Death of the generalist

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Onkel_Udo

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I am almost daily frustrated and confused by the average American (but was once more frustrated by the average German). My frustration is the "can't" attitude.

This will sound like bragging but this is simple truth and it really should (and probably does) apply to everyone. Outside of physical limitations, there is not much I can't do if I put my mind to it. I learned many things from others directly (watch one, do one, teach one) but a lot of my "skills" were learned from books, and later the internet, and then just trying. I am sick of hearing people say they can't do whatever when they see me jump in and do it. I am not special or particularly above average in intelligence nor was I raised by people with a particularly broad-based, generalized knowledge and skill set.

I work on cars, do all my own remodeling work to include all systems, build databases, brew beer, cook, do small appliance and small engine repair, etc. I am not exceptional at any of these things but pretty good at a novice level for many. I take pride in being self-sufficient but through all my experience I also have learned many things I loath doing and will have others do for me. I am much slower at ALL of these things than an expert is...sometimes painfully slow.

So this attitude that I, and some others, have seems to have mostly died off with the baby boomers as far as I can tell (I am in my early 40's). As a society, we became specialist. The DIY craze briefly sparked an interest in learning home improvement skills but it seems a bit one-dimensional. The old farm boys like my grandfather and his generation did about everything for themselves out of necessity. One of my race team members, a mid-60's retired coal mine mechanic, is the same way.

So the real question, what caused this? Is it being told we "can't" do something for a couple of generations has made us believe we can't? Is it fear of the consequences if we screw up? Is it a lack of "foundation" that does not give us the basic building blocks to realize we can do things? Maybe there is no understanding of the feeling of accomplishment when when you try something totally outside your comfort zone and succeed (back to a lack of foundation)?

I initially knocked Americans for this but I can tell you the Germans brought overspecialization to level of insanity when I lived over there in the late 1990's and early 2000's.

So what do you think? Am I just being hypercritical? Is the entire first-world evolving into specialists at the expense of everything else or is a phase that will reverse itself? Are people juts scared to jump in with both feet?
 

MaddBaggins

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Jack of all trades here. I'm a brewer, a mason, a carpenter, a welder, a mechanic, a plumber, an electrician, a hunter, a butcher, a fisherman, a gardener, a chef and a maid. The list goes on. I have a garage/house full of all the tools I've used to do these jobs over the years. My wife never begrudges me a new tool because she knows I will use it to save us money or even make us money. Using my hands, working on things, has always made sense to me.
I'm in my mid 40's and I teach my daughters these same skills. Hopefully they will grow into the same type of person. Both girls do well in school. My oldest is in college studying petroleum engineering. My baby is very talented in music and math with a huge interest in music.
Having a specialized trade can provide some sense of job security in a stable market but I have none. I'm good at everything I try to do and it has earned me a good living as a supervisor/operations manager/quality control manager over the years. I recently got tired of all that and have moved to a much lower paying job as a brewer for a small operation. I have confidence I'm going to rock that job.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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The last three days brought this to head, by the way:

Repaired two cars in the company parking lot (corroded battery connections on both).

Repaired a massage table today with a 8D finish nail, nail set, hammer, pliers and a piece of random steel.

In both cases people were amazed and I honestly cannot grasp why.
 

imasickboy

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The reasoning, as far as I can tell, is both simple, and two fold: it's easier to have someone else do it, and we live in a disposable society.

I sympathize with your frustration completely. I am also early forties, and a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.

I long for the simpler times, and always prefer to be at home, so those probably go a long way towards contributing to my attitude.
 

MaddBaggins

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The reasoning, as far as I can tell, is both simple, and two fold: it's easier to have someone else do it, and we live in a disposable society.

I sympathize with your frustration completely. I am also early forties, and a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.

I long for the simpler times, and always prefer to be at home, so those probably go a long way towards contributing to my attitude.
You sound a lot like me. :mug:
 

thunderwagn

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I'm in my late 40's and I think I see a crap ton of laziness on one hand, and an a**load of wanna be professionals cause they watched a youtube video on the other.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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The reasoning, as far as I can tell, is both simple, and two fold: it's easier to have someone else do it, and we live in a disposable society.
The second I do get.

