Are You A Classic Or A Romantic?

About sixteen years ago I read an amazing book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig. What’s this got to do with the Building Industry I hear you ask?

In this book the writer talks about his life, and refers to his motorcycle as a metaphor. There are two types of people in this world “The Classic” and “The Romantic”

“ The Classic” as explained in the book; Is a person who can pull every nut and bolt off his motorcycle, and put it all back together. This person looks at the thermodynamics, structural integrity, airflows, sounds etc.

“The Romantic”; this person loves motorcycles, the look of them, the style. They have no idea how it works, or is interested in the nuts and bolts. More like me with cars.

When I was a child I used to get my toys and pull them apart, look at the way cogs and wheels made things move with ease. I would stare at every component in awe and then proceed to put it all back together again.

Lately I have been thinking that not much has changed in my life. When I started my apprenticeship as a carpenter, I went out and bought books on Carpentry. I would visit Building Sites and see how different components were put together in a certain way that created a house. I would work for free just to get the experience.

I bought a book called “The Glossary of Building and Planning Terms” If I was going to be in this Industry I wanted to know as much as I could. I went to Night School, and after seven long years I received my Building Inspectors certificate. Am I a “Classic” in the Building Industry? “I sure am!”

My Apprentices Story

A few years ago I was asked to give a friend’s son a chance in getting his Apprenticeship. I interviewed his son, he was very clever and something didn’t quite gel. I was able to get his apprenticeship through a training scheme. They gave him some different tests, he was very intellectual. I sat him down and asked him if this was exactly what he wanted in his life.

Eight months into his apprenticeship he came up to me all sheepish and told me he hated what he was doing. I laughed; if anything, I told him I was so happy he realized in the very early stages in his apprenticeship he was a “Romantic” and definitely not a “Classic” in the Building Industry. He has gone on to become a personal trainer and loves every minute of it.


Where in life are you a “Classic” or a “Romantic”?

The best Tradesmen I have met are the one’s that absolutely love their Industry; they get up in the morning loving every minute of what they do. I call this “Spirit light and task heavy” These are the types of people I love working with.

Unfortunately there are the ones that have no idea what they are doing, and have no passion for what they do. “Spirit heavy, task heavy”

Have a great week!

Michael Malacos