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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/195

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Correspondence and Explanations.

The lesson to be drawn is that we should all be just as honest and considerate for the man below in the conduct of our offices as in the face to face contact of outside activities. The first thought of an official and of his chief of staff should be to avoid humiliating a subordinate. A letter demanding an explanation accumulates much momentum of censure while traveling, perhaps from the general offices, through the channels to an agent, a yardmaster, a conductor, or a foreman. The tendency of each office is to unbottle a little more of a never-failing supply of suppressed indignation. By the time the return explanations and apologies have trekked back across the plains to the starting point, the whole incident is often as much ancient history as the days of ’49.

Yes, we must have explanations for certain irregularities. The taste for such office pabulum is more or less cultivated. It is a kind of diet which demands vigilant restraint of appetite. It does not increase the self-respect of a faithful old employe to write a schoolboy explanation of something that looked badly on paper in a distant office. Actual experience has demonstrated that discipline can be maintained, efficiency increased, and loyalty engendered by

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