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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/108

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Letters From A Railway Official.

is first to sit in, play and learn. Gamblers would become extinct if all men lived up to this advice. Most railway officials regard organization as an exception to this precept because, as I said before, nearly every man flatters himself that he is a born organizer. Before you raise the stakes too high in trying to beat another man’s game of organization, better first sit in and play it his way.

Do not be afraid to trust outlying offices, like those of your superintendents, to run their own files. Have them inspected as often as may be necessary to insure uniformity and efficiency. Do not forbid their adding numbers as emergencies arise. Assemble these new subjects periodically, say once in six months, for standardization, and amplify the working numbers if necessary. You must allow for differences in the human equation. Some men are strict constructionists, and some are broader. Some men classify under a few subjects, while others subdivide to a greater degree. You know the old story of the man who was indexing and feared that something might be overlooked. So under the caption, “God,” he put the cross reference, “See Almighty God.” Without a retrospective study of actual per-