This section is from the "Practical Banking" book, by Albert S. Bolles.
Should you acquire a reputation, you may be solicited to change your place; or, becoming discontented, may seek to do so on your own motion. In the former case you are to consider your directors as your friends, and, stating all the facts fairly, obtain their views before taking a single step to meet the overture made to you. This is an imperative duty; and performing it in honor, and acting under the advice of wise counselors, you can hardly come to a wrong conclusion. I assume here that your bank is sound, and that it is under the direction of competent and safe men. If unfortunately otherwise, if your reputation be at stake, and your directors, or a governing part of them, are ignorant or regardless of the principles of banking, or are "speculators," who seek their own accommodation, you should retire at once. But upon this point I will not dwell, since it is to be hoped that such institutions and such men have nearly passed away.
A "bill-broker," says Mr. Windham Beaves, " should avoid babbling, and be prudent in his office, which consists in one sole point, that is, to hear all and say nothing."
It is related that the eminence of the five brothers Rothschild, as bankers, is to be attributed in a great measure to their strict observance of their father's dying injunction, to "remain united." Well may it be so. Unanimity in the direction of a bank is always an element of success; and the result of my observation in this regard is, that more losses occur from divisions, than from any other single cause. Accommodation notes, large and standing loans to particular parties, and similar departures from legitimate banking are only to be tolerated in cases which receive the assent of the entire direction. Yet I have known one and all of these departures to be consummated, time and again, by directors who owned the smallest possible amount of stock, in opposition to the remonstrances of older and abler associates who were large stockholders; and years afterward, when legal remedies had been exhausted, and levies and set-offs had failed to restore more than costs of suit, have personally made wearisome journeys and devoted weeks to the service of closing up, as I best could, these unfortunate illustrations of the rule that "a majority should govern" in the directors' room, as in politics. In short, such, in my view, are the evils of the majority principle in this connection, that I would counsel a cashier, whether young or old, to insist upon a reasonable change, and a change refused, to seek an institution more wisely, more safely conducted.
You may be discontented without cause. I remember to have read a story, in which one of the characters was in possession of everything that heart could ask, but was miserable from this very circumstance, or because he wanted—a want. Such persons exist in real life. Be not of that unhappy class. Accommodate yourself to your condition. Do not seek for happiness in change of place, but in change of disposition. "The lazy ox wishes for the trappings of the horse, and the steed sighs for the yoke," is an old saw that has not yet lost its meaning. Nor should the topic be dismissed without recalling the pithy epitaph composed for the hypochondriac, who quacked himself into his grave: "I was well but by endeavor ing to be better—am here."Let the young cashier heed the moral contained in these several apt sayings, and remember that care and perplexity exist everywhere. To smoothe and fashion the rough stone of life is a religious duty. The change of one's home involves a change of society, of privileges of worship, of schools, of facilities in traveling, of household expenses, of access to books, and various other essentials; and should be carefully considered in every aspect before it is actually undertaken. And I bestow the more attention upon the point, because the propensity to remove from one place to another is so common, and because within the circle of my acquaintance, many have been ruined, and but few have improved their condition or increased their happiness, by seeking a new abode. In middle age, the experiment is doubly hazardous. Take up a full-grown tree, and will it live unless some of the old earth go with it? Sunder the ties of sympathy and affection; exchange old faces and associates for new ones, and what is the condition of a man?
To resume my personal address to the young cashier, you should not possess an overweening desire of praise, nor invite commendation. Nor should you be intoxicated with your own merits.
You should never speak of your official acts, except in explanation and in self-defence. In all pleasantry, I will add, that, in old age, you may tell the son who succeeds you what you were in your youth; but, now, be content with the quiet appreciation of others. Delicate attentions and marks of respect are the surest and best manifestations of regard, and if you have these, do not fine in discontent or discouragement.
In your official intercourse with the president and directors, observe great deference; and at the "Board" it may be proper to address the former by his title.