Good Enough

Tapered Cabinet by Gary Rogowski

As a furniture maker of a few years time, I realized something important about my work. Oftentimes my clients wouldn’t notice the extra work I had put into pieces. Some times they noticed things that were just so automatic for me that I barely thought of them and then they missed the really fine work I had done.

My realization was that I had to pick my moments on some pieces. Sometimes I needed to do the extra work to make it just so, whether or not the client would see it. Other times, I could do very good work and the client would still be blown away. Good enough wasn’t a diminishing of my standards but an understanding of what I would and would not be paid for.

Sometimes I just had to fuss over a hidden detail just because. The deal I made with myself was to say it’s okay to be this obsessive/ compulsive craftsman as long as you know you won’t get paid for it. Except by yourself. No bitching about how much you’re making or losing on this piece. If you want it to be good enough for your high standards that this hour is free. So that was the bargain. No complaining about not getting paid for time that the client hadn’t asked for but that I had to give. And at other times, I would be just good enough to fool everyone, but me.

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2 Responses to Good Enough

  1. Matthew says:

    Well said. You are fortunate to have the luxury of the choice to obsess. Savor it!


  2. Joe Newman says:

    There is a terrific moment in the biographical novel The Agony and the Ecstasy when Michelangelo is criticized by his patron for spending too much time on details up in the hidden corners of the Sistine Chapel’ ceiling. The patron asks him why he is wasting his time (and the patron’s money) where no one will even know what it looks like. Michelangelo’s (imagined) reply: “God will know and I will know.”


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