Now the choice of a career is limited by various considerations : for example, the income of the father, the future prospects of the various possible professions, and the mental ability and the inclination of the youth. A rich man can afford to pay the expenses of training his son for any profession for which the young man seems to be adapted; but a poor man, and even a man of moderate means, has not enough money to have his son trained as a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or an officer in the army, unless the boy is clever enough to win good scholarships. He has to be content to select humbler vocations for his sons. Even when money is no object to the father, he has to consider the future prospects of the various professions open to his sons.
Some professions provide opportunities to a clever and diligent youth to rise, not only in wealth, but in social status and political influence; while others, while quite good and respectable in themselves, lead to nothing. A father, or the young man himself, will naturally, other things being equal, choose a profession that will lead to advancement. Lastly, the inclination and ability of the young man must be considered.
It is no use trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It is absurd to try to force an active, restless lad, who is keen on a life of adventure, to sit at a lawyer’s desk all his life; or to try to make a business man out of a thoughtful and dreamy youth, who has the artistic gift of authorship or painting. The youth’s character and bent, and natural abilities in certain lines, must be studied; and that profession chosen for him in which he is most likely to succeed.