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.
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?!