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Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 1

Here we go again. Another adventure. Together we will explore the otherwise uncharted. We are about to embark upon a venture into the unknown and unexplored. You and I are going to consider the back and forth of 50 years in our (my) shared profession. This will be my “diography,” a diary and a bit of biography. Hence the invention of a word never before coined and begging interpretation. Expect a definition. My definition? The back and forth of then and now.


By the way, this column is about management, right? Don’t be surprised that interwoven and hidden within the text will be relevant lessons on such. There will be hidden gems for the ardent geologist willing to pick away at this series month after month. What follows will not be for the faint of heart. You will have to be willing to invest 5 minutes of reading a month to keep pace. A paltry fee to pay since the story took 50 years and untold hours to write. If you don’t read on, it wasn’t written for you anyway so simply turn the page. However, those who proceed will reap the reward, those who don’t won’t. It’s that simple.


We are moving forward. The content herein is so personal and valuable that I retain all rights to what follows, and the publisher should recognize that. This has been the case from the beginning of my writings, as was discussed. Consider this a loan—with dividends, not a purchase. It is too valuable to sacrifice for the mere pittance of a one-time compensation. It will one day be elaborated on and become a book. And it is book-worthy indeed and well worth the read, both now and then.


Furthermore, what follows will not be politically or culturally correct, but it will be correct. I can’t afford to parse words out of needless sympathy. Though I will try my best not to offend, it will be my view of my life as a “drywaller” without apology. Read on at your own risk and, moreover, benefit.


Now, three quotes, elaborated on based on where we left off last month. My current reflection, one at a time.


“Hire teenagers while they still know everything.” Dumb and dumber. This is the personification of naivety. Oh, how ignorant we are about the future. Utterly mistaken in most cases. Too often our plans and ideas are completely ridiculous and based on false assumptions, as were mine.


Such ignorance is not limited to any age group. However, you are more prone to it the younger you are. At 16 I was as prone to it as one can be. Though my true dream and strength was to write, my future was drywall. I could never have survived otherwise. Divine providence would have it that I struck it rich by happening on a profession that turned out to be a gold mine, and I was able to incorporate my writing (my first love) into it. Looking back, I realize now more than ever that plenty of what I thought would be unnecessary and irrelevant in school was actually critically important to my future.


“You don’t know what you don’t know.” All too true. The quote seems too obvious for interpretation. Just read it again and realize its plain-spoken truth. Nobody knows everything about anything, and you don’t know what you don’t know. True enough.


Make some space for that consideration. We have a lot to learn at age 16 and at 61. At the risk of being a bit too repetitive, this is completely true on several levels. Take that into consideration. Don’t be too sure you know what you think you know. Otherwise you may well find yourself on futile pathway, far from your intended destination.


“I have determined and deem it so, the more you learn, the less you know.” Much of true education is unlearning what you think you know. It is at times a rude awakening but well worth waking up to, since it is the truth. This particular quote is mine; I discovered and wrote it in 1978. The revelation jumped off the page and into my brain, or vice versa. We need as much unlearning of what we think we know as well as we need to learn what we don’t currently know.

Ponder that for the next month, and I’ll get back to you.

Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. He is known for his original thought, innovative approach and the personal development of unique processes, systems and procedures. He is available for consultation, business management seminars and training. Visit him on LinkedIn or contact him at

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