Crawford’s book, Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work
recounts Crawford’s journey from a six-figure job at a
The value of work reveals its true essence when one stops counting the hours. The human mind needs unstructured time to think, explore, plan, and create. No-one creates a masterpiece under pressure. Crawford also reminds us that humans think with their hands. We need to touch, experiment, try, and then try again in order to figure things out. We can’t solve a physical problem just by thinking about it.
Much of the corporate world operates on the opposite premise. Knowledge workers sit in cubicles completely disconnected from customers and decide what the customers want. Products are created and discontinued based on ideas passed around a conference table.
Crawford beams while sharing his brief and perfectly to-the-point elevator
speech: “I fix motorcycles.” He also wrote numerous articles and a book, gives
public appearances, and is a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in
Culture at the
When we can let go of the “time is money” adage and enjoy work for its own sake instead of its exchange for money, magical things happen. A few years ago, a small wooden table, painted black, was sitting by the curb of a friend’s house, waiting to be hauled away with the trash. I mentioned to my fiend that it would be a great table to refinish and promptly placed it in the back of my car. My friend smiled and said one of her other friends said the same thing, but then also said it wouldn’t be worth the time. I not only enjoyed the beautiful table after I completed the refinishing, but enjoyed the refinishing work itself.
Time should not limit our work or our enjoyment but rather be open space for us to fill with creativity and joy.