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This weekend, I spent two long 10 hour days with my father in law to build his deck in Connecticut.  This involved measuring, cutting wood, framing sections, and using a variety of different tools to accomplish the goal.  While I am nursing a semi-severe sunburn on the back of my neck and a sore back, there was an immense satisfaction in working, sweating, getting dirty, persevering through the difficult moments, developing workarounds, and then seeing the fruits of your labor.

My father in law and I are not professional contractors.  He is a very seasoned leader in the banking industry that is nearing his retirement.  I am a white collar professional who is advancing in his career and getting closer to my end goal.  If there were two guys who would not be working in the 90 degree heat and grime, it would be us.  However, we have a very similar mindset regarding the importance of knowing how to do things for yourself.

Recently, I have also taken on a variety of projects at home which challenged me.  These included doing metal/body repair on a work truck (including reinforcement of inner rocker panels), doing a full tune up and improving the truck’s air flow system, fixing a plumbing leakage issue, and fully repairing weather-stripping on a front door.  I am proud to say I have successfully completed all of these jobs and enjoyed a well deserved scotch on the rocks afterwards.

In the course of performing these jobs, I have also become more sustainable.  No matter how high you climb the career ladder, the ability to do things for yourself can help you from a professional development standpoint.  Benefits I have experienced are as follows:

  • Doing this work keeps you grounded and in touch with your roots.
  • As you encounter challenges with this type of work, you will go out of your comfort zone and develop flexibility and resiliency.
  • Improved solution development skills.  If you make a mistake, you figure out how to repair it and save the job.
  • Enhancement of your logic and critical thinking skills.
  • A good workout!  This type of work, especially in the heat, can burn the calories.
  • Ultimately saving money, which can go towards savings, investments, vacations, or whatever you want as opposed to paying for someone a premium for their labor.

To my father in law, I greatly appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me and nurturing an understanding of the importance of sustainability.  These life lessons will be passed to your grandsons.  Happy Father’s Day!

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