Artisans vs. Hired Hands

Artisans are often endlessly fascinated by what is going on around them. They regard it from a standpoint of their understanding of the world. What is going on here? How can I make sense of it? what do I want people to understand about what I see? What is the best way to do that? Whether they like it or not, they are part of the game. Paradoxically, they are are at their least comfortable when things are easy. They like the crumbling edge where the new and interesting is to be found. Artisans like edges. Edges help them to be.

Hired Hands like the centre. It’s where they can do their best work, and get paid well for it. They don’t like things that get in the way, and they don’t want failure to mess up their portfolio and progression to their next hire. They want a portfolio full of demonstrable achievement in time frames that impress their next prospect.

We are all artisans and hired hands in our lives. Work for the joy of it and work for the need of income. Sometimes, it’s in the same job (certainly I’ve experienced both elements in one job). For others work outside our main job satisfies the artisan in us – and early in our lives that’s almost inevitable, like actors washing dishes between roles.

The challenge for many of us is that we sideline the artisan. The hired hand makes more money, which supports the acquired lifestyle and the mortgage and there’s always tomorrow, and that’s dangerous. Hired hands are like hired guns – there’s always a faster one and if our weapon of choice is something to do with process and efficiency, the faster gun may well be technology.

2020 is likely to prove a turning point. Necessity has brought tomorrow forward to today. There are more guns in town.

Artisans always work for themselves, even when they’re working for an employer. Their focus is their craft, and their expression of it. They do not make the mistake of believing that the employer will provide long term purpose or meaning. Hired Guns are experts. If they’re really good, they make enough money to hang up the gun. but people that good are a minority and increasingly staying a hired gun is a risky business.

We are all a mix of artisan, expert and entrepreneur. The artisan and the entrepreneur though offer us more chance of independence on our own terms, even if for less money.

2021 is a very good year to pay attention to your inner artisan and your inner entrepreneur.

Or do you feel lucky?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: