The Bitterness of Poor Workmanship

Measuring twice may have helped. But going with the cheapest option could also be an expensive mistake.
Measuring twice may have helped. But going with the cheapest option could also be an expensive mistake.

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” ~ Red Adair

“In every area of life there is a cheaper alternative but don’t forget the bitterness of poor workmanship stays long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Have you ever had to play cleanup on someone else’s work? I am talking about coming in after an amateur and reworking what they have done and applying your own knowledge and expertise. It would have been easier to start with your professional grade work in the first place. But for one reason or another (cheapness, naivete, pride, control) the quality of work suffered.

In our noise-filled world, low quality doesn’t cut it anymore. You must break through the noise with excellence.

When it comes to talent, it is hard to liken people’s creativity, strategic thinking and ability to get things done with one another. In a lot of ways, the individual craftsmanship that exists between people has become more marked in our economy.

We can’t put people in boxes like we did in the industrial age. We can’t do this when work is variable, and the difference in quality of creativity, insight and execution is worlds apart between amateurs and experts.

Austin Kleon does a great job shining a lot on a path for how creatives should and do pursue their work. Ultimately, the homework that an expert does and the wealth of exposure and knowledge they gather over time contributes to their creative output. It’s part of why you have to love what you do or you won’t do all the extra work that is required to build your reservoir of knowledge.

Furthermore, experts can move quickly because they have seen a problem repeatedly. They see the problem differently than amateurs. They can understand the nuances that will work or what will connect with others. There’s been enough empirical evidence built up to inform them.

When things are not repeatable, which is common for much of the work we do, remember that what Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.”

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