So if you have been keeping up with my posts recently, you know that working in the tree service industry has really been affecting my life lately and leaving me in so much pain sometimes that I can’t sleep. I still am embarrassed to be bringing this up and already looking for professional help at my age. I don’t think my grandpa or dad ever looked for help when they were growing up, probably doing twice the work that I ever do on any given day but it is what it is. I talked to my wife and she has been really supporting and kept encouraging me to at least make an appointment and see if there is anything I can do to help alleviate the pain a little bit. So after a little convincing from my wife I realized it would be stupid to not at least go get an opinion just because of my ego so I made an appointment for yesterday and gave it a shot.
I really hate going to the doctor or any hospital for any reason. Does anyone else just get this immediate creepy feeling walking into them? Maybe it’s just me…
So How Did it Go?
So I will admit, the doctor was super friendly and really made me feel better about the whole thing. I think she got the hint in the first 5 minutes that I was embarrassed to have to be getting help at my age with body aches when people in their 50’s work just as hard as I do at my job. I was only in the room for about 20 minutes and it was over. She took X-rays of my back to see if I had any torn ligaments or whatever it was that she was looking for and are still waiting for those results but for the most part, it sounds like there isn’t that much I can do to directly ease my back pain. She prescribed me some extra strength pain killers and wanted to give me muscle relaxers but I really don’t want to be on any prescription medication just yet.
We Are Living At a Scary Time…
Is it just me, or is everything cured by some magic pill these days? After going to the doctor I watched this documentary online that I think was called Generation X. It was about how frequently and common it is now to be giving young kids prescription medication. And I mean young kids, like 3 and 4 years old. The documentary focused on medication for behavior and stuff like adderall and risperdol, not pain relievers like I was almost put on but the idea is the same. When people go to the doctor these days, I feel like it has just become protocol to ask about symptoms, write a few notes, and hand over a prescription for some pill that will make you feel better.
Aren’t we supposed to be against drugs? Why is it that if you are in the streets selling some drug that makes you feel better you are a criminal and can lose your FREEDOM over it, but if you work for some billion dollar company and wear a suit and tie while you’re pushing your drugs you get multi-million dollar bonuses and a private island. Alright, maybe not an island but I’m sure they could afford it at this point.
Do they not see how many lives are being ruined by addiction and how prevalent this seems to be? If you put a child on a drug that alters their state of mind as they are growing and developing, how on earth do you think they are going to adjust to not being on these drugs when they are older if that’s all they have ever known? Do we just leave them on the drugs forever? I’m sure that’s what these pharmaceutical companies are pushing for and are just creating these life-time customers that are hooked on their product. I think this problem is becoming bigger than cigarettes or maybe even alcohol, but what do I know?
I really am starting to worry for our kids generation and the direction that everything in this country is heading… Am I just being paranoid?
Let’s just hope I’m not this guy by my next post… Stay tuned to find out!
As you know by now, or maybe you don’t if this is your first visit, I work at a tree care company for a living and it can be quite a physical job. When I come home at night, sometimes it is hard for me to sleep because of the constant back and body aches. My back and shoulders have been giving me the most trouble. I have never had any serious back or shoulder injuries while working, but they are constantly worked and have pressure being put on them. I threw out my back one year and it was probably the worst pain I have ever been through. I don’t know if it’s ever happened to you, but I really wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. You honestly cannot move a muscle when it’s at its worst. I couldn’t leave my couch for almost 3 weeks. I can’t imagine that it was enough to affect me for the rest of my life, but it did not help.
OW MY BACK! MY BACK!
This is exactly what I look like every day … In my 20’s …
My father and grandpa were more of men than I think I ever will be because I’m already starting to worry that this job may be too much for me to handle in the long run. I think the worst parts of my job for my body that is doing the most damage would probably be tree removals. If you’re interested, check out this website from a company in Washington DC to get a little idea of what we have to go through. The pictures and descriptions you see online don’t do the actual labor justice. When we have to do big removals, people don’t realize how much we have to cut and remove from the tree before we can even think about removing the entire tree. Using our harnesses while cutting branches is a lot harder than it looks online.