The first one I have found not to be true in reality.

Unless you already have a known good quality specialist for most of these things, I find waiting on idiots not to show up, do poor quality work, take forever to do work, etc, is MUCH more complicated and time consuming than just grabbing a youtube video or two while drinking a homebrew...then making a run to HD. As a one-off, small quantity, we are never their focus so we either get the b-team or intermittent (at best) attention.
 
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I am almost daily frustrated and confused by the average American (but was once more frustrated by the average German). My frustration is the "can't" attitude.

This will sound like bragging but this is simple truth and it really should (and probably does) apply to everyone. Outside of physical limitations, there is not much I can't do if I put my mind to it. I learned many things from others directly (watch one, do one, teach one) but a lot of my "skills" were learned from books, and later the internet, and then just trying. I am sick of hearing people say they can't do whatever when they see me jump in and do it. I am not special or particularly above average in intelligence nor was I raised by people with a particularly broad-based, generalized knowledge and skill set.

I work on cars, do all my own remodeling work to include all systems, build databases, brew beer, cook, do small appliance and small engine repair, etc. I am not exceptional at any of these things but pretty good at a novice level for many. I take pride in being self-sufficient but through all my experience I also have learned many things I loath doing and will have others do for me. I am much slower at ALL of these things than an expert is...sometimes painfully slow.

So this attitude that I, and some others, have seems to have mostly died off with the baby boomers as far as I can tell (I am in my early 40's). As a society, we became specialist. The DIY craze briefly sparked an interest in learning home improvement skills but it seems a bit one-dimensional. The old farm boys like my grandfather and his generation did about everything for themselves out of necessity. One of my race team members, a mid-60's retired coal mine mechanic, is the same way.

So the real question, what caused this? Is it being told we "can't" do something for a couple of generations has made us believe we can't? Is it fear of the consequences if we screw up? Is it a lack of "foundation" that does not give us the basic building blocks to realize we can do things? Maybe there is no understanding of the feeling of accomplishment when when you try something totally outside your comfort zone and succeed (back to a lack of foundation)?

I initially knocked Americans for this but I can tell you the Germans brought overspecialization to level of insanity when I lived over there in the late 1990's and early 2000's.

So what do you think? Am I just being hypercritical? Is the entire first-world evolving into specialists at the expense of everything else or is a phase that will reverse itself? Are people juts scared to jump in with both feet?
I think you're preaching to the choir here. Expect a ton of confirmation from a DIY forum like this.

In the last week I replaced the window motor on my Infiniti coupe, two door handles and the front struts on my son's Camry. While doing the window motor, my neighbor came over (to talk about my truly amazing tomotoes which are out of control atm) and told me he's hiring a handyman to replace the rollers on his sliding glass doors, a job that takes about 10 minutes if you're taking your time and have trouble finding your philips screwdriver. Derp.

Like most on this forum, I do nearly everything myself. I will admit that my work is almost always less than perfect though. The pros typically do a better job.
 

imasickboy

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The first one I have found not to be true in reality.
Those two cars you repaired in the last three days...their owners found it easier to have someone other than themselves do it. ;)

I wasn't necessarily referring to you or I finding it easier to have someone else do it. People are floccing lazy, man. It's easier to whip out their phone, google a provider of the needed service, and make that phone call than it is to learn how to do it and get their hands dirty.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Those two cars you repaired in the last three days...their owners found it easier to have someone other than themselves do it. ;)

I wasn't necessarily referring to you or I finding it easier to have someone else do it. People are floccing lazy, man. It's easier to whip out their phone, google a provider of the needed service, and make that phone call than it is to learn how to do it and get their hands dirty.
What I was not expressing well is there are things and times I would rather just have a pro do something. I am now in financial position to do that. I find it hard to be there to let a-hole A in on Tuesday afternoon...two hours late...to service my furnace (something I hate doing), have him do half the job and say he has to get "x" part to finish the job but the parts house is now closed...etc, etc, etc.

Valid point on the cars, though.

