Feeding the AwePosted: July 29, 2012
When I was about 10 years old, I played in the newly constructed houses in our neighborhood. It was a magical time when I could walk through walls and imagine how each house would evolve. The most magical afternoons were the times I found “coins” like these:
Depending on the afternoon, these could be magical wishing coins, powerful healing tokens given to an imaginary sorceress, or the means to be ridiculously rich.
Now, as an apprentice electrician, I make my own new currency each and every time I install a light box or a junction box. Most adults working in the trade see these coins as trash. The more evolved adults might consider them metal waste.
I confess there are times when keeping my work area clean means all the newly formed “currency” goes into my pocket and I can’t help but smile to myself. So far, I have not been caught admiring my new found wealth. Given the people I’ve worked with so far, I think they would understand deep down – even if they crack jokes about it or give the blank face followed by rolled eyes. In my opinion, you won’t survive long if you don’t enjoy doing this work. For me, moments of satisfaction and internal celebration happen in a wide spectrum. Some days, all it takes is a pocket full of magic coins and a properly positioned ladder. Other days, it’s the wiring that worked properly or the pipe that was shaped and installed correctly.
I’m seeing that others have strongly preconceived notions of what it means to be an electrician. Some people recoil because blue collar work surprises them. Some people are confused because I don’t “look like a construction worker.” Ultimately, I am thrilled to be paid the same wage as my male counterparts. It’s a living wage tied to a career in which I am using my physical strength along with brain power. I will always be learning something in this field. And if, from time to time, my imagination is reawakened, then I take this as a very good sign.