A lot of people get stuck working a job they hate, because they aren’t passionate about what they do, or are not driven to excel at their craft. Today we’re going to talk about what it means to be a craftsman and taking seriously the job that you do.
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WHAT IS CRAFTSMANSHIP?
Really craftsmanship boils down to giving a shit about what you do every day. Rather than just half-assing your job, craftsmanship is doing your best work and taking pride in what you do. A lot of people get into the habit of thinking “if nobody sees what I’m doing, nobody will know.” This is a dangerous attitude to have in the electrical industry because what we do can kill people. Sub-standard electrical work can cause fires that can burn a building, destroy a piece of equipment, and/or seriously injur or kill someone. You need to take this shit serious or find another job.
Even the National Electric Code mentions this briefly – NEC 2017 says in 110.12 under MECHANICAL EXECUTION OF WORK that electrical equipment must be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner. It doesn’t say a “craftsmanlike manner” but it does say workmanlike. A workman is simply someone who has a certain skills or tools in a specific area, so as an electrician we are workmen. This does mean that you have to be skilled, and doing half-assed work that you don’t care about is not workmanlike. It’s lazy and careless.
Being a craftsman really means going the extra mile to hone your skills. It means finding new ways to approach things, studying your craft, and taking great pride and care in what you do. Even if you know nobody will notice the work you’re doing, craftsmanship is doing it the right way because YOU will know about it. The funny thing is that when people get into the mentality that “nobody will ever know,” they’re wrong more times than not. Buildings are always getting remodeled, changed, equipment gets swapped out, and things go wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s in an attic, in a mechanical room, or above a grid ceiling – somebody is going to find the work you did. If you don’t care about that, then maybe you’re in the wrong line of business.
This may sound a little crass, but honestly, there are too many unskilled laborers out there calling themselves electricians and really fucking things up. If you’re going to enter this trade it’s time to either give a shit or go do something else. I get it, we’ve all been in situations when time was of the essence, and we needed to just get things done. There is a line to draw though, this does not excuse you to do hack work. It just means pick up the pace. Shit work, and quick work are not equal. Do your best work every day my dudes, peoples’ lives depend on it.