“Sorting Paper Into Different Piles”

Fred Lapides links to the Old Picture of the Day blog, which posts a picture of a cobbler, taken in 1903.  The picture reminded me of a little ode I wrote to my cobbler back in 2004 titled Not Simply A Cobbler, wherein I noted cobblers were a dying breed.

The poster of the cobbler photo comments on the photo with these words, which ring true.

Today’s picture was taken in 1903, and shows an old Cobbler in his Shoe Making shop. As we look at all these old pictures, I am struck by the profound change in the nature of our jobs over the last hundred years. I notice that in these old pictures, there is a very tangible nature to the work people did. If you asked this man what he did for a living, he would say, “I am a cobbler. I make shoes, and I repair shoes”. Someone else might say, “I am a farmer, and I grow corn”, or “I am a blacksmith, and I shoe horses”. Very clear, concise, and important work. Today, it is hard for most people to describe what they do . . . “I restructure debt settlements in reverse mortgage arbitrage cases”, or other obscure things. When you try and unravel what we are all doing, almost no one actually Builds, Grows, or Fixes things. It is like we are a nation of people sorting paper into different piles. (bold by ed.)

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/30 at 07:55 AM
  1. Interesting, and true.
    I am a rarity I suppose as my work today is the same as it was in 1972 when I first started, I am an architectural designer, I design buildings. I have always been amazed that neither of my 2 brother in laws have been able to describe their employment in a manner I can get my head around, nor can they show me proof of what they do. One does something with marketing and the other does something with communications, both very obscure things, in my opinion. You have to know the secret handshake.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  11:19 AM

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