This is the second portion of the letter I posted yesterday. This portion includes grandpa’s advice to lad regarding his prospects for work.
Lad, in Venezuela, at one of the Camps.
page 2 of R-52
Aunt Betty had brought up with her the letter you had sent to her and this too was read at the table after yours had been read. Who is the man in the Company that makes the decision as to whether you are put on diesel work or garage or transportation? Who is the second in command that might influence the big boss? You, of course, can see what I am driving at. Sometimes a direct frontal attack won’t get you so far so quick as taking a round-about route. If Mr. Starr, for instance, is the big boss and in spite of the fact that you have left no doubt in his mind as to what you would like to do on the diesel proposition, still refuses to see the thing your way, he must have some reason that seems good to him, at least. He either believes that you do not know enough about Diesels to put you on the job or he needs you more on some other job that he believes you can do. If the first assumption is true, then it might be well not to say anything more to him about your desires but silently work to convince those whom he consults, like the second in command, or the new diesel man, or someone else that you know from observation or circumstances is a person having influence, and without letting this person know your reason, fix it so that every opportunity that arises he is impressed with your diesel knowledge. Meanwhile, if you do the jobs that are handed you in a thorough, capable manner, in spite of the fact that the boss knows you would rather have something else, he will be impressed by your loyalty and good spirit and will make him feel all the more like rewarding you. All of this seems awfully trite as I write it and maybe it will seem the same way as you read it, but sometimes it is these very obvious things that one cannot see when he is too close to them; and of course, it may be that not knowing the set up, I am off at an entirely wrong tangent. While I don’t like the idea of your overworking, it is good to know that they are putting these jobs up to you and that they would not do so if they did not have confidence that you could handle them. While Mr. Leander is away, can’t you work up some system that the boss will approve such as an official order that all garage jobs will be handled strictly in the order in which they are received and no one except the big boss has authority to make any change to this schedule, and before the garage can put any job ahead of another, there must be a signed order from the big boss to that effect. If that or some other plan you may be able to devise will help morale and keep tempers and make for peace of mind, Mr. Leander will probably be grateful to you for removing a big bugbear, and the big boss will see in you not only a good mechanic, but a good diplomat as well, which is something that Roy evidently lacked. Here, again, my steer may be entirely wrong, in going to the big boss with any such idea may be exactly the thing not to do and might make Chris sorer than anything else. However, this long-range advice can’t do any harm as long as you don’t take it, and you probably won’t if after thinking it over it doesn’t seem to fill the bill. I’d be interested to hear from time to time a little more about the internal politics. If Chris is hard to get along with he probably knows it and while not admitting it to you, probably appreciates your easy-going way of quietly going about your business no matter how nasty he knows he makes himself. The fellow that knows he is a crank and still finds someone that can work along smoothly with him, often develops a real friendship for his assistant and stands by him loyally in times of stress. It is interesting to get these little sidelights in your letters of the underlying spirit of the place. In every big organization there is a lot of politics being played and I have found that in general the best course to pursue is not to take sides but just plug ahead, keep your mouth shut and strictly tend to your knitting.
Come to think of it, before you get this letter, Chris will have returned and by that time circumstances may be entirely different.
Tomorrow, I will post the last page of this letter and on Friday, A letter from Dan attached at the end of this letter.