Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Young Man and His Vocation (1925-26): Lesson 24: The Vocational Outlook

The Young Man and His Vocation (1925-26): Lesson 24: The Vocational Outlook

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 04, 2011

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



Now that we are about to complete the lessons with the relation of the young man to his vocation, let us take a little time in summing up to see just what the situation is as it affects each one of us. What have we learned during the course? What is our attitude toward the various vocations? What are the conditions in which each of us finds himself vocationally/ what are we going to do about preparing ourselves for our chosen work? What is going to be our attitude toward helping all of our associates and friends to become well situated vocationally?

A Living Versus a Life

In the first place we must know that gaining a living is not all there is to life. Although it is necessary for most of us to spend the larger part of our time acquiring the means to support ourselves and those who are dependent onus, we shall be making a very great mistake if we allow this activity completely to dominate our thinking and our living. Life should be much bigger than the mere earning of a living. It should leave room for the higher things that come to this generation as a heritage from ages past – for religion, for art, for music, for social contacts, for civic services, and for the numerous other activities that make man more than a beast of burden and make the world something greater than merely a huge work shop. The very emphasis that we are now giving to the vocations should be a means of earning the necessary living with less effort and this should give to us the desirable leisure that will enable us to live the fuller life.

Material wealth is very important to the world, but human welfare is even more important; in fact the chief value of wealth is the contribution which it makes to welfare.

The Choice

Probably most of those who have gone through all of these lessons are convinced that their own interests, as well as the interest of the community, can best be served if they choose some definite vocation – one that is suited to their particular situation and capabilities. It should be lain that they will do well to begin early and prepare themselves thoroughly for the calling of their choice. Doubtless all realize by now that the choice of a vocation is something more than haphazard guesswork that something more than accident should enter into it, and that there are, growing out of modern psychology, much more exact methods of testing capabilities than were known formerly. Since the choice of a life’s work is so tremendously important the need of the most careful consideration of the question has become apparent, and certainly every young man is anxious that in his own case at least every known help may be available to assist him.

Pseudo Guidance

Before leaving the subject one warning word should be spoken against the great array of false tests that are imposed on the public as means of helping young people to find their life’s work, or to find a suitable companion in marriage. This is a day of exact science and it is no longer necessary to resort to the superstition or the ignorance of the middle ages. In spite of this fact there are still those who would use palmistry, phrenology, astrology, or physiognomy in determining vocational adaptations. There are persons who go about the country giving very definite advice based entirely on these unsound and wholly unreliable indicators.

Many attempts have been made to work out relationships between the shape of the hand or its lines and the character of the individual but these attempts have been unsuccessful. Even in this day there are some people who try to correlate mental qualities with the bumps on the head, but repeated scientific tests have shown practically no relationships of this kind exist, so that people who attempt to use these methods of character analysis are very much misguided. Books have been published recently which advise all those of light complexion to go into one set of occupations and those of dark complexion to go into another, the matter of complexion being one of the chief factors considered in vocational guidance.

It is hoped that the M.I.A. workers will stay clear of these false tests


After a wise selection is made the chief attention should be placed on preparation for one’s great work in life. The foundation for any occupation is the building up of a strong body and the acquiring of health habits that will enable the worker to keep fit for his tastes.

An item that must be kept in mind is the securing of just as good a general education as it is possible to get and then to supplement this with such special training as the particular vocation requires. Thoroughness in preparation is always reflected in ability to reach greater heights in one’s profession.

If one is reasonably sure of what is going to follow, it is a tremendous advantage to begin his preparation as early as possible – not that he should devote himself to it to the exclusion of other things, but if a person may be securing some of his special training while he is getting his general education he has a great advantage over the person who must delay until later in life and special training for his life’s work.

The Opportunity

No young man in this day can complain that he does not have a chance. There are so many opportunities for training one very hand that any person with good health and the least ambition need not hesitate about going forward with a reasonable assurance that he can prepare for almost any occupation for which he has the physical and mental aptitude. No longer need poverty be the bar to education. There are so many courses offered in correspondence; there are so many “opportunity” schools and night schools; there are so many books to be borrowed from public and private libraries; and there are so many scholarships open and so many opportunities to work one’s way through college, that it is almost a reflection on a young man who allows himself to drift year after year from one temporary occupation to another without planning for something permanent and without burning the midnight oil, if necessary, in order to carve out for himself a place of independence and usefulness in his community.

Under the old hit-and-miss system of employment most anyone had a chance to get a job. Sometimes the man without training secured a better position than the man who was well prepared; but with the coming of the new position of employment manager which is rapidly being adopted in most of the larger industries, the question of preparation and merit will be given much greater attention than formerly. This will mean the establishment of rating scales with added compensation for the man who is prepared to do the job.

The Final Word is to urge every young man of mutual Improvement Association age to be a man of achievement. The industrial outlook has never in the history of the world been brighter than it is today. There has never been a time when a young man without material resources had a better chance to succeed than right now, provided he is only willing to pay the price. After all, achievement is merely a matter of effort; we get what we pay for. If we put forth only the effort necessary to become a cobbler, only a cobbler can we be; but if we are willing to put forth sufficient effort to become a great engineer we shall receive proper reward for that effort also.

With the greater opportunity that has been made available in the modern world there is a corresponding disgrace for failure to achieve. No longer can a man be held in high respect in his community, who, because of his own neglect, is incapable of adequately providing fort he material needs of those who are dependent on hin.


1. Give a list of the subjects of each lesson.
2. Which three lessons have you enjoyed most?
3. Distinguish between living and earning a living. Which is more important?
4. Give some of the false tests that are sometimes used in attempts to guide the choice of a vocation.
5. List the steps necessary in the preparation for several vocations.
6. What are some of the industrial opportunities unknown to your grandfather which are open to you?
7. What do you consider to be the greatest vocational need of your community?




  1. If you save your money, what’s the harm in being a cobbler? You probably have more time for home teaching.

    Comment by queuno — October 4, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  2. (I sense a little prosperity gospel…)

    Comment by queuno — October 4, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

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