Working in a skilled trade has meaning. A tradesman can look at the finished stonewall, the mended roof or the house they have built and say, “There, I did that!”
Everyday, performing skilled manual labour lets a tradesman see the results of what they have done.
Working in a trade is both physically demanding and intellectually stimulating. Each day is a problem solving exercise, which frequently requires complex thinking.
Many skilled and qualified tradesmen will also have a mental library of on how to tackle specific jobs based on experience.
A good tradesman is never one to turn his back on a challenge, especially one that contains a lot of variables and is difficult to isolate.
To step back and calculate how to proceed, using judgment that arises from experience - there is a thrill that comes with that knowledge.
Then there is the working environment, where breathing in dust, sore knees, neck strain, sliced hands are all part of the job. But none of this harm affects the best part of a tradesman.
Or course there are the moments of failures too. The moment when a tradesman realises the need to start again or the keen awareness of a job that could go wrong.
The tradesman’s experience is one of individual responsibility, supported by face-to-face interaction with the customer.
Working in a trade offers both satisfaction and freedom - to do any other job is to be confined and dulled.
Now, more than ever, we need Tradesmen in Ireland. They are the hero’s who build our walls, fix our plumbing and keep our homes heated and the lights on.
To all the Tradesmen out there – Merry Christmas! We wish you much success in 2020.
This post has been inspired by “The Case for Working with your Hands” by Matthew B. Crawford 2009