Value of Tangible Work by Rick Boman

Jeannie M. Gamble, the Executive Director for HabitatWD, sent a story over that Rick Boman had written about a volunteer. Rick Boman is our Americorps Construction Manager and is constantly involved with volunteers on home build sites and some A Brush With Kindness projects he may be supervising.

We want to share what Rick Boman wrote about one particular volunteer:

One day a volunteer, after a particularly productive task of building interior walls, became emotional. After some consulting this man confided in me his story.

He grew up a city-kid, living in an apartment growing up. Now, he lives in a high-rise condominium with maid-service. His parents were both office workers and he never did manual labor growing up. He had never mowed a lawn, raked a yard, or even used a shovel. As an adult, he works 10-14 hours days solving computer-programming issues. He works for months sometimes on a particular problem. After completing his tasks at work, he uploads a file and sends away an e-mail. Rarely does he hear anything more about it. He often wonders if the company is even implementing his work. He ponders the value that he adds to his work and to the company.

We walked around the house at our project site, looking at all the interior walls. Just earlier there was nothing. Now, there was something built and something to see. He states that this is the first day of his life where he can look back and see, with his eyes, exactly what he did.

The amount of effort a carpenter puts in during the day is easily visually seen. It is tangible. For many workers today physical activity and tangible outcomes have become extinct.

This man is changed forever; he now seeks hard work that leaves a physical legacy. This story hits a cord for me. I have always worked on tangible things. As I choose my career path in construction management, I will consider the value of physical tangible work.

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