Can an Old Girl Scout Manual Help You in Your Career?

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One of the true pleasures in writing the Wayback Advice series is finding obscure books written decades ago and seeing what passed for advice back then. We’ve found some real doozies and have been pleasantly surprised by a few as well. Today’s post is a bit different—when we stumbled across a 1917 Girl Scouts manual “How Girls Can Help Their Country” we knew we could find some good stuff in there. Their organizational motto is “Be Prepared” so we had a sneaking suspicion there would be some excerpts we could work with. Want to find out if we were right? Read on, friend!

It’s About You

Have you ever stopped to think that your most constant companion throughout life will be yourself? You will always have this body, this mind, and this spirit that you call "I," but this body, this mind, this spirit are constantly growing and changing, and it is quite possible for the owner to direct this growth and change. In order to live well, in order to possess the joy of life, and to be helpful to others, a Scout needs to apply her motto "Be prepared" to herself.

This one is pretty easy to forget when you’re out in the world, building relationships—but at the end of the day, the most constant companion in your life is you. We like this passage because it puts the ownership of growth and direction squarely where it belongs—in your hands, with you driving that change.

Sure, change can be a passive thing that happens to you, but the kind of change (and growth) you want in your life is the one you’re actively working towards. Of course, there are people (Advisors) and tools (*cough* Flerish *cough*) who are here to help you get there, but ultimately, it’s all up to you.

Be Prepared in Your Career

Choose a Career: "Be prepared" for what is going to happen to you in the future. Try to master one trade so that you will be independent. Being punctual is a most important thing. This counts for a great deal in filling any kind of position.

Ok, we can’t blame the Girl Scouts for hammering their motto a lot, because it’s a good motto. Being prepared is always important but look—many people’s careers in 2019 (and beyond) aren’t “one trade” type of careers anymore. That said, this advice is still applicable in the sense that we encourage you to not split your attention in your career. It’s better to do one thing well, than three things just ok.

It’s also important to look towards the future with your career—technology is innovating a lot of our tasks at a pace we’ve never seen before. Tech can make your job a lot easier but pay attention to what’s going on in your industry, so you can take advantage of the changes. Being able to harness a new technology once its available can help your career and set you up for the next phase in your life.

Also, we hate to say it (ok, no we don’t), punctuality is still really important. Some things never change!

Never Stop Learning (and Helping)

Each one of us should be a student, ever growing in power of thought and in usefulness to others. Too many people think that education consists in memorizing all kinds of information exactly as it is put down in the books. What each one of us really needs is to have a mind that can think definitely and intelligently upon all the problems presented in life.

One of the things we loved about the messaging is the importance of being of service to others—no one gets to where they want to be, alone, and it’s important to help people along on their path as well. This is clearly an important tenant of the Girl Scouts, and one we can really get behind.

The important message here is that you never stop learning. You never reach that magical place of success and say to yourself “yes, I have truly achieved all I ever will. I think I’ll just stay here for the rest of my life.” That simply doesn’t happen!

Knowledge is power, and there’s always more to learn. Make a commitment towards gaining knowledge and applying that knowledge to help yourself and the people around you, and it will serve you immeasurably in your life.

Well, what do you think? Do the Girl Scouts have the right idea? Wish we had included the section on how to make a tourniquet (what is their motto, after all?!) Let us know in the comments!