Why I can’t be a contractor

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After watching the guys install my floors, I’m amazed at how they do it. I have all the same skills to get the job done except one: I can’t work in a contractor situation.

I’ve done a bit of contract work over the years when we needed the cash, but I really hate doing it. In fact, if I had to rely on it for my livelihood, I’d fail. Here’s why.

I’m uncomfortable around other people’s stuff. Not sure if it’s because it’s all so personal and I feel like “I don’t belong there,” or if I’m just afraid of breaking things, but performing work around other people’s possessions gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I’m a vocal worker. In this case, I don’t mean I’m the guy at the next desk who never shuts up (although I’m that, too). I mean that I often engage in vocal commentary of what I’m doing. If something goes wrong, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a big thing or a little thing, it’s best that no one is in earshot.

I never shut up. I was a broadcaster for 30 years, and I like to talk. If someone walks in while I’m working, I always stop to talk.

I’m a multi-tasker, not a uni-tasker. When I’m working, if something pops into my head that I need to do, I tend to immediately jump to the other task whether it relates to my current task or not. I suspect paying clients wouldn’t like this.

I’m a perfectionist. There really is a point where something is good enough, but I’m incapable of seeing it. That’s fine for art, but not for contracting.

I’m slow. I enjoy working with wood, so I never rush. I like to take my time to enjoy the craft, and that’s no way to make a living.

I can’t follow a plan. When working on a project, I tend to alter the design as I work. Even though the end result is almost always better than what I’d originally conceived, a client expects something to be exactly as planned.

I can’t part with what I make. “Sorry, I like the job I did on this cabinet too much, and you can’t have it. I’m taking it home.”

A.J.

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