001 - Why Hackers Need Hand Tools

Working in any IT related field, there always seems to be a reputation of mythical proportions for the top one percent in our field who commonly and often proudly exclaim of their frequent seclusion with their computer at all hours of the day in the pursuit of constant learning. And while this obviously works for a select group of individuals, I would argue that taking a more grounded and measured approach to utilizing technology would not only allow for the prolonged health of our IT workforce and prevent the prevalent burnout in our community but also pave the way for an evolution of the image of the IT workforce inevitably leading to more hard working, creative individuals contributing with a new set of viewpoints making our world collectively safer.

In our simplest form we are a species that evolved solely on our background of making useful tools and objects from raw materials. And in a sense the modern intellectual worker who codes, architects systems, or designs networks is still creating a useful tool out of the raw materials given to them; but there is a tangibility missing to that endeavor. Conversely a carpenter who makes himself a chair, can sit it in until the day it breaks or he decides to get rid of it. And everyday he uses that chair, the carpenter will relish in his work. Now to clarify I am not saying that the work done by systems engineers, architects, and coders is not meaningful or important; the inverse is true, without these skills and hard work coupled with them the internet as we know it wouldn't exist. What I am saying is that at least for me and a couple of my close friends, the satisfaction and personal growth that occurs from physically making something is second to none.

Physical creation of objects and things will stretch your mind and your body in new and unique ways that will ultimately strengthen you as an individual. If you go and create music with a guitar, your hand dexterity and control will likely increase in leaps and bounds as will your ability to understand and hear music; or if you decide to take up mechanics, not only will you be able to better visualize how things are functioning in your mind but you will likely stretch and develop your trouble shooting skills. A welder or metal fabricator will likely develop their spatial reality while also maturing their knowledge of material interactions. Furthermore a gardener will likely develop a better understanding of their local horticulture and begin the process of learning what kids knew in the 1700 and 1800s while getting some well needed vitamin D. And with all of this said, the best way to grow your mind is to challenge the everlasting hell out of it. This strengthening and learning in dissimilar and new areas is the key to fighting off neurodegenerative diseases; and for any intellectual worker that is the name of the game. Keeping my brain functional and in the fight for an additional 20 or 30 years could mean the difference of millions to tens of millions of dollars for many individuals in our field.

But even if the thought of losing out on tens of millions dollars doesn't bother you I have one last attempt. That is the nurturing of self sufficiency and self reliance. In our ever turbulent world does it not make sense to attempt to take care of one's needs on a micro scale. When stores were running out of food or the prices were exuberant, the gardener doesn't fret; she'll just harvest a couple more tomatoes and eat some more homegrown eggs. To save cash the mechanic spends $200 on brake rotors and pads to change himself instead of getting a shop to do it for $600 to $1000 dollars. To create a side hustle the photographer goes out and books herself for a marriage bringing $1000 in and securing her finances more. By bringing your own skill sets and proficiencies to the table the individual will ultimately create more resiliency to weather any storms then leading to a strong system in which they live. By taking care of yourself; you're helping to take care of others around you.

Now with all of this said; I don’t know what would scratch your itch or what may interest you, but I’m going to include some ideas below to try and help if you’re interested in beginning to learn a new craft alongside your technical expertise.

  • Carpentry

  • Whittling

  • Welding

  • Metal Fabrication

  • Mechanics

  • Electronic [circuit boards and such]

  • Model Making

  • Pottery

  • Painting

  • Drawing

  • Photography

  • Knitting/Sewing

  • Sculpting

  • Cooking

  • Gardening

  • Animal Husbandry/Shepherding

  • Music [Playing]

  • Music [Writing]