Saturday, September 11, 2010
The Hoover Dam was built in five years, three shifts working 24 hours a day. The men did not have days off. It was said that if you weren't dead you better get to work. Babies or men, that's all there were on the dam. Meaning, if you cried about how hard things were, you were fired. And if you were a man, you took the work and shut up.
Yet Leonardo da Vinci, the godfather of water theory, noted this in his Treatise on Painting, "...it is well that you should often leave off work and take a little relaxation because when you come back to it you are a better judge."
Had some of the men building the dam taken breaks from their work, perhaps the percentage of accidents would have been less. There were supposedly less than 100 men killed in all five years, which is a fairly good record, considering the danger at hand. However, there were many more men that became ill, whether from dysentery (bad water and food) heat exhaustion or carbon monoxide poisoning. There is of course no record of the illnesses such as these, since if a man wasn't dead he was presumed to be working.
To be a better judge of circumstances regarding work, means really to be a better judge of what's good for you, what's good for the environment, what's good for the job at hand. Given, the dam is a miracle, built by those who worked nonstop, it's a wonder. Yet someday we may look upon the dam like we gaze upon the pyramids, and in this wonder, because of this wonder, we will find the time to relax, if only for a moment.