Out of Office: My Woodworking Hobby


Out of Office: My Woodworking Hobby

We're more than just InterWorkers with mad professional skills. We also have hobbies, and this blog series explores what they are and how they help us stay healthy and grounded.

So far, the spring of 2020 has been defined by the global pandemic of COVID-19. The world is being strongly encouraged to stay home, and a large part of the global workforce is working from home. And while this moment certainly has its challenges and fears, it also carries hope and brings unexpected opportunity to rest and recharge.

Working, and Hobbying, from Home

All this extra time on our hands has allowed us to discover new interests, reacquaint ourselves with old hobbies we stopped having time for and generally grow and change as people. That’s what this blog series is about, and our first hobbyist to share is Regional IT Practice Lead, Keith Johnson.

Below are questions you’ll see throughout the blog series accompanied by each contributor’s answers. Enjoy!

Q: What is one hobby you really enjoy?

I like woodworking and building stuff, particularly taking things apart and re-purposing them instead of trashing them.

Above: An Oklahoma art piece created from old pallets

Q: What do you find so fulfilling or rewarding about this hobby?

The main reason I find it fulfilling is because I’m able to take a thing that was once something else—a tree, an existing piece of furniture, a pallet, etc.—and I can transform it into something useful, purposeful or beautiful. Being able to add that human touch of crafting something handmade, not mass produced in a factory by machines, makes it even more special. Plus, it’s a practice in sustainability to take perfectly good wood and salvageable furniture and give them a second act.

I enjoy making stuff that will last for years and not break or wear out like most things that are mass produced. It’s rewarding to create something of high quality like that and iterate and adjust from people’s feedback to make projects even better. It’s also a big plus when I’m able to gift the things I make to other people or donate to charities. And it’s fun!

Above: An oriole feeder I’ve built since the COVID-19 quarantine began

Q: How is this hobby helping you during this time of quarantine and social distancing?

At this point, I don’t really have much to do after work, and I have plenty of stockpiled materials. Essentially, it’s a really great way to keep your mind off looking at COVID data or checking the news. Also, it serves as an opportunity to get family members involved with projects, even simple things like helping take measurements, teaching proper use of power tools (because who doesn’t like power tools), generating ideas, nailing, screwing, gluing, etc.

Above: The top image is a reclaimed beam I used to create the mantel in the lower photo.

Q: How does this hobby help you in your day-to-day role at InterWorks?

Problem solving and creative solutions. I have come up with some crazy complicated ideas and sometimes will spend days or weeks thinking about how to solve a design problem or create a solution. I have found that correlates almost seamlessly with work. We have frequent crazy complicated issues that arise, and they require a solution to a problem. I feel that this hobby keeps those cognitive processes and actions sharper and clearer since they are similar in nature.

Q: Why is it important to have hobbies/personal projects?

I feel it’s important because everyone needs a win. Some days, you may feel defeated or stressed, and your hobbies are there to help take your mind off things or allow you to step back and look at things from a different angle. Plus, it’s something that YOU are doing. That’s enjoyable and fulfilling for your own self-enhancement or gratification.

Q: What has this taught you about yourself? What can hobbies in general teach us about ourselves?

I’m not sure what it has taught me about myself. I guess I’ve never really thought it has taught me anything other than helped me recognize I have this internal drive or passion to create/recreate/build things. I think at the end of the day, hobbies teach all of us that we each have some form of talent, strength and energy that—in whichever way you choose—needs an outlet. And those outlets take shape in your hobbies!

More About the Author

Keith Johnson

IT Lead
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Out of Office: My Woodworking Hobby So far, the spring of 2020 has been defined by the global pandemic of COVID-19. The world is being strongly encouraged to stay home, ...

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