I consider myself to be in fairly good shape and healthier than the average American (unfortunately, that’s not saying much), so I wonder why the pain I am finding myself in seems to be so much worse than other people I have talked to around my age. Am I just a weaker person than everyone around me? Oh God I hope not.
Therapy Already? Really??
I have been talking to my wife about this and she keeps trying to encourage me to seek some sort of physical therapy exercises and see if this helps. I’ve looked up a few forums and websites about it and I’m kind of thinking about giving them a try. I’m wondering if anyone reading this out there has had any experience in doing anything like this or if there is anything that you’ve done that’s helped you out?
I really feel like I’m letting my family down even by typing all of this out and considering other options as far as my career goes. It’s always been in my family to work blue collar jobs and to be the typical “guys guy” and I don’t know where I would even begin if I were to start looking elsewhere. Am I really on the path to a computer desk job that I have always been so terrified of having? God I hope not…
Hello everybody and thanks for coming back, or welcome if this is your first visit. So if you read my last blog post, you know that I have been worrying a lot about having kids in the future. My wife and I have talked about it and we both really do eventually want to have kids, but my wife would prefer it to be sooner rather than later. I’ve been reaching out and talking to her about my concerns and she has been super supportive of me which I was actually pretty surprised at. I knew she would be supportive but I thought my worries would freak her out a little bit more than it did. Needless to say I was very pleasantly surprised. She really helped talk me off the ledge so to speak and put a lot of my worries at ease. We will be having kids in the future and even though the thought still terrifies me, I am starting to feel better and even excited about it.
Thanks Simon, I need all the encouragement I can get.
Born and Raised in One Place…
Alright enough about the baby talk. So while thinking so much about whether or not I want kids, my mind started to drift and I was thinking about how different my life would be if I were born somewhere, or all of a sudden decided to move somewhere else. I was born and raised here and never even moved to a different house until I was 18. It’s a smaller town but not quite a ghost town (unless you’re from one of the bigger cities, then it would probably terrify you). I’ve always been kind of curious about what it would be like to live in a big city and if I would like it. It’s totally cliche and probably expected, but I think if I had to choose a new city to live in, my top 3 would probably be..
- Austin, Texas
- New York City, New York
- San Diego, California
I am going to sound like a loser but I have to get this out of the way and confess… I have never even left the state. I know, I know I am a loser farm boy that has an accent and wears a cowboy hat and overalls with straw hanging from my mouth, right? No, I am not that bad but I do feel like kind of like a southern guy from what I’ve heard. I obviously have never been to Austin but from what I’ve heard, Austin is a big fun city with that southern feel to it that I think I would really love. I was browsing around the internet and found this TripAdvisor article that gave the top 10 thing to do in Austin and it looks awesome. I’m not a huge partier or anything like that, but if I were to vacation here I could see myself going a little crazy and loving it.
Will This Be My Life Forever?
I don’t know if I am going through a mid-life crisis or what, but I’ve really been pondering a lot about my life and what the future has in store for me. In all reality, I am 99% sure that I will die in this same small town after raising my family and watching my future children grow up. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and beautiful wife and wouldn’t abandon her for anything. But I can’t help but have these curiosities in the back of my mind wondering what would have been if I didn’t decide to stay in my home town. I don’t think I’ll ever know and should probably stop scaring myself so much. These thoughts are normal right? Please let these thoughts be normal…
So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of father I am going to be. I think (at least I hope) that it’s normal, but these questions will not stop repeating themselves in my head every day…
-Do I make enough money to support a family?
-Will I be careless?
-Do I even want kids?
-How am I going to handle disciplining my kid?
-Am I going to look like this?
-Am I going to raise a serial killer?
Alright maybe not so much the last one but I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of starting to freak myself out. I have always had dogs when I was growing up and even when I was a little kid, I was really good at and loved taking care of my dogs. They were my whole world at the time and I loved them like I think I would my children. I know people without dogs won’t ever understand and the same can be said about me and having children, but the bond I shared with my dogs was stronger than I ever thought it could be.
