Evaluating success or how we perceive manual work

As the gap between the rich and poor gains its increased distance and separation, I am amazed that new-genre woodworking (and other true crafts too, and that does not include the potpourri foo-foo crafts) seems to see reduced disparity between what might have at one time been seen as blue- and white-collar workers. Engineers, plumber and doctors or accounting specialists all share both the common interest of working wood and the ethos of handwork as therapy in a culture disdaining manual craft work. They recongnize not only the value of producing fine and quality work that lasts and looks good, but the sense of wellbeing they derive in the doing of it that find lacking in their everyday work, despite the fact that they see that work as important.


I am glad to see these barriers between work classes removed in the workshop and men sharing a common value as their hands help one another and their minds combine to resolve problems in the wood and tools they work with. This was common in the workplace where I served my apprenticeship. I was working class, but I didn’t know it until I worked in the homes of the more rich and well-off. Now it is of little consequence for my work enriches me beyond finance.


In the local high school I read a notice warning children of the consequences of not attending scholl regularly: Truancy. Here  is the notice:

1 day off a month = 2 weeks missed school per year

17 days off school = 1 grade lower at GCSE

Average earings:

0 qualifications=£7.99 per hour

GCSEs = £9.02 per hour

‘A’ Levels = $10.25 per hour

Graduate degree = £15.01 per hour



Your PARENTS could get a fine if you do not attend school regulalrly

And the police will take you back to school if you are caught



I would that any of the statistics quoted were true. A grad waiting on tables gets the same as a non-grad, no qualifications waiter gets. So too shelf fillers in supermarkets. Of course I understand the core message, but what of the subliminal messages inherent therein. Success is always based on the hourly rate of pay. Everyone bases their success on the salary amount they are offered as compensation for selling themselves to the highest bidder in the job place. What happened to vocational calling, job satisfaction, contentment at work. Why do ALL job applications ask the question or expect the answer that you are a “team worker”. Funny really, every job application I see opens up with how much they are team players. You must check that box before you move on the questions. Everyone is a team player yet when you meet and work with them they are often highly protective of their turf, self-gratifying and self-concerned. Actually you quickly find out that their being a team player is rarely the case nor their objective in the same way soccer players are rarely team players but simply members of a team who’s sole objective is to win. People like being on their own for many reasons. Even in assembly lines, the propagator of de-teaming by fragmenting families into industrial units, workers are expected to be team players even though they are never a part of an actual team.

Surely we can look back in history and see the disparities and the failures. The manipulations of those non-productive politarian  non-workers who for no apparent reason make decisions affecting generations of working families, people, educationalists and health care providers. So too those landed wealthy with their peasant workforce. Corrupted decision makers are controlled only by the proletariat and not the moral fibre and honesty of ‘team players’, which should be the basis for any relationship.