I’ve been working as a dairy clerk for over a year now. It’s probably one of the hardest jobs, other than being a mom, that I’ve ever had. When people ask why I’m so sore or tired, I tell them “you know how you go to the gym and work out? Now imagine doing that every day for 7 hours a day.”
I just turned fifty in June, and I’m probably in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in. I’ve got muscles that I never knew existed, and my husband is a bit jealous of my defined “guns.” He goes to the gym five days a week and doesn’t have the definition that I do. Of course, I’m 5’10” and on a good day top out at 130lbs. It’s just the way I’m built. In fact, I’ve taken to snacking all day at work just to keep the weight on. Crazy, right?
But this morning, as I went to work on a Saturday (something I hate), I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.
On top of being a physically demanding job, it’s also a thankless job. You rarely get a “good job” from upper management, and the pay is well, let’s just say I’m no Rockefeller. It’s a Blue Collar job. I shouldn’t expect much, I guess.
So, as I was walking to work, it was already 90 degrees at noon, and I passed two gentlemen patching a pothole in the parking lot. They were dressed head to toe in thick, neon, coveralls, and were shoveling asphalt and manually packing it down in the heat of the day. We exchanged a polite “hello,” and I was immediately struck by the dichotomy of our situations: they were probably boiling in the sun, while I was headed for a day of work in the freezer. Both equally uncomfortable working conditions.
I want to give everyone something to think about: Blue Collar jobs are generally hard. They are usually underpaid, though not always. They take a toll on your body. I want to say a public “thank you” to all those who take the “menial jobs” so that the rest of us can be comfortable.
The trash collectors, the fast food workers, the farm workers, the dishwashers, cashiers, food bussers, ditch diggers, jobs in production, etc.
Fortunately, many blue collar jobs are finally getting paid what they’re worth. But that pay doesn’t take away the stigma that many of those workers endure. Our society raises white collar jobs far above blue collar jobs. Not everyone is cut out for office work. Everyone has their reason for why they may not have gotten a college education. You don’t know their backstory. They may be the sharpest person in the class, but for some reason never had a chance to get that education.
Just remember to say “thank you” to ANYONE who provides a service for you. ANYONE. I promise you that your thanks will go a long way to make them feel appreciated.