Sometime after the 2008 collapse, there was a deluge of self-promoters cropping up on the internet to offer alternatives to the stereotypical ideals defended by liberal arts proponents. Initially medical services were trumpeted as the obvious route in a world where aging populations and frequent viral scares gripped the public consciousness. For whatever reason, the white coat phenomenon found itself hotly pursued by brazen cries of “Do STEM!” or, almost as equally , “Go into trades!”
Nothing is essentially wrong with the latter suggestion. Trade fields could provide stable work and competitive benefits when clashed with the dreary wage-slaving that was post-2009 America, at least until COVID relief payments changed the game. There is also a value inherent to mastering some skill which can then be applied in one’s own life to save money. As an organism who has spent a good bit on fixing my house up, I can confirm this dynamic. Paying for a lack of knowledge is rarely cheap.
The real issue visible in these groups of macho, “work with your hands” types is different: they typically lack even the basic modicum of professionalism and respect. Though I am often browbeaten by online ragelings upon pointing out the reality, it is one that countless others I have spoken to express frustration over. Despite being the supposed paragons of All-American self-reliance, the creatures operating construction companies and the like rarely seem to care who calls them, what has previously been committed to, or indeed how much money is already on the line. It’s all about their time and fancies.
I began to notice this conundrum starting last summer. A chimney company called for work twice promised to be there, only to never give a ring or show. Later on I received a passive-aggressive message claiming the fellow had an emergency and could still do the job. No thanks. Another contractor took a fat deposit before delaying the work for months with evasiveness and excuses. When confronted on the matter, he became defensive and tried to insult one of my female relatives who had earlier had work done by his firm. Unsurprisingly, the final quality was subpar.
Three well-drilling companies so far have proven similarly useless, incapable of keeping to deadlines and actually condescending if they don’t want to admit that the job is beyond their willpower. In the case of one roofer, he actually provided a quote and then ghosted me, while the current one simply takes his time. I suppose a reader could chalk it up to my personality being toxic or unruly, but the truth is, I’m relatively straightforward: do the work on time, and get paid immediately. Financing be damned. But still the pattern exists.
Popular trade shills are bound to respond with the justification that these guys have too much work and can’t be bothered. Alright, but all one needs at the mom-and-pop level is a piece of paper with names, addresses, and project types. No soul is demanding a full-fledged secretary outsourced to the Bay of Bengal. Be thorough, for sure, but try to get back within a few days at the latest, and not weeks in the future, if ever.
End of soapbox screech. If you plan to be in the blue collar field, work on your tradeside manners.