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.