There are considerations other than merely technical ones which have weight in determining the quality and quantity of a man’s work in the shop. For instance, what is distinctly and, pre-eminently the mark of the superior workman? I would unhesitatingly put it as self-respect. The good workman justly appreciates his abilities; and this self appreciation is as far as can be from unwarranted and inordinate self-conceit.
A man in a machine shop, like a man anywhere else in life, who knows how to do good work, knows well enough when he does good work, knows as well as anyone the value of it, and cannot be got to willingly waste it. Work that is wasted is never good work nor done by a good workman. Work may be like choice butter upon good bread, or it may be like the same butter daubed upon the sleeve of your best coat, and then it is not good work.
Troy is the great laundry city—put tight fits upon work that is to encounter the rust of a wash-room, and it will bring you profanity instead of praise. The most worthless man in the shop is he who is willing to swing his axe all day and see no chips fly. The man who is in earnest makes every motion tell to the accomplishment of his purpose. He is the man whom I may always safely tell when anything about his work is wrong. He will know that he is precisely the one who should know about it, that he may correct it and avoid a like mistake in future. (more…)