You may be right, though. It may really be laziness.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I think you're preaching to the choir here. Expect a ton of confirmation from a DIY forum like this.

Like most on this forum, I do nearly everything myself. I will admit that my work is almost always less than perfect though. The pros typically do a better job.
On the first, I was less preaching and more trying to get an insight into this...behavior...attitude...whatever.

I agree on the less than perfect part, too. I particularly excel at tile work. Have done thousands of sq ft now, some mine, most in trade, and my work is equal to or better than most tile setters (only craft I will make that claim). It is a sad, amateurish, substandard, pathetic attempt to emulate what a 60-year-old craftsman/artisan friend does in 1/3 the time. We was an apprentice in Italy, sold basically into slavery, at age 14. His work could make you weep.

P.S. I am the worst drywall finisher in history...still do my own drywall finishing because I never got a finisher able to accomplish the three simple requirement: show up on time, finish on time and clean up after yourself.
 
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The reasoning, as far as I can tell, is both simple, and two fold: it's easier to have someone else do it, and we live in a disposable society.

I sympathize with your frustration completely. I am also early forties, and a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.

I long for the simpler times, and always prefer to be at home, so those probably go a long way towards contributing to my attitude.
On the first, I was less preaching and more trying to get an insight into this...behavior...attitude...whatever.

I agree on the less than perfect part, too. I particularly excel at tile work. Have done thousands of sq ft now, some mine, most in trade, and my work is equal to or better than most tile setters (only craft I will make that claim). It is a sad, amateurish, substandard, pathetic attempt to emulate what a 60-year-old craftsman/artisan friend does in 1/3 the time. We was an apprentice in Italy, sold basically into slavery, at age 14. His work could make you weep.
Haha, I did all the tile work in my previous two houses. My wife said I'm not allowed to do it anymore! I rebuilt a shower in my current house and when I poured the pan I made the angle on the slope of the pan too much. It's not comfortable to stand in there :)
 

Turkeyshot

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I agree completely with all that is said here. I truly don't understand why people have gotten to be so lazy. Some of the repairs needed around the house or car or whatever can be fixed so simply. Especially if you just look it up on the internet. I fix everything myself in my home and cars, motorcycles, etc. If I am not sure how to do it I figure it out either by looking it up somewhere or start taking it apart.
I recently repaired a leak in my roof that would have cost around a thousand dollars, but it cost me some time and about 60 bucks. But I have always been very handy and not afraid to get my hands dirty. Besides all the money I save on repairs can go to purchase beer supplies or equipment or to any of my many other hobbies.
 

ajdelange

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My wife never begrudges me a new tool because she knows I will use it to save us money or even make us money.
That's interesting. OK, maybe the complete set of A/C gear last summer was a bit over the top but two or three more avoided calls will probably pay for it given what those guys charge. This summer, while I was dealing with the heat pump up north the fuses on my walk-in compressor unit in Va blew. My neighbor, who very kindly looks in on my house every few days but who is about as handy as my Mrs, alerted me and I called someone to come out and fix it. I got charged $400 for travel and labor and $22 each for two fuses that sell for $2.89 a pair at Home Depot. When I called to complain they kindly reduced the fuses to $11 each. And it took the guy 45 min to find a blown fuse?

In another incident this summer a sump pump failed and agin my neighbor alerted me and this time called in a plumber he used. $1000 for that one. A sump pump that is $200 off the shelf at Home Depot is $700 off this guys truck. When I asked over the phone if it had platinum bearings he very seriously said that he didn't think so but he could check. The problem in this case? The starting cap.

Then there's the pros who, for example, told me that I can't buy a three phase backup generator because 3ø is made with a transformer, that heat pumps in Canada, where there is no cooling load to speak of, are sized by the cooling load, who don't know how to adjust a TXV and I could go on.

My question then is not why there aren't more people who can fix their own stuff but how can people afford not to be able to fix there own stuff? How would a widow on a fixed income have afforded my two repairs this summer? What does a family do after moving into their new home with 3 tons of heating when it gets cold to the point where 6 tons is needed?

