Ever seen the Tom Hanks movie “The Money Pit”? I’m in a DIY hell almost as bad as that right now. Every time I think I’ve turned a corner, the corner falls off behind me and reveals 5 layers of Edinburgh Corporation gloss paint holding some patchy plaster together.
Rather than do the sensible thing and get someone in (the YDI school of home improvement) I’ve taken on the task myself. The demolition bit is fairly straightforward. A 9lb lump hammer and a cold chisel has a satsifyingly hefty feel to it. It makes you feel like a man. Untill you collapse weeping at the weeks of extra work you’ve just created for yourself.
I’ve been really fortunate that friends and family have been around to offer help, encouragement, advice and even training in some of the DIY skills I lacked. I’ve never done any plastering before, for instance. But the act of learning how, then successfully filling some of those gaping holes I created has been a really satisfying experience.
There’s been a really good debate raging online this week following this post by UX designer Murat Mutlu asking whether agencies “want to keep creating branded fluff or do they want to build temples?”. Tim Malbon of MadebyMany wrote a good response here making the case for more inspiring , collaborative projects between and amongst agencyland.
My DIY experience has been a bit like that. I also know the power of being in an online network of supportive, like-minded individuals. The advice and support I’ve had about my photography (mostly from total strangers) through the Blipfoto community has helped me get my first exhibition next month. The anonymous feedback I get on my mixes at Soundcloud encourages me to keep improving.
So, two thoughts for the price of one today. First, go learn how to do something you’ve never done before. I guarantee it’ll be a positive experience and one which will give you a different perspective on the day to day.
Secondly, what skills outside of work do we all already have that we could share for the common good?
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