I Actually Missed Manual Labor

As if a grocery store would exist in that spot with the way zoning is BUT I DIGRESS.

When I first began working at the age of 15 at The Original Pancake House as a busboy, the next nearly 15 years of my working life would consist of manual labor of some sort. Whether that was keeping up with the busy dining room breakfast flow at the Pancake House; doing monotonous manual labor at Springdale Ice Cream and Beverage’s factory (seriously the worst; it was like, go sweep for 12 hours); or working in a warehouse at a vending machine company where I also drove a truck and filled said vending machines, at a certain point, I got tired of that hustle and that grind and that manual labor. Not to say anything about the awful sleeping I was doing at the time. Or lack of sleeping rather. I still worry that I have long-term damage from that.

Around 2012, I did add the mental labor of the college newspaper; then in 2015, the newspaper internship in Colorado; and then in 2016, the newspaper internship in Cincinnati; and then finally, my current newspaper job in 2017. But even through to 2018, I was still maintaining those manual jobs, if eventually on a part-time basis.

Around 2018, I realized I could no longer maintain doing a side job (the manual labor) with my main job (the mental labor) because the latter was suffering. That’s when I left manual labor behind completely. So, all-in-all, it’s been about three years of only mental labor.

That’s the space I thought I always wanted to be. I’m tired of wearing out my body; I’d rather wear out my mind. I’m tired of my back always hurting. These manual labor jobs aren’t stimulating my mind enough. Those were the kinds of thoughts I had and why I wanted to get away from manual labor.

Well …

I didn’t realize I missed manual labor until I started doing it again inasmuch as these side gigs, such as Amazon Flex, Instacart and DoorDash consist of manual labor. I like sweating! I like knowing I worked hard! I like physically feeling it. And yes, I’ve changed my tune on Instacart compared to my original review: I actually enjoy it now!

To be sure, I get that same sort of worn-out feeling on the mental side. When I put the paper to bed on Tuesdays, I feel absolutely mentally drained most Tuesdays and it’s a rewarding feeling, as odd as that sounds. But there’s also just something to sweating! And being sore!

I’ve enjoyed that from my Instacart delivering of groceries, particularly when some of these people are ordering big cases of water and pop and live in apartments where the delivery is more than going to a residential porch.

Nobody is more surprised than I am. I know you’re all probably sick of me talking about these side gigs at this point, but it was a surprising feeling I had last weekend and I wanted to share it.

What manual jobs have you had? Did you enjoy them? And um, do you miss them?!

9 thoughts

  1. Sometimes we just don’t realize how good those jobs can be. Maybe you like the thrill of being really busy and having the opportunity to be outside. For me, that’s what I would love about your current jobs. I’ve had tons of jobs over the years. But I think my favorite job was when I worked at a biotechnology company for 8 years. Everyday was different and I think that’s what I liked best. I never knew what project or experiment awaited me. And my second favorite job was working at a paint store. Talk about manual labor! Lol… It was brutal lugging 5 gallon jugs of paint around, but I loved getting to organize all the paint supplies and mixing paint was always fun. I was in the Army too and so that was obviously a lot of manual labor. But I think that was my least favorite career choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoa, you’ve had quite the range of occupations! You’re exactly right about being busy and being outside! When you’re doing that kind of manual labor, and staying busy, the time goes by fast.

      Biotechnology sounds a lot like journalism then, you never know what to expect each day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing. Your post just highlights how difficult unemployment can be, not just due to the lack of income but, also, the lack of a sense of achievement at the end of a day, whether physical or mental.

    Would it be ok to share this post on my site, again? I’ll link and credit, as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just to add, I appreciate that if without a job, people often have other unpaid jobs, such as childcare, self-care and so on but, I suppose, if you’re unable to feel fulfilled, unemployment can be so tough on self-esteem and mood.

    Liked by 1 person

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