Don't get me started....
 

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WAY back when I was an apprentice, I used a sledge hammer while my journeyman used a jackhammer. I got my ass handed to me daily till I demonstrated a level of knowledge, willingness to work hard and just an overall good work ethic. I finally got to use the jackhammer. I respected it.
My first apprentice bitched and moaned on our way back in from work one day about how the jackhammer wore him out and what a pain in the ass it was and how difficult and hard the work was.
When we got to the shop the next morning, he got ready to load up the jackhammer. I said "no, we won't need that today. Grab the sledge hammer." :D
 

mongoose33

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There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are self-reliant, and those who are not.

I just started homebrewing in December. Third batch in the fermenter. Brewing beer is easy if you follow directions and do exactly what they say, but it's not so easy to learn all the ins and outs, such as understanding diastatic power and how it affects the types of malt one uses. Or how to do kegging. Or whatever. There is a TON to learn, if one wants to (I want to).

Brewing is about the 7th new hobby I've learned over the last 25 years. To me, they aren't fun if they're not difficult to master. The fun is in the journey, the destination is icing on the cake.

But there is almost no excuse I can think of for not mastering things these days. The internet makes it easy. This resource here--homebrewtalk--is tremendous as a resource for new brewers. I've used it extensively. There are lots of videos online. I've watched videos on how to clean my new kegging equipment, BIAB brewing (which I want to do next), learning how to do a kegerator.

And when I find differing sources online, I keep learning about it until I can resolve the differences. Such as whether you really need to rack to a secondary fermenter. :)

I've used that internet to learn about all my hobbies--and there's not a one I didn't expect to master. If it's hard, so much the better. Anybody can do easy--I want to do hard. I learned golf club making entirely on my own--no classes, no one showing me. Had a business in it for years. Learned reloading ammo entirely on my own, no one showed me. Shooting effectively, had a single lesson. Golfing, had four lessons.

Once the basics are down, the rest is practice and refinement. If you have will, you can do that.

This group here is not the norm. It's comprised almost entirely of people who will find a way or make one, people who, if things don't work out exactly the way they wanted, will figure out why--and then make corrections.

It comes down to failure--are you willing to risk it, embrace it, correct it, and master it? My experience mirrors the OP's; that is, most people do not. Most people want to stay within the safety of the rules, won't take chances, and don't embrace the chance of failure. More's the pity.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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My question then is not why there aren't more people who can fix their own stuff but how can people afford not to be able to fix there own stuff? How would a widow on a fixed income have afforded my two repairs this summer?
:off:On my own thread no less...

I have told my elderly neighbors never to call a handyman anymore after this instance (which followed many substandard repairs). If I could not get to it, I would find someone who could and I have kept that promise.

The neighbor in question is in excess of 300 #'s, diabetic with two knee replacements. Like most houses in our neighborhood he has three step to a landing leads outside and to staircase to the basement. The handyman "fixed" his handrail leading down those three steps with two toggle bolts into the drywall (actually skim coated gypsum board but more on that). This repair was $250 and lasted about two weeks.

His wife mentioned it in passing at 8 am Thanksgiving morning (a few years ago) because he was too embarrassed to ask me about it. Toggles had already startd to pull out because of the weight he had to put on the hand rail to take the dog out three times a day.

It took me an hour to find all the bits, but I was at their house by 9, cut out an 18" by 24" chunk of gypsum board (this stuff, finished is about 3/4" thick), replaced it with 1/2" plywood with a 1/4" drywall overlay and did one coat of hot mud. 10:30 I scrapped, did a second coat of hot mud to get it close to level, replaced the handrail...now with 3/8" lag screws into 1/2" plywood (oh, with 1" x 4" where I thought the lags would land). I cleaned my work up (thanks zipwalls) and was out of the house by 11:30 so they could have Thanksgiving dinner in peace and I did not have to worry about him taking a nasty tumble down the stairs. The next weekend I came over and did the finish work and fixed three other things the same handyman had screwed up.

