What Work Ethic?

I run a crew of guys.  

Umm… let me rephrase that, I supervise a bunch of knuckleheads.

We’re presently building a boardwalk.  You can see a video of it at the bottom of this post.


What ever happened to the guys who took pride in their work?  The type of men who went home at the end of the day, took a hot shower, and then sat down around the table with their family proud of what they’d accomplished.

Men who, when the project was finished, took their family on a trip to see it.  Proud.  Proud of what they’d built.

Where are they?  Do they still exist?

…and before someone busts my chops about using the illustration of a “traditional family” allow me to clarify…

I don’t care if it’s a woman coming home to her wife who hates kids and men, and then ordering Chinese take-out…as long as she worked that day.  Put her all in.  Made some progress.  Took pride in her work.

Lets talk culture, very specifically the sub-culture of American life which is the construction trades.

I’ve been in construction now 20 years. To say the work ethic of those in the industry has declined is to ridiculously understate it.  

A select few on my crew fit that mold.  The rest?  They are just there for a check… ask ’em, they’ll tell ya.

What happened?  I really want to know?

When did being skilled at building stuff, fixing stuff, beautifying the landscape, providing infrastructure, become something only for those who can’t get any other job?

I can tell you 20 years ago, at least where I got my start, it wasn’t like this.  When I got my start you either carried your weight or you hit the road.  Period.  

When you were given a task you completed it.  Efficiently.  And then you had a plan for what task you were addressing next because you thought ahead.  If the boss stopped you and had something else he wanted you to do, you did it instead, no hesitation.  Why?  Because you understood both the authority structure and his responsibility.  You knew he probably had good reason to direct you elsewhere… That’s why he was the boss.

Where are these people?  Where are the young people willing to learn a trade, and thus, have a career they can take nearly anywhere on the globe they want to go?

If you find them send them my way…  because I’m having a hell of a time finding them.

Was this a rant or a blog post?



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