balthazar

Putting the 'Man' in 'Manual Labor'

26 posts in this topic

Good article. Even though I live the corporate cubicle life that sounds sterile in the article, I do appreciate the experiences I've had working w/ my hands.

My late father, who was a suit-and-tie office man his whole career, enjoyed weekend labor on the family 'farm', with an 1859 house to maintain (a lot of work) and 150 acres of land with various buildings, etc. Growing up, esp. after he retired, every summer, he'd keep me from getting bored with many family projects...I learned framing, hanging sheetrock, how to dig 250 ft long trenches and ditches, how to build a septic tank, build a bathroom, lay t-lock shingles, paint a barn, use a plumb bob and a level, bleed brakes, do oil changes on everything from a John Deere tractor to a diesel Escort, remove an engine and transmission, strip an interior, digging up stumps, mowing acres and acres of yard, planting shrubs, trimming trees, growing veggies, grease a Snapper Comet riding mower, etc. All in Ohio heat and humidity. All fascinating memories now.

Very different world from my technology-fueled, academic, sububurban and corporate cubicle life over the last 20 years. Sometimes I wonder if I've lost part of my soul in the process.

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trinacriabob    20

My parents always grew things. I made damn sure that they kept their planting (lemons, figs, squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, parsley) to a neatly defined area of the backyard (behind the 2-car garage), reminding them that it was Los Angeles and not an episode on the Beverly Hillbillies (just kidding, but I told them their stuff could not overtake the yard, which I mowed).

I will do minor things on the car when I can, but with a sideways turned V-6, I can't get to some of the plugs. On the RWD cars, I could. I will also fix things on or under the dash. I clean the engine with that engine degreaser and use toothbrushes to get to the most difficult parts of the engine bay.

When I lived in Seattle, I remodeled many parts of my T.H. by myself - texturing the ceiling, painting, and mitering/installing baseboard with the appropriate gap to receive new carpeting.

I hardly doubt someone who sees me in a coat and tie during the work day would think I do this type of stuff, but as long as I can clean up right afterwards, I will.

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FUTURE_OF_GM    26

An amazing read...

I'm at both ends of the spectrum.

I love "doing things" with my hands, it's what makes me tick.

However, my education is very much office oriented. I hate that, but I want to make $$$ and sadly, the "hands" stuff seems to be a bit of a dying art IMO.

Very different world from my technology-fueled, academic, sububurban and corporate cubicle life over the last 20 years. Sometimes I wonder if I've lost part of my soul in the process.

I feel that I have...

Living in an urban environment (apartment dwelling) has been really difficult for me and has at some points wreaked havoc on my state of mind. I am a busy body and when I go home I pretty much "go" non-stop. Whereas here, I get very bored and annoyed very easily.

I also agree that craftsmanship is a good defense against bad economic times. Here I sit, college educated and jobless for 6 months while my friends that learned a "blue collar" skill seem to be getting by just fine.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM

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balthazar    1,716

Craftsmanship IS a good defense, IMO. Those that can do, do. Those that can't, hire those that can.

There's not really less trade work out there, just more folk temporarily holding off. If the economy puts a bunch of tradesmen into another line of work, as things slowly perk back up, those left are going to be swamped, IMO.

Then again, I work in one of the country's most affluent areas... ;)

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Reading things like this makes me feel inadiquate.

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Drew Dowdell    4,934

To a degree, even just C&G is something I tinker with.

The only times I enjoy my office job are when we get a problem that is very unusual and I get to play Dr. House and figure out the problem

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To a degree, even just C&G is something I tinker with.

The only times I enjoy my office job are when we get a problem that is very unusual and I get to play Dr. House and figure out the problem

Problem solving is one of the main reasons I like software development... not just design problems, but I even enjoy solving production problems...digging through code, log files, etc to see why last night's batch update took a dump, etc...

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trinacriabob    20
Problem solving is one of the main reasons I like software development... not just design problems, but I even enjoy solving production problems...digging through code, log files, etc to see why last night's batch update took a dump, etc...

Errrr...

...maybe I'm too structured to the point that I'm not good at diagnostic work. I don't like it. I like working in the "prevent" mode, instead of the "detect" mode. That's probably why I overmaitain my car and make lists/spreadsheets for everything.

So, I'm glad there are people out there with diagnostic/forensic type skills.

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SAmadei    224
Errrr...

...maybe I'm too structured to the point that I'm not good at diagnostic work. I don't like it. I like working in the "prevent" mode, instead of the "detect" mode. That's probably why I overmaitain my car and make lists/spreadsheets for everything.

So, I'm glad there are people out there with diagnostic/forensic type skills.

IMHO, in many disciplines, "prevent" is a much more intense process than "detect". For example, its fairly easy to detect a server hacking... its really tough to keep every hole closed on a production server as prevention.

I spend time on both times of the equation... personal life and career-wise.

Funny on the Stonehenge thing... I think I might be using some of his ideas to lift my 55KW generator... damn thing is heavy as hell, and has few good lift points.

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Drew Dowdell    4,934
Errrr...

...maybe I'm too structured to the point that I'm not good at diagnostic work. I don't like it. I like working in the "prevent" mode, instead of the "detect" mode. That's probably why I overmaitain my car and make lists/spreadsheets for everything.

So, I'm glad there are people out there with diagnostic/forensic type skills.

In most cases it seems that I inherit someone else's basket case, be it a car, computer code, lawnmower, apartment building, anything.......

I spend a lot of time figuring out how people f-ed something up in such an odd way.....

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