People crave relationships. After the necessities of life are attained (air, food, and drink) good relationships come into focus. We were created for relationships. Working on relationships consumes much of our lives. Even though loggers work in the woods away from most people we still spend a lot of time working on relationships. We all know that if we have relationship problems especially with the opposite sex it can consume our thoughts and energy. During safety training we are encouraged to leave our personal issues off the job but we all know that is impossible. That’s how much relationships affect our lives. Even if we have a hard time relating to people, we still end up having relationships with our pets. I think that’s why I have two dogs that go to work with me every day.
What I want to discuss today is our professional relationships and how they’ve changed over the years. Today we are experiencing three to four different generations of loggers and other professionals in our industry working together. It’s interesting how the different generations relate to one another and how our culture has changed the way we treat each other and the value we place on each other. The way we view relationships depends on what generation we are in and what we expect from one another.
My grandfather’s generation that built our industry into a mechanized work place “The builder generation”. Their relationships were strictly business. Most of their generation acted honorably because it was the right thing to do. They operated out of a sense of duty. Not that they didn’t value people or relationships, but they had a job to do and a moral code they operated on for the betterment of the company or industry. This has made the work environment as stable and predictable as it could be.
As the years went by my dad’s generation took the reins of the industry and took it to the next level “The baby boom generation”. In a lot of ways this generation has made our industry what it is today. We see the relationships turning into a more self serving role. How can I get ahead? I don’t care who I need to step on to get to where I want to be. This has made our work place and industry unpredictable. Not that the boomers don’t care about people, but it is a different set of values based on a focus on self rather than the betterment of the company or industry.
Now as my dad’s generation is getting ready to retire my generation is in our forties and ready to take the reins of the industry “generation X”. We, because of experiencing the two generations before us and seeing the benefits and downsides to both, crave something different. We value the personal side of relationships more than just the strictly business or what is best for me. We want to win, but experience a win for both parties.
Think about it. What would our relationships and our industry look like if we did what Jesus and our moms told us to do? Could our business and our industry be better? Could we get a win/ win not just because it was the right thing to do or because it would be best for my personal interests? There is no one right way to evaluate relationships. You see things through a lens of your personal experiences and from how and when you were raised. I think we would all do better if we applied “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31.
Richard Schwab is the Procurement Manager for M.A. Rigoni, Inc., a full service timber harvesting and forest management company located in Perry, Florida.
The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.amloggers.com or contact their office at 409-625-0206.