I get a never-end stream of baked goods now.
 

iijakii

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Whenever I try to DIY something it goes like this:

See a lot of examples, think I can do it.
Try to do it, don't have the right tools for the job, too cheap to buy them.
Forge ahead without the right tools, comes out like absolute ****, get extremely pissed and make it worse.
Hire someone else.

As far as I can tell that's the American Way™.
 

BadDeacon

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I learned by my dad dragging me under cars and houses. Now I am the guys folks call to fix things.

I remember being shocked when I was in college and my dad took his car to the shop. I teased him about it and his response was that his time and frustration wasn't worth the savings anymore.

I tend to look at a lot of stuff that way. There is no telling how much $$ I have saved myself and others over the years by diving in and figuring things out.

Also, I am too cheap to go to the shop unless I just have no clue what to do.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Shooting effectively, had a single lesson. Golfing, had four lessons.

Once the basics are down, the rest is practice and refinement. If you have will, you can do that.

It comes down to failure--are you willing to risk it, embrace it, correct it, and master it? My experience mirrors the OP's; that is, most people do not. Most people want to stay within the safety of the rules, won't take chances, and don't embrace the chance of failure. More's the pity.
This actually makes sense to me. The reason I never learned guitar was I could not get into it and I watched a "natural" pick it up quickly. I had no real interest except picking up women (I was 20) so the interest died.

I am perfectly OK with, and used to, short term failure. For example, I endurance race a terrible 1990's GM minivan, which guarantees failure.

This is likely the nature verses nurture portion. My parents (both educators) embraced failure as a learning experience. They always gave me just enough information and encouragement after a failure to succeed but do it on my terms. Weird example, my father could drop a tree with a chainsaw within inches of his intended path (experience). It took me untold attempts but he had one, and only one, bit of advice after each failed attempt. By 15 years old, he stop dropping trees and let me do them all.
 

betarhoalphadelta

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I agree with pretty much everyone here.

There are some things I'm not comfortable attempting (anything involving natural gas, for example), but most household jobs really aren't that hard. I might not know what I'm doing, but the nice thing about the internet age is that half an hour of YouTube videos can make me competent enough to tackle the job.

This weekend I installed a new garage door opener because my 20-year-old opener had finally given up the ghost. I might have been able to fix it with a new logic board, but I figured I might as well get a new one. I've never done one of these, but the garage door company wanted almost $500 and I did it for $180. Most people I know these days would have spent the $500.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I learned by my dad dragging me under cars and houses.
Without intentionally be insulting, was dad of "that generation" or were you guys poor? I ask because my dad was capable of all the stuff mentioned in this thread and was oldest of 12 on a New England dairy farm so he could do this stuff. Outside of his garden and some minor home repair, he chose not to even try.

The obvious third option is he just liked doing the stuff (like me).
 
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Onkel_Udo

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This weekend I installed a new garage door opener because my 20-year-old opener had finally given up the ghost. I might have been able to fix it with a new logic board, but I figured I might as well get a new one. I've never done one of these, but the garage door company wanted almost $500 and I did it for $180. Most people I know these days would have spent the $500.
Funny...I have a free garage DOOR in my driveway (thanks CL) because the 1950's fiberglass one has been incapable of supporting an opener for 5 years. I have NO idea how to install a new door on my old track but it does not look like rocket science. I have met a few overhead door installers...this cannot be that complex.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Whenever I try to DIY something it goes like this:

See a lot of examples, think I can do it.
Try to do it, don't have the right tools for the job, too cheap to buy them.
Forge ahead without the right tools, comes out like absolute ****, get extremely pissed and make it worse.
Hire someone else.

As far as I can tell that's the American Way™.
I would expect nothing less from Portland...I have watched Portlandia...I mean do you guys do anything but drink coffee and make fun of the whole world?:ban:

I think "Make" magazine is your creation, right?
 

BadDeacon

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Without intentionally be insulting, was dad of "that generation" or were you guys poor? I ask because my dad was capable of all the stuff mentioned in this thread and was oldest of 12 on a New England dairy farm so he could do this stuff. Outside of his garden and some minor home repair, he chose not to even try.



The obvious third option is he just liked doing the stuff (like me).

