A year's worth of advice
It's customary for people to reflect on what has taken place over the last year. As I was flipping through each issue of Practical Welding Today from 2012, I found myself re-reading the advice that welders and fabricators shared in each of the Shop Stories features. As we approach the new year, here are a few pieces of advice worth sharing again.
Admit when you don't know the answer to a question. Who on planet Earth enjoys admitting they don't know something? Not you, not I, and definitely not my older brother. But both Dan Grabko of Greenheck Fan Corp., in Schofield, Wis., and Daniel Galiher of Tower International, Livonia, Mich., valued this bit of advice. Sometimes saying "I don't know" is the best recourse, particularly when you really don't know the answer. It's normal to want others to have faith in your subject matter knowledge, but not at the risk of giving them bad advice. As both Grabko and Galiher said, there's nothing wrong with doing a little research and coming back with the right answer later.
Measure twice, cut once. It's easy to understand why Allen Parsons of Kvichak Marine Industries in Seattle shared this. Building aluminum boats is a tough job where one wrong move can be catastrophic. But it also made me think of how sometimes quickness is rewarded over quality in our society. How many times have you read a breaking news item on a website that claimed something only to find out days later that the report was completely false? Have you ever read conflicting reports on the same event on competing websites? What's more important, a job done right or a job done fast and poorly?
If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you are right. Paul Giddings of Arctic Combustion Ltd., Milton, Ont., Canada, shared this with his welding students when he was a teacher, and now he says it to his children when they are discouraged.
If you really believe in something, go for it. This advice came from Benjamin Bilott in this month's Shop Stories, and it made me think about all of the welders who have been profiled in the magazine throughout the years who work "regular" jobs by day, but at night spend hours in their garages or their home art studios making brilliant metal art sculptures. It also made me think of the women who took a chance and enrolled in a welding class and now can't imagine creating art with anything but metal and a weld torch. Ray Carrington, a teacher turned metal artist, said the world would be a boring place without art. Well, it would also be a sad place if people never extended themselves because of naysayers or even self-doubt.
Thank you to everyone who shared stories and advice throughout the last 12 months. We are looking forward to hearing from more of you in 2013. Have a safe and happy holiday season.
Skills gap, or education gap?