Service Is Our Business chapter 11

What an amazing world this would be if everyone could be convinced suddenly that “service is my business.” The discontents and the discord would melt away. The mountainous problems that hamper production and distribution would become soluble. Teamwork would replace suspicion and frustration. Imagine a factory, an office, or a retail store where everyone lived vocational service, spontaneously and without affection, as a natural way of living. What a pleasure to be associated in any way, as a competitor or a customer, with such an institution !

Rotarians who consider seriously the possibility of helping to realize this dream are well aware of the difficulties. They recognize them as they exist in their own personalities and in those with whom they seek to co-operate. Selfishness—prejudice—fear—are built into so many of us by harsh experience, perhaps, or by early training. However we got that way, it makes it very difficult for us to live consistently as if service were our business.

But, if we really want to realize this dream, it would seem that the most hopeful subject would be the new generation of workers just entering upon their careers. To these youngsters, the idea that service is my business will hold intriguing possibilities. Beneath any protective veneer of cheap cynicism he or she may have accumulated, youth is idealistic. As they enter business life the will to believe is strong, hopes are high. What an opportunity to serve society has the employer of these young hopefuls—an opportunity that can be seized energetically, but too often is woefully ignored.
The program planning committee of Rotary International has recommended that the following statement be brought to the attention of all Rotarians who are employers of youth.

1. That every Rotarian engaged in industry and who is the employer of adolescent young persons and/or engages the services of youth direct from school, should constitute himself the friend and advisor, especially during working hours, of each such person in his employ, whether it be in the workshop, factory, or office.

2. It is suggested that he should, to this end, interview personally each young person being considered for employment or already employed and explain:
(a) The difference between work as a means of earning a living and work as a way of living a life;
(b) The importance to himself and to the community of the new phase of life into which the youth has entered;
(c) The fact that real and practical education and learning begins and does not end upon leaving school;
(d) That the acquiring of further academic and scientific knowledge is an essential addition to vocational activities and skill in order to be a success in life and vocation;
(e) That immense satisfaction and happiness are attainable from the effort to improve one’s knowledge and education and that such effort, when added to good conduct and character, rarely fails to produce material as well as spiritual well-being;
(f) That the Rotarian employer is personally interested in him or her and may be regarded as a real friend and advisor.

3. That each Rotarian employer of youth should take an active interest in the physical welfare of those employes, encouraging them to join physical-fitness classes, etc.

4. That each Rotarian employer of youth (especially of school-leavers) should encourage such young persons to take advantage of the facilities available in almost every town and city for continued education in day school or at evening classes.

5. That the Rotarian should make a special point of seeing that such youth, upon joining his firm or company, are placed under the charge of foremen or directive employees who will and can guide them in the acquisition of good habits and manner of work leading to the development of skill and interest in their work.

6. That the Rotarian’s personal interest in the youth be expressed, if possible, to their parents and the utmost encouragement and co-operation of the latter be sought.

Many Rotarians are attempting to apply these suggestions methodically in their own enterprises, just as many Rotary clubs are organizing occupational information by their members for youth who are choosing a career. By a recent decision of the board of directors of Rotary International, these club projects are considered as vocational service—if the information includes definite explanations of the concept of service in each occupation.

The employer who says to himself, “Service is my business” and really believes it, will interest himself in the youth he employs and in more ways than any set of recommendations can outline. He will regard these young people, not as mere means of production, but as ends in themselves, as constituting a part at least of the purpose of his business. His business may be the building of great cranes to lift the burdens of humanity, but just as surely he is also building lives. Future generations will witness how well he has built.

Are you developing cordial, helpful relations with the younger employees in your business?