Why I love my trade


[caption id="attachment_3038" align="alignleft" width="855"]Stone arch Me working on a stone arch at Le Mazel in the Ardeche[/caption]

Stonemasonry was an accidental career choice but one I have never regretted. When I started off in the building trade I was living in the South of France, in a little hamlet in the Ardeche.

I was 25 years old, and a professional artist. I'm proud to be able to use the word 'professional' because I did earn a living selling my work... up to the point when I landed in the middle of nowhere in a foreign country where I didn't speak the language. Earning a living got that little bit harder.

I moved to France from NYC to help start an artist's commune. I was always up for a bit of adventure, so I bought a one way ticket, and off I went, with my easel, my mountain bike, the rest of my painting stuff and a change of clothes. All my worldly possessions, in other words.

[caption id="attachment_3037" align="alignright" width="300"]img007 The farmhouse at Le Mazel before it was restored[/caption]

Le Mazel was a wonderful place, magical even. And while I didn't have any rent or bills to pay, I did have to eat and by the end of summer 2000, my money was running out. To say it was difficult to sell art out there was a massive understatement. Most of the houses were ruins (not that there were many to begin with) and the Sanglier didn't seem to have much cash.

[caption id="attachment_3099" align="alignleft" width="168"] A cash-strapped Sanglier[/caption]

The owner of the commune-to-be embarked on some renovation and hired a German Maçon named Dieter. Short of help, Dieter saw a strapping young lad and enlisted him. I was already doing some bricolage around the property, so I was thrilled to be able to learn more.

After a few faux pas, like using kitchen measuring cups to mix mortar and not knowing how long 20 cm was (both of which made Dieter go completely nuts), I started to get the hang of it. I already knew that I loved working with my hands, but I also realised that building work was creative and extremely rewarding. And working outdoors in a beautiful setting like that was the icing on the cake.

[caption id="attachment_3070" align="alignleft" width="300"]Dieter The keystone: I am operating the crane for Dieter[/caption]

One of the highlights of my time working at Le Mazel was helping to build a stone arch that spanned 4 metres. We reused stones from another arch on the property that we demolished and then built a concrete load bearing arch behind it. When I go back and visit, I still feel an enormous amount of pride in being involved in the project. That feeling of having an impact on a place, helping to make something beautiful is what I loved most about being a stonemason.

With hindsight, I can see that it’s the same feeling I got from being an artist, and now the same feeling I get from MyBuilder. I’ve created something I can be proud of, and that makes me happy. It also helps to elevate work to something that’s timeless and priceless, well beyond just making money. That’s why I love my trade.

14 Comments

  1. I love my trade because of the challenges it throws at me, the people I meet and the diversity of what I do, as a plumber I love the finished product, I like to stand back and see my work and like to see a customer smile. yeah I love my trade because you can always say "I did that."

  2. I love my trade because it's just myself and the client, no middle men, no confusion, just direct contact, everything is simple. I enjoy building new relationships everyday with a diverse range of people and love to see their satisfaction and read good feedback when it's completed. I love the challenge, especially when there's a difficult problem to solve, and the look on their faces when I achieve it!

  3. I love my trade, I can keep my own hours, I'm my own boss the only person who tells me what to do is me. I love to walk into a property turn it around, stand back and think "I done that". No two days are the same its not like working in a office or factory. From a set of drawings to a fully fitted kitchen, magical. Would'nt swap it for the world...

  4. I love my job. I get to work with a lot of wood. This is a passion of mine, also going somewhere new all the time and I can choose my own hours, love it!!

  5. I love my trade because of the my commitment to being one of the best in my field also the satisfaction I get when I leave a happy customer.

  6. I love my job Bcoz I get to make something that once looked disastrous look perfect. The amazement in people's faces when they see the diffrence is worth going to work in the morning.
    I love my job

  7. Being the third generation in my family to do fencing for a profession, I just love getting up in the morning and putting a smile on my customer’s and their garden’s faces. Its pure heaven even though hard work

  8. I love my trade because I like to see the smile on customer’s faces when they come home and see the work I have done. This makes going to work enjoyable

  9. I love my job because it gives me an opportunity to turn ugly ducklings into swans.My customers satisfaction is the most important and satisfying part of the day.

  10. I love my trade. To know that when I leave a customer’s property whether residential or commercial, whether fitting a new light fitting or a three phase supply, I leave the customer pleased and a job well done. I have been In the building industry for some 39 years and still enjoy it as much today as I did when I first started back in the day. Last but not least I make my hours and my profit, so there you are, experience talking.
    It is hard work but hard work never hurt anyone!

  11. Like all professional tradesmen I get great pleasure in doing a job well done, and to restore faith in customers who have be let down badly by their builder and I'm proud to mention since being a member of my builder I'm now registered with Cadw welsh heritage assembly government

  12. I love my trade because there is nothing better than looking at the end product, and saying, proudly, "I done that"....

  13. "I Love My Trade" and work, due to receiving so much positive feedback ongoing with past clients and still on going with new (with the help from the great team at MyBuilder). To be recognised still flying the flag, applying a very old mastic asphalt roofing system to flat roofs all over London from an apprenticeship that takes four years to learn. That shows dedication and true pride in your work, your customer relations and finished detailed work. The guarantee of 10 years expanding 25 years says it all as we are still laying the black stuff:)

  14. I love my trade because every job is different, each with its own secrets ! Getting a feel for the job, while wondering who built the house or job (Workmanship) you are you following! Old houses or new ones they are only as good as the workmen who built them.

    So builders just do your best, even when the customers know better!!!

    Satisfaction is looking at the work of your hands with pride !

Leave a Comment