Be positive, even when you are not.
It was the middle of August and I was working my first real hard job.
They had taken us up in trucks through a deep valley and into the back mountains of Revelstoke, British Columbia. We were brushing, which means you get a small blade and slowly climb over bramble and rocks and fallen trees, cutting away overgrown grass from newly planted trees.
This was our first day brushing, my friend and I. We were terrible at it. And had a lot to prove to the foreman.
Three things that define brushing:
- The mountains are burning hot and you sweat and climb.
- It’s fieldwork. Steady and paid by quantity of work.
- It’s hard, boring, and tiring work.
By the end of the first day, my friend and I climbed off the cutblock and walked along the mountain road. We were tired and walked slow.
The truck appeared around the corner. My friend gave me this piece of advice which has helped me all my career. He said, “run and look positive.”
At the end of a long day, you expect a worker to be sluggish and complaining about their blistered feet. You don’t expect them to run down the mountains and jump into the truck happy and energetic.
So we jogged towards the truck. I didn’t feel like running. I wanted to complain about how hard the day was, how hot the day was, how much brushing sucked.
This impressed the foreman. At the end of the contract, he shook our hands and told us we could come back anytime for a job.
This taught me four career lessons: