Friday, January 2, 2009

Philosophy of Work

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Robert A. Heinlein, “Time Enough For Love”

Isn't it interesting as we look out on the world and today's societies, how few of these any one person can do. So many people have given up the ability to be self-reliant and to do for themselves what they can pay someone else to do. How many of you know someone who can't, not doesn't, but can't change their own oil in their car? Unstop a toilet? Build a fire? Clean a sink trap? Change a light switch? Change a doorknob? Change a tire? Now, I am not saying plumbers and auto mechanics are bad jobs, and that people shouldn't call them for help. BUT, what happens when you are stuck on a road with no cell service (yes, such places do still exist) and you have a flat tire? What do you do when the garbage disposal under your sink blows up and starts pouring water on your floor after midnight? Pay the exhorbitant fees to get a 24 hour plumber, or know how to shut off your own water can call the next day?

With as bad as everyone is saying the economy is right now, why would you want to pay someone else all that money to do a job that would take you a few hours? I don't know how bad the economy could really be when I still need to wait an hour to get into restaurants, but that's another story... Think of all the money that could be saved if you were able to do all of this work yourself. Yeah, it may take you a bit longer but the money saved can be put towards things that would be of more value.

Now, in many ways I blame parents for this situation. Many of my fondest memories of my childhood are working beside one parent or another doing something around the house. My father always had time to let me sit and “help” when he did an oil change or brake job or barbeque-ing or whatever the current project was. My mother and grandmother both tolerated me in the kitchen teaching me to cook and bake. I have been teased in the past because as a man, I know how to sew, knit, cook, bake, and do my own laundry, but I have been told that this is quite an attractive trait to many women of the opposite sex. Not one of the reasons I learned, but it never hurts! You know what, I can mend a tear in a pair of pants or a shirt or a sock and not have to spend the money to buy new. I can cook anything that I want without having to go out to get a meal. I can also do any work on my car that is needed, and I am able to do pretty much any work on the house that I want.

Finally, with the abundance of knowledge today and the ease of access to it with the Internet, if there is something that you don't know but are interested in learning, you can most likely find someone online who can teach you, or else they will point you to a resource that will get you started. Lack of knowledge and information is no longer a viable excuse.

Let me tell you, there are very few feelings in this world, than the true and right pride of being able to point to something and say “I did that”. The knowledge of looking at a problem or a project and knowing, not thinking, KNOWING that YOU CAN DO THAT. That is true self-respect and true self-worth.

Until next time, remember:
You can't succeed, until you try.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." -Red Green


HermitJim said...

Being the oldest of four kids and the only boy, I learned a lot of things from my parents that I still use today!

I love to learn new things, and out of necessity have learned many of the things you mentioned.

Each job completed builds confidence to tackle the next one.

Chris W said...

^5 Farmergeek!!!

I'm so glad that someone else feels like I do. Somewhere in an old post of mine is something I saw on the Craigslist forums. Basically, a guy had lumber but wanted someone to build him a raised bed. Ok....4 boards, maybe 4 cuts at the most, a few nails...yea, pathetic. I liked your referance to flat tires too. I spend a lot of time driving for work, and I can't begin to count the number of grown men I have seen sitting in their car waiting for AAA. I'd be embarrased.

Great post!

FarmerGeek said...

Jim, Chris, Thanks for the comments. Good to know others feel the same way.

I didn't get online much over the past few days and I actually forgot that I had this scheduled to post. LOL, oops. Oh well, thanks again!

yup yup, boggles the mind. I mean, just recently, the wife and I were on a road trip from H&LL and I was under the truck in the snow working on the brakes of my truck...

Goat Creek Grandma said...

I really enjoyed reading your 'Philosophy of work'. My husband was diagnosed with MS last April, so I am now trying my best to me more self-reliant. I have always appreciated the way of my grandparents doing things. I look forward to reading more.

FarmerGeek said...

GC Grandma,

Thank you for stopping by and reading. I'm sorry to hear about your husband, and I hope things work out. There are a lot of things that can be done to be more self-reliant without going all the way back to the "Little House on the Prairie" method.

I've learned a lot of skills through the years, but some of the ones the I will talk about are things I'm learning as I go as well.

Thanks again for stopping, and check back as there is more to come!

Ed the Pilgrim said...

Quando omni flunkus moritati

and keep your stick on the ice...