The Style section of the New York Times talks about the trend? movement? three friends of the reporter? towards rejecting desk-work and embracing handiwork.
THE tarnishing of Wall Street and the breakout success of “Shop Class
as Soulcraft” by Matthew B. Crawford, the Ph.D. who left academia to
become a motorcycle repairman, are probably no coincidence.
As corporate America has shed millions of jobs, Mr. Crawford’s philosophical
musings on the spirit-restoring value of working with his hands touched
a big nerve, quickly becoming a national best seller and generating
I liked Crawford's book. He does a great job of finding that middle ground between popular non-fiction and academic work. He talks about Aristotle's belief that workers should not be citizens alongside a description of the thrill of fixing motorcycles. Sure, he glamorizes blue collar work and fails to mention the female equivalent of blue collar work – housewifery. But I dare you not to get carried away by his intoxication with his work.
This may be more than a typical style section article, which bases its findings on three people that the reporter knows. A couple of years ago, Steve's cousin quit his job at a big shot at Merck and started up his own electrician business.The guy who fixed our roof used to work on Wall Street.
Crawford's book also hits me at the right time. When the kids go back to school next week, I'm going to start working at home, instead of teaching. It will be brain/desk work part of the time. The rest of the time will be spent doing home repair and watching the kids.
I've also returned to fixing up our old house. I started refinishing the trim upstairs. I've had to put the job on hold, because things got too crazy around here. In September, I'll finish.
As my friends update their status with tales of syllabus-writing, I thought I would be more jealous. I'm not.