The Tradesman


I watched an interesting documentary through iTunes the other day titled The Tradesman. The movie – filmed and produced in America – explained quite simply how the number of trades people in the US are in the decline because more and more Americans want less physically demanding jobs and alternatively they want work which involves computers such as programming and designing games. In a lot of cases a trade is seen as the sad alternative route you take whilst you wait for your dream job (in computers perhaps?) to come along.

Since I haven’t researched this viewpoint myself I cant really comment on if its true or not however I can say I’ve always had a hunch that at least one American viewed the trades person job as the least most desirable job to do. My first clue was when this American, I once had the displeasure to know, bluntly asked me why I would want a blue collar job when I expressed an interest in pursuing an apprenticeship some years ago. My second clue was having my blue collar “close to but not really” job spat at me in disgust when I told the American to get the hell out of my life.

Oh such venom in those words yet that implied insult was actually quite flattering to me. Me? A tradesperson? Hardly – yet, I wish.

See In Australia there is nothing at all sad about being a tradesperson. In this country of mine a tradesperson (Australian qualified) is seen as a valuable asset and a worthy skill to have especially during a resource boom. Currently they command some of the highest wages due to the shortage of skilled workers and its encouraged in our schools to get a trade even if the student decides to pursue a different career path. It’s often implied that if you have a trade you will always have a job to go to and I would have to agree.

I was raised in a home of a tradesperson and even during job shortages my family always had food on our table and a roof over our heads. After all we (humans) don’t build everything to last forever so tradespeople are needed eventually to do the specialised work.

If anything Australian tradespeople view those with jobs that don’t require them to get their hands dirty as not real work. Of course they realise you need the people with their fancy degrees and what not to keep the world turning but those people don’t get a tradesperson respect. If they see someone do a hard days of physical work they are more worthy of their eyes then those who shuffle paperwork all day.

How do you feel about people with a trade? Do you respect what they do? Or do you view these jobs as a necessary evil and something you would never do yourself?