As I reminisce over projects, jobs, and situations I’ve endured over the decades, there has often been a lot of sleepless nights I’ve endured. There are just too many mean people out there, and it’s actually naive to think that a common identity as woodworking brothers and sisters suggests any kind of implicit harmony among us.
I was well acquainted with hands-on woodworking by the time I entered ‘Practical Arts’ program at my junior high. My projects often got sabotaged by a few screwed up individuals who resented those of us with skills better than their own. Come to think of it, I entered first grade already able to read at grade-3 level, and able to do arithmatic quite well.
So… I sometimes got the crap beat out of me by the known troglodytes of the class. Just for being smarter! Anyway….I entered the workforce at age 18, in a unionized production cabinet shop where the old men would thwart any attempts by us young bucks to excel, in workmanship or productivity. It was frustrating, the old guys got the easiest jobs, and they’d walk off and disappear for an hour at a time, congregating in the men’s room to smoke. If we dared to enter to pee, they’d block our way. They too, would remove the cartridge fuses from our Unisaws and other disruptive crap, and actually the verbal crap was even worse. Heck, I even knew some of these old guys from outside, I was astounded by what a bunch of jerks they were when I had to work next to them.
THEN… I went into an apprenticeship at a architectural-millwork sort of place that did custom commercial work for high-end retail. WOW…I quickly learned what professional snobbery was all about!!! Us trainees were just dirt in their eyes. We were chronically abused verbally by our peers, blamed for everything that went wrong, and put on project details that were way above our level of training, without support!! When it came down to singling out a few like-minded souls to commiserate with, I found out that anything you said in confidence would get back to the person you were talking about. So, I could trust nobody in that Gulag of bad people. It was during this time that I did develop my belief in self,
building my skills and knowledge base, regardless of the behavior of others towards me. I learned to block it out, and bank the skills quietly as I suffered along. Later gigs in custom shops were a bit better, as I walked in and did the kind of work I’d always wanted to do, but I was different…I was never abusive to trainees, never humiliated the lesser-skilled, and I would often stop what I was doing and took the time to mentor the trainees.
My point is this: If you see bad behavior among Lumberjocks, it is perhaps more clearly an accurate reflection of what life is like for woodworkers in the real world. Whenever the subject is brought forward about bad behavior in the forums, well…it is no different than what you’d encounter in REAL LIFE. I’d say, the comments about the bad people here come from people who have never done time in the trenches. You’re lucky if you’ve never had to endure this time misspent in your professional career.
-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!