I obviously know that parenting is a million times more difficult and important than owning a dog and that is another reason I’m starting to panic. Raising dogs was amazing and wouldn’t have changed it for the world, but it wasn’t exactly easy. Between training and finding dog sitters and watching 24/7 when they were puppies; it took a lot of work and responsibility. I don’t know if I can handle the responsibility of being a father and don’t know if I ever want to. I hope that doesn’t sound as selfish as I am reading it to be.
Why the All of a Sudden Freak Out?
So I’ve always had these thoughts in my head as I am sure most people do. The other day though, I was at a friend of mine’s house and he is pretty rich. Rich enough to have had an in ground pool custom built a few years back. So while we were outside drinking a few beers, I noticed he had a fence installed around his pool. It wasn’t a strong metal material or anything like that but looked like this kind of a pool fence. I will say it was stronger than I thought it would be. I think it’s definitely not for decorations but as a barrier for his kids.
So obviously this was a very responsible thing for my friend to have done but I am sure it wasn’t cheap. And that’s where the questions in my head started to get louder and louder. Am I going to be able to afford things like this if I have kids? Will I be able to protect my kids from dangers around the house?
Want to know the worst part of seeing that fence? I thought it was ugly and wouldn’t want something like that in my pool. It’s all I would look at and notice and would drive me crazy. So now I’m wondering if I am even willing to make such small and silly sacrifices to my life and have kids. Because what I’ve learned is that once you have kids, it’s over. Everything you do and work for isn’t for you anymore; it’s for your kids.
Hopefully I am still a little young and these fears will pass as I get older but for now it’s really starting to scare me. I think there’s a little more fun to be had before I am mature enough to dedicate my life and everything I do to my children.
I really hope everyone reading this knows where that picture came from. If you don’t you need to move out from under your rock and go watch the movie Office Space. One of my all time favorites.
So anyways, I kind of feel like the title of this post is something that everyone is able to relate to, at least at some point in their lives. We have all had a boss that we cannot stand and really makes it hard to stay motivated. Luckily, we got a new head manager at the company that I work for and he is a million times better than the guy we had before. He is a younger guy and this is his first management position so I think he is trying to be more friendly with us than bossy which I really appreciate. At the same time, we respect his position and know what we can and can’t get away with. After working for a complete jerk for many years, anyone that is even remotely relate able to is a breath of much needed fresh air. I get it, being the boss and having much more responsibilities can take its toll on anyone and being a little bit on edge is totally natural and to be expected for anyone. But I really do not understand those people that take on a leadership role and it’s like a switch went off in their head and they feel absolutely compelled to be the biggest jerk to everyone around you to establish their role as the boss. We know you’re in charge and I’m sorry to be the one to tell this to you this, but you are a human being just like the rest of us.
Why The Need to Be Mean?
So I have always kind of wondered whether mean people tend to just have the personality of a jerk and they want to be a boss, or if being a boss slowly turns you into a sour person. I hope that made as much sense in my head as it does written out.
I actually read an interesting article online about why your boss can be mean here http://time.com/3611459/boss-mean-jerk/ and I think it raises a good point. The jist of the article was that a lot of the time your boss is a jerk because of their home life and they are taking it out on their employees, rather than the stress of the actual position. Although I think this very well may be true, I don’t think it’s an excuse at all. We all have personal lives outside of our job and we learn how to deal with it on our own time and not bring it into the workplace. I think the same especially needs to apply to bosses or people in leadership roles. Yes, your job is more stressful than the people you are in charge of but you chose to accept this position and you need to adapt to the changes just like the rest of us. If you can’t handle the stress of your home life without taking out the aggression on your employees, then maybe it’s time you take a step back and really think if it is right for you.
I think bosses that bring in a toxic vibe to the workplace can be detrimental to any business and just makes productivity slower and worse. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this as much anymore and feel bad for anyone reading this that has to deal with it. Hang in there my friends and don’t let a bosses attitude effect your daily life.
My Worst Injury
Being in the tree service industry, there comes a lot of danger with the territory. Luckily, I have only had one serious injury on the job but have seen and heard of countless stories. The one serious injury I had was a fractured elbow on the job. It was 3 years ago and we were doing a pretty typical tree trimming on a house only a few miles away from mine. My buddy Eric and I were harnessed about 15 feet up in a tree and were working with pruning saws on separate branches.