He probably could have paid for it. But he was in the Army. Most of the houses belonged to my grandmothers. I think he just knew he'd be helping me in the long term.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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He probably could have paid for it. But he was in the Army. Most of the houses belonged to my grandmothers. I think he just knew he'd be helping me in the long term.
Good for him!

P.S. The reason dad and I felled trees and cut wood was in theory to heat the house but in reality it was an excuse to have 11-14 Saturdays a year of us spending time together...took until I was 30 to get that one. That and splitting wood was another of his methods of staying in shape without "exercising".
 

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Good for him!

P.S. The reason dad and I felled trees and cut wood was in theory to heat the house but in reality it was an excuse to have 11-14 Saturdays a year of us spending time together...took until I was 30 to get that one. That and splitting wood was another of his methods of staying in shape without "exercising".

I wish I had places to go cut wood, but we don't have the necessity for fuel wood in the south...

View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1452469410.980049.jpg
 
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Onkel_Udo

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There are some things I'm not comfortable attempting (anything involving natural gas, for example)
FYI, NG is no harder than plumbing and easier than electrical (and let's be honest, single phase electrical is easy). Only special tool required, a spray bottle of soapy water.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I wish I had places to go cut wood, but we don't have the necessity for fuel wood in the south...
We were in Oklahoma. Dad found the only place in 50 miles with trees...long story but all of it was standing dead, too. I am 93% sure none of it was from exposure to DDT...but I am 100% sure it was standing dead due to chemical intervention (OSU testing station).
 

betarhoalphadelta

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FYI, NG is no harder than plumbing and easier than electrical (and let's be honest, single phase electrical is easy). Only special tool required, a spray bottle of soapy water.
I'm an electrical engineer, so for me, electrical is easy. Plumbing is slightly terrifying, because the words "water damage" are like kryptonite to a homeowner, but I'll tackle some projects. But I really don't want to blow myself or my family up, so I avoid ultra-flammable gases :D
 

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So this attitude that I, and some others, have seems to have mostly died off with the baby boomers as far as I can tell (I am in my early 40's).
So what do you think? Am I just being hypercritical? Is the entire first-world evolving into specialists at the expense of everything else or is a phase that will reverse itself? Are people juts scared to jump in with both feet?
I think you have somewhat over-generalized based upon your personal experience. I am a baby-boomer and I have always done, and still do, everything for myself within my mental and physical capabilities. Being self-sufficient is the way I was brought up. Therefore, I always expected that I would do for myself and my family whatever I could, and whatever I couldn't do, I'd hire out. I used to work on all my vehicles, right down to major engine work. I have done decades of remodeling, built houses, done plumbing, electrical and HVAC, etc., etc. --- and still do. What keeps me going is the desire to learn and to accomplish something. Nowadays, if you watch a game show where they ask the contestants what they do for living, you'll rarely see someone who is a plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc.. It's usually something associated with spending the day in front of a computer. That said, it doesn't discount the same sense of desire and accomplishment that I get from what I do. Techno-electronic challenges pretty much leave me in the dust, which is why God sent me an IT son-in-law. But anything I can literally put my hands on, I will attempt to do. I know my limitations, but they don't limit me to trying.

The trends you bring up are all due to the natural progression of society. But I believe there is still room for the new alongside the old without the need to compete or blend.
 
