The Customer Has to Want It
I’ve recently changed construction companies, for my day job, and my new boss is very interested in continuing education. Not surprisingly, given that information, he comes from a business executive background, rather than having progressed along a sort of tradesman-up route to management.
I offer that information by way of explaining why I’m sitting in a tent in the parking lot of JT’s Lumber in Middletown watching presentations by carpenter Gary Katz. (No relation, but I saw on the registration list that there’s also a Jeff Katz in attendance, meaning that there are three unrelated Katzes in this group of about 30 people. 10%. We’re taking over.
The thought that demanded my lunch break to mention on Anchor Rising is that Gary is going over all sorts of “must do” techniques to ensure the longevity of materials and arguing for the purchase of good, long-lasting tools (read: expensive tools). The two points have a related problem: Contractors have to either find the right clients or sell the extra expense for doing work the right way, and even so, they have to compete with others who don’t take the necessary steps or say that they do.
Turning to the question of expensive tools, I can sympathize with the penny-pinching clients. I’ve done just fine with my midrange tools and lack the money to buy tools just because they’d be marginally easier to use or last me into my eighties. Having begun in the high-end of the carpentry trade, I found it difficult to adjust when, for side jobs, I had clients who didn’t want to pay for the deluxe treatment, even though I felt like a hack for doing less.
Which brings us back to the conversation in the comment section of my post about employee motivation. Therein, Russ points out that most people aren’t motivated by money so much as a desire for autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I’ve no doubt that true professionals in all fields seek after those rewards, but in a real sense, they have to be purchased. Mastery is wonderful, but one must find the resources to support it, and until they hit a livable income threshold, it’s a trade that I wouldn’t expect most people to make.