(That isn’t actually me in the picture but just wanted to give you an idea of what I do and what happened that day.)
A standard thing to do is tie up or somehow attach the branch we are cutting to something to prevent it from falling straight down and landing on someone or something. My back was turned to him working on my branch when all of a sudden I just felt this intense smash on the back of my left elbow which was bent in an L shape. The support harness on Eric’s branch wasn’t tied up tight enough on one side and when the cut was done it fell down and swung directly into my elbow, shattering the bone. I had never had any broken bones or sprains before this and it’s weird but when it happened I immediately knew it was broken but the initial pain wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. So luckily I didn’t panic or freak out in the tree which really could have caused more damage but I was able to remain calm and get myself lowered down before anything else happened. Needless to say I was out for a few weeks but luckily it was my left elbow so I could still manage do some ground work and help with cleanup on jobs so I didn’t have to go on disability leave or not work for too long. I will say that although it’s obviously a bad thing that I got hurt so bad on the job, it really made me even more grateful when I healed up and was more motivated to work. I am really not one to just sit around and do nothing all day so it felt good to feel that and still want to get out and work more.
I actually have a cousin that works in the same business as I do and every time we get together we always share our stories and can relate to each other. He works at http://www.treecarefortwayne.com/ which is a smaller company like mine so we definitely have similar experiences. His worst story is of him dislocating his shoulder one time on a job site and had to take off about as much time as I did. I hope he doesn’t read this but he’s a little bit lazier than I am and soaked up every second of his time off. He tried everything he could to extend his leave time and I think he may have even faked some of the pain he was in to stay out of work longer.
I don’t know how so many people are like him and just always want to take the easiest way out of everything and want everything handed to them. I guess it probably has a lot to do with how they were raised and what value they put on hard work. I can’t imagine raising my kids this way and they will not be raised to take the easy way out if I have anything to do with it.
My Career and Work Ethic
So if you’re reading this you probably read my introduction and know that I do not live the typical corporate life and job that most people my age have. My father works in construction and my grandfather worked for a steel and electric company. They have always instilled in me the value of hard work and were always the guy’s guy type of men. That’s why I think I got into the tree service business. Although it really has nothing to do with the jobs that they both held, it is very hands on work and very demanding. There are nights that I go to bed in so much pain that I wonder if I made the right choice. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I am very proud of the work that I’ve done, but I just get worried about the damage that I’m doing to my body. My dad does, and grandfather did, suffer from pretty bad arthritis in pretty much most of their body. Granted my father is now 68 years old and that is something to be expected, but seeing him in the pain that he is in and the pain that I am already feeling kind of worries me. It’s funny though, although it’s obvious of how uncomfortable and how much pain my dad is in all the time, he never shows it or complains about it to anyone.
Why Did I Choose Tree Service?
As far as why I specifically went into the tree service business, I don’t really have an answer. I didn’t always know this was what I was going to be doing and I never really had plans to do anything when I was growing up. I did know however, that I did not want an office job sitting at a computer all day. The movie Office Space summed up my worries perfectly and I was not going to be that guy. When I was 15, my parents decided it was time for me to get a job and learn what it means to work. I applied at a local park doing grounds work and landscaping. What I loved most about it was being outside and doing manual labor like my father and grandfather. The park hired an outside tree service company that I’m not going to name, to do work on the bigger trees and if there was any damage from storms or things like that. I actually became friends with one of the workers that worked at the park pretty frequently and when I turned 18 I went to work for the same company full time. I still remember the feeling of excitement I felt when I was hired. It felt like I had finally become a man and was starting a real career. When I went home to tell my parents they were very proud of me and supported me 100%. My dad actually knew one of the guys that worked for the company so he was excited that I was going to be learning a trade from one of his friends. I think I do what I do because of the work ethic and mentality my dad has and I just want to make him proud. I will probably be working in the tree service business until I can’t walk anymore and as long as it’s enough to provide for my wife, I’ll work through the pain and push through.
I’m excited to start writing and hope you guys stay tuned for updates to my blog.