Mysticism as a tool ensuring job security with a thought regarding the mistreatment of apprentices.
I work in two fields that I believe are terrible when it comes to workers creating a mystique about their work to keep their position secure: welding and saw filing. Each profession seems to do it in their own unique way.
With welders, I see it in the form of journeymen withholding information from their apprentices in order to keep them balling grinders and doing dirty work in order to save the gravy work for themselves. A perk of being the journeyman is passing the odd dirty job to an apprentice but so many of them forget that the apprentice is there to learn and that as a minimum they need to get down and dirty to check the work. If you want someone to do all your dirty work then hire a helper; the apprentice is there to help AND learn.
With saw filers it appears to involve withholding information from clients. I don’t understand a filer being secretive about how he does his work. Sure, many carpenters are interested in saw filing and how tooth geometry effects their cuts and a few will learn to do it for themselves, but it’s not that much revenue that gets lost.
I figure that the more people who know, the better. A few DIY types shouldn’t bankrupt me(more thoughts on that later). I’ve explained in a past post about clients wanting to learn the service I provide in order to do it for themselves. Go ahead and sharpen your own saws. I’ll happily fix them if you make a mess of things. If you do manage to learn how to do it right then show others.
The worst source of the mystique surrounding any trade is from clients themselves. It’s amazing how some people seem to literally think that joining pieces of metal together or filing saws is witchcraft; it isn’t even close. They’re like most things out there: Easy to do slipshod but tricky to do properly.
A funny manifestation of this mystique involves a friend of mine; he’ll sharpen your scissors for a about $5. Sharpening a $10 pair of scissors takes the same degree of work and skill as sharpening a $200 pair you’ll find in a hair salon or tailor’s shop. He can’t convince people that they’e not getting any benefit from shipping them out and paying seven times as much money. They don’t understand the work he does. He won’t raise his prices because he believes they’re fair as they are. Nobody is winning in that situation except the fellow getting scissors in the mail….