There’s a refrain in a Timbuk 3 song that ends, “Just another jerk, taking pride in his work.” It’s a pretty dismal song, but I’ve been thinking about that line since my trip to the Plumbers Union. (Oh, yes, getting three posts out of that one visit!).
I can’t get away from the training center just yet. I have more photos to share! And that song lyric needs some hashing out.
I’m always struck by people who take clear pride in what they do. I think of wait staff for who excellent service is an art form, the croissant maker I watched weighing his dough to ensure a consistent standard, the man who made the bracelet I’m wearing in the photo from yesterday’s post who carefully fits each bracelet before making the sale … And so many more.
And I realize I think of pride in your work as being connected to physical work. I have certainly felt pride in work I’ve done, I’ve just never really articulated that, made any real acknowledgement of that. I think about it now because pride was palpable at the training center — those displays the apprentices made were a good illustration of that. And then there was this:
I love that. Yes, sure, it’s over the top … and, too, “the nation” is clearly not this one, as there are no folks of color in this poster, but still. I know this is old propaganda, but the sentiment is still there. When we talked to some of the apprentices, this was actually the reason one gave for why he’d decided to sign up for the program. It’s a different kind of focus on pride than what I’m conscious of feeling about the work I’ve done in my career.
The entrance of the training center is graced with a beautiful mosaic that also speaks of taking pride in your work. It’s too huge to capture in one photo, but I took a few detail shots:
“Benevolence,” “Protection,” “Fidelity” … the one I didn’t capture was “Education.” Talk about pride. Aside from the beauty of this mosaic, I found this pretty moving.
The “tangibleness” of this feeling really struck me the whole time I was at the training center. From the apprentices. From their instructors. From the care taken in the creation, decoration, and upkeep of the facility. And I still think that’s connected to the physical nature of the work. I certainly feel it when I do physical work — block a knitted lace shawl, complete an intricate piece of beadwork, draw a complicated panel for my comic, organize my home. I haven’t sorted this out yet. There’s definitely something here that has to do with physicality. But why?
How does pride in your work manifest for you? What does it feel like? If work isn’t a source of pride for you, what does give you that feeling?
It’s the Slice of Life Story Challenge! Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see what the rest of the slicers are up to … and to post the link to your own slice!