Men and Their Chainsaws


By Phil Harwood

Last fall, a tree fell down and blocked my driveway. I was working from home that day and was looking forward to cleaning up the tree with my new Stihl chainsaw that evening. You’ll never believe what happened next…

I went out to reassess the situation before getting my chainsaw. Walking down the driveway, I was surprised to see that several of my neighbors had already cut up the tree with their chainsaws. I walked up to thank them and help clean up. We all had a good laugh about “men and their chainsaws.”

Now, let me say that not only men can run a chainsaw; there are many women who are quite capable. I just haven’t encountered one in my neighborhood yet. My comment about “men and their chainsaws” was related to my experience in my neighborhood with my tree. Capiche?

So, what is it about a chainsaw that is so attractive, and is there a correlation between what makes work, in general, attractive? I’ve been reflecting on this question as I’ve become more and more enthralled with my chainsaw. With several acres of woods and over a mile of trails to maintain on our property, my chainsaw has become a good friend. What is the deal with men and their chainsaws?

First and foremost, chainsaw work is highly rewarding. Results are seen immediately. Whether a tree is dropped to the ground or a downed tree is chopped up into logs for splitting firewood, there’s a deep sense of satisfaction that is generated. The correlation to work, in general, is obvious. When our work is rewarding and satisfying to our soul, it’s highly attractive.

Second, chainsaw work makes a big impact on the surroundings. A small amount of effort results in something very meaningful. The impact of my neighbors clearing my driveway is something I’ll remember for a long time. Taking down a dangerous tree or branch over the house provides safety and comfort. When our work has impact and meaning, it is more attractive.

Finally, chainsaw work is done with a great deal of freedom and autonomy. Nobody is looking over your shoulder telling you what to cut or how to make the cut. You are the boss and have authority to do what you think is best. When we have the freedom to work in the manner of our choosing, we enjoy our work and it’s more attractive to us.

Think about your work. Think about working for you. What steps can you take to make it more rewarding, satisfying, impactful, meaningful, and more autonomous? Surely there is one step you can take right now to move in this direction. If you’re drawing a blank, ask your people. They’ll tell you. If all else fails, buy some chainsaws. You’ll see what I mean.

Now go forth.

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