One subject I want to talk about is your mental and physical health in/for the trade. Obviously; the line trade is a physical trade that includes climbing poles, lifting heavy objects, working long hours, working with your hands, and others. Your physical health is very important in this industry. It’s vital to take care of your physical health for your own good and to help the others around you. Staying fit, active and up to decent shape will only benefit you for your career path.
Your mental health is also important. Being a groundman, apprentice and even lineman; it’s important to have a good positive mental state of mind. It’s important because accidents tend to happen when your mind isn’t in the right place and you have things distracting you. It also puts your crew mates and others you’re working with in danger as well.
For example: Your 6 year relationship with your girlfriend ended, or your grandpa died. The only thing that occupies your mind is that… your ex girlfriend or grandpa. When you show up to work with a clouded mind and can’t focus on the job, it creates a hazardous work environment. You may have to take a few days or so; to refocus and get your mind right. Because that’s important. Especially in our line of work. Even though I’ve had times, grandparents dying, a crash and concussion, I’ve had to take time off work to get my mind right so I can focus when I go back to work. Don’t let your ego take a hold of you and tell you no. Let me tell you from personal experience; it’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
Another reason for a strong healthy mind is the long hours you might be working. With a healthy and strong mind it helps you with working long hours, overnight, or several days in a row! It may not seem like it, but if you have a stronger and healthier mind; working 6 days a week and 16 hr days becomes much more feasible without the needs of energy drinks, and/or drugs. Especially if you’re not used to long hours and days it can really affect you. Your ability to learn and remember is also a result of your mental state. When I think back on my struggles with my mindset; I had a hard time focusing, learning and remembering. Make it a priority to accept you’re not in your right mind.
It can be hard being a man and dealing with mental issues. We’ve been raised to think “I’m a man, I’m strong; I don’t need mental health or deal with my brain”. I myself always thought like that as well, but I’ve now realized that if something is occupying my brain and clouding my judgment it might affect my crew. I might make the wrong decisions (especially safety wise) when working on powerlines and hurt or kill myself or pole buddy! So I now think it’s a huge deal to have a clear mind and mentality before work. If you can’t leave your feelings at the gate, might as well turn around. Just make it a priority to take care of your state of mind!
For apprentices. Attitude and trying to learn are huge. It’s key that as an apprentice or groundman you are willing to at least try and especially learn. Iknow from a fact (in my opinion and others) that having a positive attitude, willing to learn and actually try in the field is a major bonus. EX: you’re framing a pole on the ground. I notice that you’re fighting putting on the pole ground. I notice at least you’re trying, and willing to put in the effort and maybe no one has really shown you a good way to do it yet. I’ll step in, ask you if there’s a problem (I already noticed, so I Know) and I’ll show you a good way to install the pole ground from my experience, so you can learn for next time.
This may not seem like a bonus in your eyes, because you “failed” but at least you learned something new. It also shows me that “hey at least he’s willing to try, and not just straight up ask me to do it”. That’s a good look to me and many other guys. I also recognize that you are willing to learn, try and accept constructive criticism. It goes a long way in my book (and many others) that you have that kind of mentality. Always be willing to accept different tricks (I do from apprentices even as a lineman). The more knowledge and tricks you have to get the job done easier and more efficiently, the better! Pick up on things you’ve never seen, and just get used to learning different ways to get the job done. There’s a saying we always use at work; “There’s a thousand ways to skin a cat”. Meaning there are usually many ways to do the job and they all lead to the same thing; getting the job done!