The Lost Art of Being an Apprentice

Aaron McHugh

There are a few remaining trades that still require a season of designated apprenticeship.  When I think of those industries Electricians, Architects, and Engineers come to mind.


There was a time in our history where it was expected that the Apprentice would work side-by-side the Craftsman.

Today, it seems that everyone knows everything there is to know about everything.

Or so they say.  Really?

What happened to the humility required to accept the position of Apprentice?

I believe as the Industrial Age shifted away from craftsmanship to factory production, we lost the vital role of the apprenticeship.

Today, I rarely meet anyone, young or old, male or female that takes on the posture of an Apprentice.  Although there may not be a formal program like those in the Trades it should not prohibit you from considering enrolling yourself in an apprenticeship role.

Humility is the first ingredient required.

Second is a watchful eye and desire to find a Craftsman to shadow.  Have you encountered the saying “When the student is ready the teacher will appear“?

The lost art of being an Apprentice should be reclaimed.  Not through our school systems, not by the Trade industries, but by you and I.

One of my favorite apprenticeships is under Vance Brown.  Today, he is CEO of Cherwell Software.  I had the privilege of formerly working under him for a few years in a software start-up.  I took the job because he was the teacher, the Craftsman, the guy who had more miles on the odometer than me.

Takes the pressure off

As the Apprentice, it takes the pressure off from having to have the right answer all of the time.  Your job shifts to being responsible for asking questions.  Instead of mastery you learn and absorb what you will need for the future day when it is your responsibility to know the answer.

Start with a willingness and humility to become the Apprentice.  Then open your eyes and watch the Craftsman appear.

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