The Inspiration Created by Collaboration
I am often reminded of my days starting out as an apprentice in Las Vegas. It was the mid-80s, and the shop I was working at was happy to have me as a low-paid helper. The various journeyman glaziers I worked with had different ideas about how much they wanted to contribute to my education. It soon became obvious that some were happy to teach me about the craft, while others saw a new hire as a threat to their own livelihood. In their minds, it seemed, the knowledge they had acquired about the industry was something that needed to be guarded.
I was fortunate to have opportunities to work with some talented glaziers who contributed a great deal to my training. I found my place in the industry and went on to have some success as a journeyman. As an employee I came to realize that the culture of cooperation varied from one company to the next.
Later in my career, I started a glass shop of my own, and found that this was also true with the relationships local glass contractors had between each other. Some shops are willing to work together within the community, while others see competing companies as “the enemy.” I tend to view local shops more like competing teams in the same sport.
I’m happy to be finding more and more cooperation within the glass industry these days, especially in the shower door segment. As more shop owners and employees compare notes with each other, more creative ideas are being sparked. This is good for everyone; especially the customer. I think friendly competition is a great thing. It drives innovation forward.
Infighting and ego trips, on the other hand, do little to help anyone. Now, more than ever, it’s important to collaborate. However, it may not come naturally for all of us. If you aren’t a member of the Shower Door Professionals Group on Facebook you should check it out! It’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about... And as always, I’m interested in hearing your opinions.