Sunday, October 29, 2006

Calloused Clarity

I love my job. It's creative, interesting, challenging and I firmly believe I am doing good in the world. This is satisfying.

What my job lacks is reality. I create applications, web pages and maps. Most of the time I simply move ones and zeros around all day. Even a beautiful map, a work of art I might argue, is only paper.

It is not tangible like the patios, walks and stairs I used to build out of natural stone to pay the bills in grad school. It is far more gratifying to finish sweeping sand between the cracks on a patio, take a seat, and enjoy the beauty you've created. Stone is tangible. The feel of a perfect break as you cleave a rock in two. The joy and aggravation of piecing together the puzzle of sandstone into a beautiful, functional surface.

This is why I enjoy owning a house. It gives me a chance to actually accomplish something. When pipes break and flood part of your house it is not a joy. But even with the frustrations the work is tangible and worthwhile.

When I first moved into my house the floor joists in the kitchen had warped from a hot tub the previous residents had placed in the adjoining bathroom without proper support. There was a bow in the center of the kitchen that dropped nearly 3" by the time it found the far wall. I ripped the entire floor up down to the joists, patched in new joists, redid the subfloor and finished it off with a Pergo knockoff and new cabinets. Every time I walk into the kitchen is gratifying.

This is what my job lacks. And even though I've decided now is a good time to sell, and probably renting would better match my goals, I'll miss the joy of building a wall, planting a tree, the heft of a stone in my calloused hands.


Anonymous said...

Hi. If you decide to rent and stick with your current job, please feel free to "stop by" my place to help with our landscaping and assorted projects to get a sense of accomplishment. We had our big tree trimmed yesterday and I discovered that climbing trees with chainsaw in hand is not my strength and so we had to hire someone.

YukonMapper said...

I bumped into your Blog after Googling ArcGIS technical info. I'm a GIS guy with the Yukon Department of Environment, so your material piqued my curiosity
& I poked around for a bit.

I don't usually leave comments on blogs, however, seeing as you are as painfully aware as I am of the virtual nature of our work, I thought I'd offer the following...

Your quote:

"Most of the time I simply move ones and zeros around all day".'s my oft-repeated version of the same lament:

"I alter the magnetic characteristics of a spinning disk in another room".

Cheers, from The Yukon.