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Work vs Work

July 29, 2021

I’m planning to help my son-in-law do some electrical work tomorrow. He’s a Journeyman Electrician. I have a lot of IT certifications, but nothing when it comes to the trades. I’ll be the apprentice. But, I’m not even officially an apprentice. You have to qualify as an apprentice. I’m not qualified. Basically, I’m a glorified gopher.

I’m not sure my SIL needs any help. I’ve done projects with him on our house and it’s clear he’s very good at what he does. But, regardless of whether he really needs my help or not, he called and invited me.

So, I’m going!

Saturday I’m going to replace the camshaft position sensor on a friend’s 2015 Chevy Captiva. I haven’t replaced one before but YouTube makes it look pretty straight forward. Earlier this this week I checked another neighbor’s brakes. She asked me to replace the brake pads and check the rotors.

I got the wheel off, removed the brake housing and realized that the brake pads were almost new. The rotors looked good too.

I don’t need to replace your brakes. Why did you think the brakes were bad?

Just shaking a little when I slow down. Maybe I’m just nervous.

Well, if it gets worse or if it starts to pull to one side when you stop, let me know.

I do need to replace a broken wheel stud. It won’t take a lot of work.

I’m currently “out of work.” But, I’m not out of work. I’m actively interviewing with a couple different companies and will likely have offers and make a decision next week. At that point I’ll be back working.

But, I’ve been working. I enjoy physical work. My career does not require physical work. I’ve worked on cars, play sets, furniture, yard work (my least favorite.) Normally, I refuse to let anyone pay me for helping them with physical work. But, being out of work, I’ve taken work where I could find it. And occasionally I get paid for working. . .while I’m out of work.

A few years ago, I had a neighbor who was very non-physical worky. He was a brilliant musician, but didn’t own a screwdriver. He had me come work on projects at his house. And he insisted on paying me.

Rodney, have you considered doing handyman work, full time?

Of course, I’d considered it. And rejected it.

Well, Chris, they pay me REALLY well to work on computers.

And that’s one of the great injustices. I’m not even skilled enough to do the work my son-in-law does, but I get paid a lot more than even a Master Electrician. Work isn’t work. Work is defined partly by the person doing it. When it comes to electrical wiring, his work is much different than mine and more valuable. Computer work is much more valuable than electrical work.

And paid work is much different than volunteer work. Career work, while enjoyable is something I do because I have to. Volunteer work, even if I’m paid for it, I do because I want to.

Until I go back to work, I’ll enjoy the opportunities to help my neighbors. . .by working.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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