Off on a tangent...again

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Blog entry by dennis mitchell posted 06-11-2007 12:09 AM 1365 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It has been awhile. Nothing very artistic coming out of my shop the past few months. Just grinding away at different cabinet jobs. I did get 300 bd. feet of knotty maple I’m dying to cut up, but I’ll just have to wait.

Training an employee has been a rush. I’ve really been looking closely at the traditional rolls we take on when we become bosses. I really believe we create our own cultures where we work. They might say quality and really believe it but in lots of places that is not reality. Quality is the hardest thing for me to teach. Our world is based on a go go go mentality. Trying to get workers to slow down is a puzzle. Our egos are based on how much money we can make. I’m struggle with my own ideas of is it good enough?

My neck of the woods are full of minimum wage jobs. We import people from out of the country to fill them. We have $5.35 to $12.00 an hour jobs where families are struggling and we have large business owners making a fortune. (we call them family farmers…most of the families are gone..swallowed up in the rush to grow) In one hand we idolize the Donald, yet support a system that thinks a small business is around 100 employees. I can not support that. I just will not go there. If I can’t make enough to pay a living wage I don’t want the job. Plenty of others can do that but some how I feel I’ll do better, paying an honest wage, expecting an honest days work.

Thank God I live in a country where I can live outside the norm. Woodworking is one of those places an independent spirit can thrive. The question becomes just how do I create a healthy work environment. How do I avoid those pit falls my ego has layed out for me. I’ve worked for some wonderful folk so I’ve had some good role models. I’ve also seen bad choices destroy too many small businesses and the lives associated with them. I’m not really worried because I’m not going deep into debt to try this. No big loans, no leasing a bunch of equipment, no friggin business plans! Not even a brand new F-350!

I miss doing my rustic furniture, but the Western Design Conference is coming up too soon and I’ll need to get busy and build a few pieces for that! Let me see maybe something for the garden…and something with some fancy joinery…

9 comments so far

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4339 days

#1 posted 06-11-2007 12:58 AM

Dennis, I understand your desire to steer clear of this worlds hurry up and make a buck mentality and I pray that you are successful in accomplishing the type of business enviroment you are wanting to create. I know that when I was in school they pounded the notion in our heads that to be successful, one had to make plenty money. They should be teaching that one needs to be productive and honest in their dealings with others. I battle the notions in this world, whether through school, music and the media, with my son daily. I try to inspire him to do what will make him happy for a living and not just look at the almighty dollar when deciding what he will spend the rest of his life doing. I also try to get him to see that doing a job well the first time is faster than having to do it two or three times real fast, which is hard to get through his thick skull, even though it has been proven time and time again. I always feel that I was born in the wrong centry, because I admire the quality of the work of our forefathers, from the woodworkers to those who built the Blackbird in the 50’s.

Keep the faith and God be with you in your endeavors.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#2 posted 06-11-2007 01:25 PM

an interesting comment on our “advanced” society.

We glorify the life of the stars, the power of the rich, and are driving into our children’s psyche that these qualities are what distinguishes “success”. We teach them that their goal in life is to climb that ladder of success and that living a life that “just is” is a sign of failure, laziness, and even a sign of depression.

it is good to see, and to be reminded, that there are people out there that don’t buy into the dollar-driven lifestyle and that the life of honour, integrity, simplicity is one to strive for.

Thank you for this discussion.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4034 days

#3 posted 06-11-2007 03:52 PM

Dennis i hear ya man. The struggle to find balance in our work and lives is not an easy one. I’ve personally set a goal of having it all figured out before i’m 112 years old.

I think in many ways, rampant prosperity is tougher for a culture to deal with than hard times and adversity. At least with adversity, people get self discipline imposed upon them. With too much prosperity, its up to a conscious decision by the individual to voluntarily impose discipline on himself.

We call WW2 the greatest generation. What made them great was the character that was built by the shared adversity they went through during the depression. That and the fact they had a shared mythological tradition that grounded them to a bigger picture to consider besides their own fleeting lives.

In a strange twist, it seems odd to consider that generations past were more fortunate than we are. Certainly not in any material sense, but in the all important psychological sense. Which in the end, is whats really neccessary for a fullfilling life, and a nation where people treat each other with concern and fairness.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#4 posted 06-11-2007 04:26 PM

Dennis: My prayers are with you in your goals for your business. And yes you do have a business plan you just showed it to us.

Great job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4190 days

#5 posted 06-11-2007 05:31 PM

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this Dennis. We all have to evaluate where we are, what we want, how we want to get it. Your display of honesty and integrity is great, and will eventually win out. While we may be a throw away society, people still appreciate these two qualities. Perhaps even more so in this day and age.

I wish you well on your journey. Realize, you are not on it alone and we are with you.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#6 posted 06-11-2007 10:59 PM

good point Miles.
I say that my kids were really lucky to have grown up with money-deprived parents—- it built character and gave them a good sense of what was important.
We didn’t have much but we sure had fun along the way.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4343 days

#7 posted 06-12-2007 02:18 AM

Miles…I’ll stick around tell you get it figured out and I’ll be first in line for enlightenment! My grandparents did not take things for granted. Not the way I do…to say nothing of my kids.

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4115 days

#8 posted 06-12-2007 11:25 PM

I’ve been catching up on your blogs Dennis. I sense in you a true and noble man of great character. We all struggle with the changes that we need to adapt too, both the change in ourselves and the world around us. I find myself worried for my kids. We have corporate greed running amok. CEO’s getting multigajillion dollar golden parachutes from the company they have destroyed. Companies forced to move their manufacturing overseas to compete with or sell to Wal-Mart. I watch as our political “leaders” fight amongst themselves for the scraps….fiddling while Rome is burning. Prostituting themselves (my apologies to all prostitutes) to the highest bidder while their constituents suffer.

Our culture has degraded so quickly to where we stand today. I hear, read, and see the things going on today and am almost glad my Dad isn’t around to see it.

Our hopes are pinned on people like you that are willing to focus on the rational without giving up their principal. Someday the pendulum will swing….hopefully we’ll all be around to see it.

-- Bob

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#9 posted 06-13-2007 12:38 AM

Great statement of current events Bob. I hope that our children will have a better world.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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