I was wondering why so many resolutions fail.
Before you stop reading. No, this has nothing to do with the new year, not with smoking cessation or reducing weight. No, I'm talking about changing careers, changing profession. Not something you ponder over every new year, but just once or twice in your lifetime.
It seems a trendy topic in the newspapers, "hip" if you like; a banker becomes a carpenter, a lawyer opens a restaurant, a doctor is suddenly a bicycle-repairman We're talking here about professionals, with an high level of education and training, having worked for years with full dedication, in order to build a successful career. Overnight, they want to work with “their hands", achieve tangible results, create a product, satisfy people instantly with something beautiful, something tasty perhaps. Avid cyclists found that tinkering with their bike is more fun than running a daily clinic. Cooking for friends is so satisfying, why not ask money for this? And what gives more joy every day, then the smell of wood in the workplace?
This work, like in a craft, seems so attractive to some highly educated people that they want to change their careers. They have the money to organize the workshop or to buy a professional kitchen. Marketing of their products seems assured because they have a network of like-minded friends, their first customers. The "startup" for the first year is covered ..........
But that "craft"
"Craft is the hand-making of products and goods. Unlike industrial production handicraft products are each made with equipment or with hand tools. No object is exactly the same, each is unique"
Works by hand are time-consuming and costly, because they are each made individually. Since the seventeenth century there were associations of craftsmen and artisans. In those guilds new students were also trained. You learned your craft thoroughly by years of practising, eventually by acquiring the title "master". Nowadays, most crafts are taught in vocational schools, in which perhaps only two years are spent on gathering skills. Real practice stays at a distance. The craft is certainly not as attractive anymore for the 17/18-year-old, because of the required physical labour, relatively low pay and the low status of most “crafts”. The need for the craft disappears because of new and faster techniques, with the consequence that some products are no longer available or can’t be produced anymore. So the "masters" are dying out and if necessary we have to import them from abroad.
As we draw attention to seemingly self-evident products in the old built environment, as a stained glass window, a carved door, the ornate stucco ceiling or wrought iron, anyone finds these beautiful. Yet these "attractive" building products are disappearing very quickly from the everyday image and are only preserved in the restoration projects of buildings from previous centuries. These products seem forever lost for new architecture.
Many of these building components and products are unknown to and therefore unloved by the present-day architect, too expensive for the client and no longer available for the contractor.
These products and more important, the skills needed to make them, are also not "hip" enough for the new craftsman. It's not something he wants to learn by years of practising and he can't sell the products instantly to his friends. The craft is for them a full-time hobby. but will stay an occupation of which they keep dreaming of .......