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Funny...I have a free garage DOOR in my driveway (thanks CL) because the 1950's fiberglass one has been incapable of supporting an opener for 5 years. I have NO idea how to install a new door on my old track but it does not look like rocket science. I have met a few overhead door installers...this cannot be that complex.
I would never wind up an overhead torsion spring. I had one bust once, looked into buying a new one and the unbelievable danger of a mishap while winding, and thought better of doing it myself. I've put up a couple of new openers, but not the doors.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I would never wind up an overhead torsion spring. I had one bust once, looked into buying a new one and the unbelievable danger of a mishap while winding, and thought better of doing it myself. I've put up a couple of new openers, but not the doors.
I plan to re-use the existing extension spring which has safety cables in it already...cause I put them in after I realized they were not there.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I think you have somewhat over-generalized based upon your personal experience. I am a baby-boomer and I have always done, and still do, everything for myself within my mental and physical capabilities. Being self-sufficient is the way I was brought up. Therefore, I always expected that I would do for myself and my family whatever I could, and whatever I couldn't do, I'd hire out. I used to work on all my vehicles, right down to major engine work. I have done decades of remodeling, built houses, done plumbing, electrical and HVAC, etc., etc. --- and still do. What keeps me going is the desire to learn and to accomplish something. Nowadays, if you watch a game show where they ask the contestants what they do for living, you'll rarely see someone who is a plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc.. It's usually something associated with spending the day in front of a computer. That said, it doesn't discount the same sense of desire and accomplishment that I get from what I do. Techno-electronic challenges pretty much leave me in the dust, which is why God sent me an IT son-in-law. But anything I can literally put my hands on, I will attempt to do. I know my limitations, but they don't limit me to trying.

The trends you bring up are all due to the natural progression of society. But I believe there is still room for the new alongside the old without the need to compete or blend.
I do not doubt I over-generalized. That said, I am one of those guys that spends his life in front of a computer.

But I go back to...do you know this (in my opinion) vast majority of folks that believe they cannot do for themselves simple things around the house or on their car (say brake pad replacement)? Where do you think this belief came from...some have said laziness while I think it is at least partially our social make-up convincing us that things are too hard? Sure, it is new and different for most but is actually hard?
 
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Onkel_Udo

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so I avoid ultra-flammable gases :D
Then remember the appropriate room temp rest for Lagers lest thee be smitten with explosive gas the day after enjoying that double-bock...not that I would know. Yeast variant specific of course.
 

Beesnbeer

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Having someone do things for us makes us feel rich! Plus, your hands stay soft and clean!
 

Michigan_Wolfman

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We live in a society where the vast majority of people feel the world owes them, in spite of the fact that they've done absolutely nothing to earn it. Our government fosters that belief and encourages it. I call it the Nanny State. Government takes you by the hand, leads you through live; telling you what to think, do and say, with absolutely no accountability for yourself or your actions. People that can do for themselves are viewed as out of the norm. Why do you think so many people who profess to be 'Tolerant Progressive' or 'Tolerant Liberal' loathe those of us who identify as Conservative? I think deep down inside they know they will never be half the man that those of us who can pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and do things ourselves already are.
 

Zuljin

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Depends on what it costs to have done, or have undone and redone if I screw it up, what are the other consequences of screwing it up, and what I have tools or money for.

Change my transmission filter, fluid and pan gasket? Yes. Swap out another transmission? Not again. My wife and I painted our house. That does not qualify us to work on the Sistine Chapel. I'll nurse myself back from a cold, but I won't try at home brain surgery.

I have a job. It's one that requires me to have multiple skills. From machines to microorganisms, Operators do it all. That job takes time. 40+ hours a week. There are only so many 40 hours in a week. When I don't have the 40 hours, someone else who spends their 40 doing the thing I need gets hired to do it.

And I can hire them because I have the skills to earn that universal tool; money. That's good for me, and for the people who get hired. Sure, we give up some general skills to earn that money, but we get pretty good at the specific, and that's important these days. For many of us, our jobs are becoming more technical and involved. Us muck rakers use microscopes these days. We get paid better for it, too.

Fact is, no man is an island. We should each be able to do a lot for ourselves, but we can't do it all.

I don't believe Americans don't do for themselves. The kid across the street was chopping firewood today, and we live in the burbs. My friend made a highchair for his kids out of PVC pipe. Places from Ace to Hobby Lobby to O'Reilly's don't stay in business from Americans not doing for themselves.
 

thunderwagn

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While I agree with most of what's said here, I'm also at a point in my life where I'm able to do things but choose not to...brake pads for example. There are plenty things that I've 'been there done that' and am at point financially where I would just as soon let someone else do some things so I can get on with things that I would much rather do. Like brew ;)
It's not that I'm lazy. It's not that I can't. It's just that I don't want or necessarily have to anymore.
 
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