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Last night I was exchanging texts with a friend in Washington who is a plumber. The entire family is actually. Not to linger too long, but they are just great people. He sent me something that resonated with me and I felt the need to share. When he sent it to me it was meant to be funny. At first I sent back a laughing emoji, and then it hit me.
It is interesting who we value in times of crisis. Me, I am a salesperson. Yes, I happen to sell into the plumbing and heating trade, but that’s not the point. I am not “essential," nor is my job critical to the well-being of others, other than my family. For as long as I can remember, people who work in the trades have been viewed by many as second-class citizens because they don’t hold a college degree or because they were not interested in a job some may consider more prestigious.
But here we are, in the midst of the largest crisis since World War II. People are working from home; some have no work to go to and those that are working are wondering for how long. But, those who are not concerned about working are plumbers. Not only are they listed as “essential,” they are listed twice. Let that sink in. I have nothing but respect for our first responders and medical professionals, but without heat, hot water and running water, we turn into a Third World country.
They are not considered heroes, but they walk into strangers' houses, unaware of any dangers that may exist due to COVID-19. They work long hours, many times weekends, to make sure that we have running, hot water to bathe in, heat in our homes, and sterilized essential equipment. Plumbers are so much more than faucet fixers and drain uncloggers; they use more science and math than most of us do in our jobs. They don’t use spreadsheets to calculate a math problem, they use tape measures and their craftiness, fitting things in spaces they should not be able to fit. They problem solve. They work on science projects and make shit work, no pun intended. It is times like this that make you think about what’s important.
Part of me is writing this because I want my kids who are about to graduate high school to appreciate the men and women in the plumbing trade and consider that this is a path with tremendous honor, pride and most importantly, a bright future. Thank you to all the plumbers and those that support these plumbers and their ability to get the job done! #ThankAPlumber