5/27/09

The Case for Working with Your Hands


Recently there was a great story in the NY Times, contrasting some of the differences in the contemporary job market and how fixing mechanical things isn't all that bad after all. The author is a well educated dude who dropped out of his cubicle and now fixes old motorcycles for a living. Maybe not as sexy as it reads, huh Wes? But it sure beats the hell out of prairie-dogging and TPS reports. Here's a couple of my favorite quotes:

"If the goal is to earn a living, then, maybe it isn’t really true that 18-year-olds need to be imparted with a sense of panic about getting into college (though they certainly need to learn). Some people are hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, when they would rather be learning to build things or fix things. One shop teacher suggested to me that “in schools, we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and undeserving of their full attention and engagement. Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.”

In the boardrooms of Wall Street and the corridors of Pennsylvania Avenue, I don’t think you’ll see a yellow sign that says “Think Safety!” as you do on job sites and in many repair shops, no doubt because those who sit on the swivel chairs tend to live remote from the consequences of the decisions they make."

Read the story
HERE
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4 comments :

Chris / Blue Collar Moto said...

see a yellow sign that says “Think Safety!” as you do on job sites and in many repair shops, no doubt because those who sit on the swivel chairs tend to live remote from the consequences of the decisions they make."

Amen!

davidabl2 said...

I've read this and been thinking about it. Actually
another big diffenence isn't so much working with your hands as in a cubicle. It's thinkin things thru and making your own decisions vs. being a drone.

jmorgan said...

Great post, can't wait to read the NYT article after I get out of this shitty cubicle and get home after my hour long commute. I've been feeling this same way. My nights and weekends are full of wrenching and welding and grinding and biking and my week is full of all sorts of things I have absolutely no interest in.
I'm a complete sucker. I bought into the whole thing, and now I'm wishing I had never went to college. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

"We idealize them as the salt of the earth and emphasize the sacrifice for others their work may entail. Such sacrifice does indeed occur — the hazards faced by a lineman restoring power during a storm come to mind. But what if such work answers as well to a basic human need of the one who does it?"

Answer: the world needs ditch diggers too.