Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pass the Torch?

Metal Work during the Middle Ages used to be a Secret Society and you could be put to death for teaching the wrong person the trade.  Keep it mysterious and secret and you can get more money for it!  It was a Guild Trade with long apprentices and high expectations.  I have been searching for an appropriate student to take over what I have started for at least the past five years.  You would think this would be simple, yet there is so much more to it than "just welding".
I can teach anyone to  weld in about five minutes.  It is mostly about losing fear and not being afraid to get dirty.  Like any trade, practice makes perfect.  When I started welding about 26 years ago I brought to this trade 20 years experience in the Construction Industry and a lifetime "eye for art".
My competition were, perhaps, better welders, but they were trailer builders and had, maybe 2 or 3 set designs for fencing and gates.  Frankly none of them very good.  I brought my designs and creations to the local Home and Garden Show for 25 years without missing one and could get $50,000 worth of work from a single Show and I did this twice a year.   You would think I would have people standing in line to take over what I started!
I never wanted to Sell this business.  In reality, without me, it is just a welder in a shop.  I wanted to give it away, but give it away to someone who would take it.  That takes someone willing to put up with the "wax on, wax off" kind of experience!  It is not just welding and fabrication I have to teach but art appreciation and the satisfaction of a "job well done".  Passion, and the constant desire to do the next job better!  This should be true with every job, with Life, and whatever we do.  It should be incorporated into who we are.  Yet, it is almost impossible to find!   I have taught over a dozen people to weld.  I can't teach Passion!   You want to be a good welder?  Study Art!  Spend hours pouring over abstract paintings.  Reconnect synopses.   Dream.
    My latest and maybe last apprentice I found on Craigslist about a year and a half ago.  I had some cleanup and construction around my house and needed help and he offered to work for $10 per hour.
I told him I couldn't pay anyone less than $12 so we got off to a good start.  Most workers, even good ones do what they are told and minimize the task, doing nothing more, reaching no hire than expected.  Carlos always does much more.  When confronted with an unexpected situation he will research the issue and tell me what he discovered on YouTube the next morning.  To improve a job he will put in his own time.  I know lots of people who won't do this and Carlos does it every evening!
As the construction progressed and came to a close I offered to teach him to weld.  Without pay.
Carlos is a fast learner and that lasted less than a week.  He would weld on scraps, learn a bit on fabrication and study on the Internet in  the evenings. Always better the next day.
A year and  half later he can make $2,000 in a week!!!  I think I have found some one.
 Nice measurements, great fabrication, perfect fit and strong enough to tie a horse to!

No comments: