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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/193

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LETTER XVII.

CORRESPONDENCE AND EXPLANATIONS.

Portland, Ore., July 29, 1911.

My Dear Boy:—The man who is successful in the exercise of authority soon learns to be something of a buffer between his superiors and his subordinates. He learns to temper justice with mercy. In this little railroad game of ours there has often been an unconscious departure from this rule of conduct. The word “why” should ask for an increased overtime rate in its next working schedule. Somebody at the top is peeved because a train comes in late. He asks the next man below, “Why?” Down goes the inquiry through the baskets of offices whose files contain the desired information, because it is so much easier to write another man a letter than to dig up one of our own. The final inquiry is to a man who has already rendered one report or explanation. It would be a pretty poor sort of recording angel that would register against this underling the

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