Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Underrated Profession

One thing which is becoming more and more obvious to me is how underrated tradesmen are. Now, I'm not saying that they're all geniuses. Nor are they all good people. In fact most of them are thick, racist and strange - but mostly, kind-hearted. A weird mix? I know, trust me.
I started working for a construction/demolition company earlier this year and I got to know some of the guys on the job site. Mostly, in terms of 'physics' and job-orientated sciences, etc. they're all quite smart and really on intense ingenuity to make their jobs work. Now, I consider myself a privileged and highly educated person with at least average problem solving ability, but where I fall short by doing a task in a manner in which I ascertain as reasonable or intelligent, they will certainly find a fashion which is more effective, and at least twice as fast, "Why put in more effort than you have to?" is a common phrasing. Now, this may sound like the mediocre mass speaking, but realize that these people work for eight and a half hours a day doing physical labour - starting anywhere from 6 to 7 a.m. and going from anywhere between 3 and 6 p.m.
Also, it seems that these people - people that average, office-worker types consider debase, dirty and would hardly give them a sideways glance - are some of the kindest and most generous people I've met. They share food, money and advice. Most of them just want to be listened to. So I listen, and they talk. A change for me. They love, cry, lose and hate just like the rest of us, but maybe lack the poetic discourse that we so highly value in our society. They have worthwhile opinions on things, even though I may not agree with them all and generally consider some to be extreme, they are still eligible to be listened to.
It's also not like all of these people dreamed of becoming "tradies". They have their own ideas. Cops, singers, architects - they just lack the means, the money, but not necessarily the ambition. I've also had a weird experience working as a tradie. After eight and a half hours of hard work, sweating, cut, bruised, I walk home in the heat wearing my plaster, paint and grease covered t-shirt and jeans. As I do, I pass by some beautiful girls and, like a man, I check them out. As I pass, though, I feel what can only be described as "bad". Not because I looked, but because I realize that most of these girls wouldn't give me the time of day because of the clothes I'm wearing - to them, I'm a dumb tradie, not the semi-intellectual university student with artistic ambitions my friends know me as. It's a bad feeling.


  1. For reference: "Why put in more effort than you have to?" is the fundamental premise of engineering.

  2. I think you underestimate women. Not all girls wouldn't look at someone because they're a tradie... in fact, some wouldn't look if they thought you were a semi-intellectual uni student because, frankly, it most often denotes pretention. So don't feel bad! :-P