It may be difficult, or perhaps impossible, to measure the public’s attitude to work, but it seems most people do their job because they must. I remember not long ago when workmen such as carpenters required considerable skill to build their constructions in a craftsman-like way. No doubt modern carpentry requires skill, but it appears that things are prefabricated in such a way that they go up in large pieces. There is little fitting things together in unique ways, and at a construction site there are nails being shot in at a rate of several per second. No doubt that requires a certain kind of skill but it doesn’t seem like the old craftsmanship. I remember visiting a carpenter friend at his work site, and marveling at his scrap pile, because even these leftover bits of wood were perfectly cut. Clean, square and smooth.
I am trying to set the tone of craftsmanship the way it used to be, and the love I used to hear about a man loving his job and his pleasure in knowing he was doing quality work, and his pride in saying, “I built that.” Now when you visit a house under construction you see the scraps thrown randomly about, and trivial things like nails routinely dropped and never picked up. It implies an attitude of haste and waste. An attitude of get it done, walk away, and forget it – I got my pay check and it’s time to drink beer, or whatever. No doubt I am wrong about a lot of people and their relationship to their jobs, and it is gross simplification to judge a workman by his scrap pile – but how are we to measure an attitude of not caring?
The fix is to move people’s relationship to themselves and to their work to one of doing things right for the pleasure of knowing they are being done right, rather than doing their work just to get it done. Perhaps it comes down to the employers praising work well done, as much as praising getting the maximum production out the door, and to letting the purchasers of the product know that it was done with the attitude of making it right, rather than making it as cheap as possible. When you do your work with loving care it comes back to your relationship with yourself and you treat yourself with loving care.
Make the quality of your life better by making the quality of your work better.