Three Lessons I Learned as a Laborer


talisen-servicesLong before the sun begins its travels across the sky I rise from my bed to begin the day. After I get dressed, making sure I have my work boots and Talisen t-shirt, it’s time to  take inventory of my tools. It’s important to make sure I have everything I need. While my hammer, utility knife, and power drill are all crucial to my job, these tools pale in importance beside the most essential instrument in my toolkit, my intellect.

Over the past three years, working as a laborer for Talisen Construction Corporation, I have learned how critical it is to use creative problem solving skills, a positive attitude, and a friendly disposition to accomplish the day-to-day goals that a job site demands. Each passing year adds a new tool to add to my skill set. These tools can be tangible, but most often, they’re the larger life lessons that tend to increase my personal experience and also enrich the world around me. This is what I love about working for Talisen.

Lesson #1: Every Day Brings a New Lesson

My first experiences as a laborer were difficult to say the least. As a nineteen year old in 2012, I was a young man in a young company. Many days I came home from work sore, bruised, and more than a little worried about what the next day might bring. However, I also felt a sense of accomplishment that I had rarely experienced before. Those first days as a laborer taught me the value of perseverance and hard work. They also showed me the importance of being part of a team. Sure, anyone can swing a hammer with all their strength, but to get the job done, you need to know where and how to swing the hammer.

Learning takes time. This can be frustrating, as there are many new things to learn when you’re a laborer. However,  I constantly reminded myself that without a desire to learn new things, everything in life would be easy. The Talisen team helped me understand this. Along the road my fellow laborers and supervisors have been there to give me small pointers that have gone a long way. They also helped me have patience with myself so that I can learn and contribute to the greater good. It’s an environment where  I feel like part of a larger organization that is striving to set a standard of excellence.

Lesson #2: Unity & Trust Are a Laborer’s Most Important Tools

In the beginning of my career, I believed I was supposed to be an almost invisible presence on the job site – there to do the work, of course, but not to be seen and certainly not to be heard. But then I learned  how important Talisen’s laborers and supervisors are to client relations. Construction sites are always busy, but I’ve learned that it is important to sometimes put that in-a-hurry mentality aside and take the time to have a conversation with an elevator operator, carpenter, plumber, or electrician.  These conversations often include suggestions from my coworkers that make it possible for me to do my job better. Sure, anyone can lift a heavy object, but a cohesive team lifts that object in half the time and with twice the motivation.

Sometimes the days are long, brutal, sweaty, and dust covered, but ironically, those days build the best relationships. At the end of a hard day, we all know we’re one step closer to a beautiful finished project. This is the second lesson I learned as a laborer: unity and trust from the beginning to the end make a difference. As I added the tool of trust-building to my toolkit, every task now seemed meaningful and important..

I also began to realize that much of the clients’ interactions with myself and others on the job site was an integral part of building a project not only for the projects’ sake, but to enhance others lives. A new office, or a school, or even a staircase provides clients with an opportunity to open up new worlds that can benefit  everyone in New York City and beyond.

Lesson #3: The Most Important Tool is a Sense of Purpose

Building great buildings is not enough. Working at Talisen, I learned to  dream of the next level. More important than even the most spectacular building is understanding the people  it will touch.

In the beginning stages of demolition it may be hard to envision what the final project might look like, so instead I picture what it might create. Ripping down a wall in a school might give students more room to do science experiments that will one day lead to new discoveries. Renovating an office can give the next great innovator room to think.

Working for Talisen I can appreciate what I am helping to create and I can dream about what I might help create in the future. That is what Talisen helped me to learn as a laborer, and that is what is great about being a part of the Talisen team.