Whether your goal is to be a seasoned carpenter, a mechanic painter, an adept plumber or a master electrician, we all want to be better craftsman. Many of us are very eager to learn more skills, to advance either as independent contractors or within a company and pass this knowledge down to our juniors. Although this may sound easy, it takes a certain kind or personality to become a better craftsman.
Let us first dispel the myth that a skilled trade can be learned overnight. It takes years of practice and devotion to call oneself a master craftsman, and there are always new things to be learned. Many often fail in the trades business because they essentially place too much pressure upon themselves. When they do not immediately succeed, they become discouraged and seek life elsewhere. Ask any reputable tradesman and he or she will firmly state that improvement takes a great deal of time.
We have probably all experienced arriving to a job site only to find out we will be paired with that arrogant coworker who thinks he knows everything there is to know. Humility can go a long way in the trades industry. Being humble allows us to be open to criticism and differing opinions. This directly correlates to us learning new skills. Someone who is stubborn and close-minded not only makes the work day seem to last forever, but he or she will likely receive little constructive advice or room for advancement.
The Tools of the Trade
Notwithstanding these important personality traits, never forget that we are only as skilled as the tools we use. In fact, if we have been in our industry long enough we can easily tell when a shoddy job was completed using unsatisfactory equipment. A craftsman’s tools are an investment. Just as a quality carpenter would never use inferior wood on a high-end job, he would not use inferior tools and expect that job to be perfectly executed. Spend a bit of extra money on quality tools and this effort will be reflected in the end result.
There are many out there who feel unsuccessful simply because they do not enjoy their work. Bring humour to the workplace when appropriate. Endeavour to get along well with other coworkers and establish real friendships when possible. This and the previously mentioned advice can help you feel more rewarded in your efforts and lead you down the enviable path to becoming a better craftsman.