Doing Dirt Work Better

“When the point of education becomes the production of credentials rather than the cultivation of knowledge, it forfeits the motive recognized by Aristotle: "All human beings by nature desire to know.” 

― Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Matthew B. Crawford's book Shop Class as Soulcraft speaks to the "manual of competence," the ability to work with ones hands. I was lucky to attend a workshop a few years back when he spoke at a local vocational school. I was a bit taken back by his candor in speaking about higher education. After earning his PhD. in Political philosophy from the University of Chisago he became disillusioned with the corporate world. He quit his high paying job, moves away from the "Rat Race," and opened a motorcycle repair shop in the rural south.

One of the things that stayed with me was the discussion of pride in doing a job well done.

Yesterday, I had the great fortune of seeing first hand how a group of dirt workers came together with laughter, pride and respect for each other to collaboratively set down the foundation for a new business.

In this company there is no corporate hierarchy, the guy that does the "doozer" also shovels. The "shoveler" drives the "loader" and the foreman can be seen doing menial task, what ever needs to be done gets done by everyone. With calloused hands and dripping sweat, these guys never stopped until the need was completed. After a short water break they moved on to another thing that needed to be completed.

As the photographer, I went from area to area seeking a specific shot to tell the story of this unique and forward thinking company. They believe in the philosophy of collaborative role modeling. Everybody is schooled in "all" jobs and by doing so "all" jobs get done.

If there is such a thing as fun in the work, these folks have fun. Thank you DW Companies for the opportunity to observes a company that believes in its employees and in turn they believe in the company.