You are being judged everyday.

Throughout all my years in school, my favorite class was always art class. It didn’t matter what we were doing in that class, I loved it. I have always demonstrated a certain amount of skill when it came to art class. It was one of those areas where I was really good at it. That’s probably why I enjoyed it so much.

In seventh grade, the young men in my school began being exposed to the Industrial Arts. More classes that involved creating things…I couldn’t get enough. My seventh grade year, we studied metal-shop, wood-shop, plastics & drafting.

I have to say that of those four, I enjoyed drafting the least. I came into it with an expectation that it was going to be easy because I was artistically talented. I was wrong! Old school drafting is about protractors, angles, reading a ruler & accuracy. None of this stuff existed to any great degree in art class. It was here that I realized that I was in trouble, but it was also here that I learned a very important lesson that still influences me on a daily basis.

It all began when we had to draw our first mechanical drawing.  It was a three dimensional shape. I turned my project in to be graded and when I got it back, all the corners of my drawing, where the lines intersected, were circled with a red pen. I don’t remember getting a very good grade, and I was kind of disappointed. I should be good at this!  The reason for they were circled was because they extended beyond the intersection. When done right, they should terminate at the intersection. That marked the beginning of my education about Craftsmanship.

Mech drawing error

The skill involved in making something beautiful, or practical using your hands.
The beautiful or impressive quality of something that has been made using a lot of skill. (Macmillan Dictionary)

I bring this up because there are tons of people who are unsatisfied in their job, or in the direction their career may be going. When we get unsatisfied, or start to think that what we’re doing doesn’t matter, the quality of our work might begin to slip.  Maybe you were laid off when the economy went south, and now the job you have is a long way away from your dream job. Maybe you see this job as stop-gap job until you can get a “real” job. Because of that, you lack the drive or character to do your best.

Sadly, most people live their lives event to event. They are constantly pushing toward events where they think happiness will be. They see all this time in between those events as less significant or even meaningless. Living event to event actually pushes happiness to the horizon, where it can only be achieved at the next event. The truth is that these moments between events are moments of your life passing by. What you do in these moments matters. You can find fulfillment in these moments too.

I heard a story once about a father that assigned a chore to his son and left the son to do it. When the father came back, the son had finished the task but had done a very poor job of it. The father looked over the project and then looked at his son and said “People are going to assume they know the kind of man you are, by the kind of work you do.” His point was clear. Craftsmanship has a voice and it speaks.  Opinions are being formed about us based on what we do.

Think about the last time you were in a restaurant or a store and a person gave you poor service. What were your thoughts? Did you make assumptions about that employee based on the poor quality of their service? While we don’t necessarily think these people are mean spirited or menaces to society, we might think of them as lazy, arrogant or self centered.  We’re judging them based on their work.

In the same way, we are also being judged by the quality of our work.  What message is your work sending?

What’s the take away here?

Even if you don’t think your job is significant, even if you don’t feel like it’s your calling, you can still have integrity and strength of character to do your best at it anyway. Put your signature in your work, moment by moment, by doing your best in every moment.

Eph 6:5-8 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eye-service, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.