Yesterday’s post was a strange one. Writing about my job, and the troubles inherent with it isn’t something I do often. I have been distantly wondering for the last day why I wrote it at all. Reading it only reminds me of the very first line in that post, and I begin to feel the irony, that maybe I am a big whiner, too.
Then I struggle to write this post, because I feel as though I am trying to justify my harsh words towards an industry that feeds me. But I also feel like I can’t write enough, to explain to you, and in necessity, to myself, why I am so troubled by the practices of my profession. There lies the truth; I need to know why I am troubled by what I see and experience.
I don’t know yet, but I know how it makes me feel. The cheating and lying makes my stomach turn as if I am anxious or nervous. I feel as though I am being screamed at, embarrassed in front of a large crowd, and there is nowhere to hide. I feel angry and helpless to change it. I feel saddened, yet unwilling to admit that I pity these fellows because who am I to pity anyone?
I see these craftsmen working day after day, practicing their trade at the direction of their manager, who is off somewhere driving in his four-wheel-drive-dually pick-up truck, chatting in a friendly way with another owner who has not yet decided to hire this fellow. I have spoken with this manager and many like him, more often than not because this fellow has directed his craftsmen to ignore the terms of the contract in hopes of making more money. You can imagine how those conversations go.
I dread them. I dread knowing what I know, and having to do something about it. I dread calling someone on a shortcoming, forcing them to reply from a standpoint of weakness. For what other can it be than weakness, when a contract you have signed clearly states the work to be done, and you refuse to do it? And so I meet them, me, this man who just wants to be a carpenter and for some reason has become the owner’s representative.
It makes my soul cry, that’s what it does. To see an industry I enjoy, even love, fall further and further into dishonor is like sticking a dagger into my spirit. I see the big houses, the new trucks, the fancy cell phones and all the gadgets they carry as their current badge of honor. They see it, too. This is what makes someone successful, to have things, and the bigger these things are, the more successful you are considered.
It is death to my soul to watch them saunter through a jobsite, attempting to avoid getting dust on their immaculate clothes because they have long ago forgotten that jobsites are dirty. They are very important men, and everyone knows it. Then they meet me, full of dust and grime, walking towards them softly, carrying a copy of their contract in my hands.
From here, from my perspective, there is no place for them to run, because once their own words are read back to them, they no longer have a chance to feint this way or that, in hopes of wiggling out of their promise. And that is what kills my soul.
They know what they have promised. I don’t need to read their own words back to them, but necessity is fickle when the new words leaving their lips are nothing like the words they signed their names to.
“Since when is an owner responsible to pay for a new door that doesn’t work, never worked, and won’t fix itself?” I ask the man in the cashmere overcoat.
And my soul sinks a little further.
Forgiveness? It isn’t my right to financially forgive this fellow of anything, I don’t have the authority to do that.
But there is one thing that I can do for the fellow. It is my only hope in this situation. I walk away from work that day, and I ask Dad to help me separate this man from his dishonor, so that I may see him as a person, and not as a thief. It is the only balm I have for a chapped heart, and someday, my Father in heaven will no longer have to watch me dance this way every day. Someday, this will all make sense, and my heart will be free of all the things of this world. Someday, though that day is not today, I won’t feel so bad when I remember that I used to enjoy doing this to people.