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Happy new year, everyone! Stories like the one from this month are, sadly, no longer true. If Mr. Schotter doesn't have an MBA in Finance and a CPA in today's world, he certainly won't get handling $35 million no matter how much experience he posessed. Unfortunately, I believed stories like this one were still relevant and true when I started my post-college career in advertising. Perhaps I could have become the president of that firm since certain fields today require certain credentials, but I left advertising a year after I started (and year and one day to be exact so I wouldn't have to pay the agency fee). Creative though I am, they put me in "media services" where my statistical background came into play. The problem was I didn't care how many times the housewife in Topeka had to be exposed to the ad to get her to try the product!
Gregg Speed Building, Gregg Publishing Company, 1932, p 94-96
The Story of a Man Who Keeps $35 Million in the Cash Box
In one of the executive offices of a great railway system—the Pennsylvania—sat a slender, keen-eyed financial expert who got his start in the business world through a knowledge of shorthand. . . .
When Schotter was 17, he learned in the middle of summer that the stenographer in the brokerage house that employed him was to leave in September. The future assistant treasurer of the Pennsylvania had been unable to complete his high school course, but he was interested in finance, and there, it seemed to him, was a strategic opening. As the firm’s stenographer, he would be, in effect, the senior partner’s confidential assistant. Through daily contact with this experienced individual, he would get a direct insight into all phases of the brokerage business, and thus by experience be fitted to step into a partnership. So all through the stifling summer days, Schotter worked in the brokerage office by day and attended school at night. He gave up every diversion in order th qualify for the stenographer’s job. As a result of this concentration, he advanced rapidly, and in September, got the job. . . .
The job was open [this was a different job], but it paid only $30 a month and he did not feel like making the sacrifice. A few weeks later, however, this same official sent for him and offered him $50 a month—which was a good salary in those days. Well, he has been with the Pennsylvania ever since.
“Stenography,” Schotter says, “was then regarded as a girls’ job, but I had been reading of the careers of some notable men who had started as stenographers, and I did not let the fact that the majority of stenographers were girls worry me. It seemed to me then—and I still believe—that there is no better stepping-stone to success than shorthand—that is, for the young man who is unable to secure a technical training in some profession. A stenographer is in a far better position to learn a business, through daily association with one of the executives, than the average employee, who is unable to observe what is going on in other branches of the firm’s business.
“There are, to my knowledge, a number of comparatively young men today holding important executive positions, such as assistant to the president of a great railway system, who started out as stenographers. If the assistant to the president has the right sort of personality and a good set of business brains, there is no reason why he should not eventually succeed to the presidency, for he has been trained in the duties and responsibilities of that particular position over a period of years.”—Burt M. McConnell
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