fascinating look back into the mind of the time. Thank you for posting.

    Comment by tom O. — September 1, 2011 @ 11:19 am

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