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Planting For The Future

October 15, 2013

Dad, will we be able to climb these trees?

Well, your kids will be able to climb them.

Oh man! I hate delayed gratification!

My 13 year old son was helping me plant trees in our yard. We ordered 10 bare root maple trees. I’ve never really planted trees before. My neighbor has a beautiful yard, so I asked him.

It’s hard to say with bare root trees. I would plan on losing at least three quarters of them.

We read up on planting trees on the internet. My neighbor said soak the roots in a 5 gallon bucket for 48 hours. The internet said absolutely do not soak them for more than an hour. Summer schedules being weird, we ended up soaking them for 72 hours.

All nine of the maples grew. We’re now headed into the Utah winter. If they survive the winter I think we’re in good shape. We picked maples for the shade, but also for the leaf colors. 20131014-224659.jpg

And even at 3 feet high, they are not disappointing.

So, what does planting trees have to do with business and careers?
It struck me that even though we plan to stay in this house for years, we are really planting the trees for an uncertain future. Every time we’ve put down roots someplace, a job or some other factor has forced us to move. Right now the trees are not providing a bit of shade. Even next year and the year after that, they won’t be much more than spindly bean poles. It will probably be 4 our 5 years before they start to provide shade from the blistering Utah summer sun that beats on our South and West facing walls.

Is it worth planting them now, even knowing that we might not get to enjoy the results?

I recently started taking a PMP course. PMP stands for Project Manager Professional.


I’ve been working on projects for over 20 years. But, I never took the time to sit down and take the course and the exam. The course represents an investment of thousands of dollars. And just like with my trees, there is no guarantee that I’ll get to use the results of that training and certification.

However, just like my hope for my trees, I have hopes and plans that will be made easier with a PMP certification. I think most training, from a bachelors degree to certification training falls into this category. Training and education is planting for the future. It’s possible I’ll end up moving before my trees are big enough to provide the shade I planted them for. But, the effort will not have been wasted. The house will be more attractive (and cheaper to cool.) And if we do stay, someday my son may bring my grandkids here and say, “I helped your grandfather plant this tree.” At that point, I will get the payoff for planting for the future.

Incidentally, I said we planted ten trees and all nine maples grew. Turns out the 10th was an elm. Trust me, you do NOT want to cultivate elms in your yard.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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