Do You Own Your Tools?

October 7, 2009

I saw this tweet from @unclebobmartin the other day.

Uncle Bob Martin Tweet

Why do we feel like our company ought to buy our tools for us?

This is an interesting concept to me, because, as of late, I’ve been considering pimping my work area to be mine… just as any other craftsman might.

My dad is a skilled tradesman.  He’s a Mould Maker in a glass shop.  He’s been doing this for over 30 years… and he is what I’d call a master craftsman.  I asked about the idea of owning your own tools last weekend.  He nearly interrupted my question by saying:

Yeah, I’ve got about $6000 of my own tools.

I stood floored.  I had no idea.

Previously, I considered the idea to include things like my IDE (Visual Studio, since it is somewhat expensive), ReSharper, Profilers, Editors, Static Analysis Tools, and more.  I also feel like this applies to books (you do read [tech] books… right?).  Someone asked me the other day:

so how do you get SEP to just buy all of your books?

… uhhh, I don’t.  I use my own money.

I can only assume that all machinists have their *own *copy of the machinist handbook as well.

I actually do have my own copy of all the tools I [willingly] use every day.

Do you?

P.S.  I’ll leave you with one more thought.  I challenge you to add one more piece of equipment to your tool chest (or to at least think about it)…your dev machine.  Should your company provide you with a dev machine?  Why not?  Why so?  I had never considered this until I read this article talking about Hashrocket.  They all use their own machines!

I think my lack of skill in writing prose has caused some confusion or misunderstanding [Thanks for the feedback!  For Reals.]  This was really meant to be more about responsibility and craftsmanship than about money (or anything else).  The main thought I wanted to invoke was who’s responsibility is it to buy/make your tools?

I also did not try to infer that SEP doesn’t buy me all the things I need (I’m sure they would, in fact… I just wonder who’s responsibility it really is).

Sorry for any confusion.