I wrote this post in 2006, Joe had his last day at the shop today.
I feel lucky to be marrying someone who loves their job. Joe has worked at “the shop” building a certifiable stairway to paradise for over 5 years now. I have to keep reminding myself of this to quell my anger and sadness when he works. He works a lot and seems to be on call like a physician, but I know he enjoys mostly every minute of it. When I visit his work place I am reminded of the energy it holds and why Creative Engineering is like a drug addiction, not physically good for you, everyone is telling you to stop, but in his mind and devoted heart, it makes him glow with life.
When Joe talks about his work to others, his eyes shine as he churns out more exacting detail than even the most fastidious client would ever care to hear. People nod, but I know he has lost them in the 45 degree angle, and all thats left for them to focus on is his refulgent enthusiasm that they are desperately hoping is contagious.
In the shop testosterone fuels a smattering of suspicion and mistrust, but blaring classic rock, clouds of sawdust and a childlike anticipation of lunchtime unites them. A reluctant camaraderie embraces its members who are striving young men that enter through a revolving door from virtually all walks of life. Sometimes they are looking for the shop to save them, from themselves and from the uncertainty that life has dealt them.
It is 10000 square feet of colors, textures, woods, metals, glue, nails, whining power tools, sweat, calluses and foolish stubborn dedication to a cause they pretend to have little respect for in the end.
Decisions have to be made that disappear into the complete piece. How do we match this color, how do we achieve this texture or shape?
And while it is not always comforting to think of engineering getting too creative, as the name suggests, they do good solid proud work at the shop. Most of their work probably goes unnoticed, like most things. But it is in the process of construction where the true ingenuity lies.