Transitioning to Blue Collar Work

I’ve had a big change in my work schedule which has caused me to become less visible around the web, so I thought I’d update y’all on why.

I recently had an opportunity to take a voluntary leave of absence from my desk job and work on a 2-month project (no, I’ve not been fired; this is temporary) where I’m on my feet all day, doing repetitive physical labor and working with my hands. I wanted a change to help get out of the sitting on my ass rut at work, so I took it.

This means that I’m not in front of a computer during the day to respond to comments, visit other personal finance sites, or interact on Twitter (my apologies to all my friends). When I get home I’m too tired to visit my own site, let alone open my email or surf the web. I haven’t checked my Google Analytics in days, and I don’t know what my Alexa ranking is anymore.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t easy to transition from a desk job to hard work. My back aches sometimes at night. I’m exhausted and filthy at the end of the day. My hands are in constant pain from repetitive motions and are covered in paper cuts and rubber-band burns (I’m working with large stacks of cardstock).

But it feels great.

It feels great to be waking up early and keeping the blood flowing and the heart rate up most of the day. It feels great to not have to worry about high-level projects that are being sabotaged intentionally and unintentionally by idiots. It feels great that my phone doesn’t ring after I get home from work because someone is depending on me 24/7.

Brent from On Target Coaching asked in a comment on my last post what my philosophy of work is. He thought I was coming across as someone who dislikes work, which isn’t entirely true (though I can see why I come across that way sometimes).

I’d say I enjoy work that makes sense and serves a purpose. In my career, I spend a lot of time at work with nothing to do, on call. There is no reason I can’t be at home, except my bosses are jerks.  Needless to say, I’ve grown intolerant of people who are unable to work smarter, not harder. I am also disdainful of the “work until you die” movement, which I also referenced in my last post.

This is why I like blue-collar work. It makes sense and you are done at quitting time. I think we’ve made a big mistake in this country by intentionally destroying blue-collar America. I hope it’s not because the plutocrats that run our country think lesser of working people, people who didn’t want to go to college, or who weren’t right for college.

They forget that we need to make more than just money in this country.

 

Life is About More than Work

Someone recently shared with me their formula for dividing up the day:

I spend eight hours working, eight hours with family, and eight hours sleeping.

Obviously this won’t work for everyone, especially business owners, but I thought it sounded like a pretty good division. Heck, it doesn’t always work for me, as my job comes with busy seasons where I work more hours.

I dread being at a party or out on the town and get into a conversation that involves “So what do you do for a living?” I hate answering it or discussing it with people. I guess it tells you a lot about someone to know their chosen profession, but it isn’t a part of what I would call a stimulating conversation. I’d rather someone ask me if I have kids. or about my hobbies.

 

New Online Project

I’ve also been working on a new website/business to offer high-end luxury tours of Istria, Croatia. I’ve built much of the site, and I’ll let you all have a peek at it soon.

In the meantime, if anyone is interested in learning more about it, or has any advice on growing a travel/tourism website, shoot me a note.

 

Carnival Update

I’ve been pretty bad about acknowledging those sites that have featured my articles in recent weeks, so here they are.

 

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15 Comments
  1. Thanks for delving further into to my question about work. I also agree life is much more about work and money for that matter. In no way was implying you were lazy, you’ve done an awesome job at getting out of debt and building this site.

    I could respond here about my thoughts on work, but it will just end up being a blog post…so I guess I’ve got my topic for next week. Enjoy your weekend and rest that back.

    • Thanks for your question Brent. Don’t worry, I didn’t think you were implying laziness, I just thought it was a good topic to explore. Sometimes I do think I have a lazy streak, though. I can try to sugarcoat it, but sometimes I’d rather sleep all day or read a book instead of going to work. Sometimes I think I’d rather not have a job and live on a ranch from the fruits of my labor. Let me know if you do a post on the topic.

      • I have to say that I LOVE when bloggers use each others comments and questions as prompts for posts; I feel like that’s when we REALLY get to know each other.

        That said, I really don’t like to work. In fact, I was a constant clock-watcher back in my “full-time” days. Now that I write for a living, I don’t consider it work… funny how our perspective can change based on the task at hand.

  2. Welcome to the blue collar world! It’s great and it sucks, huh? :-) Yeah, my back is always hurting now-a-days, but I always love that my blood is pumping and I’m physcially doing something during the day. I’m building things and repairing things… it’s great! But keeping up the blogging is tough, like you’re noticing. I’m not at a computer all day like it seems so many are — so I check other blogs and tweet during my breaks. Some days it dosnt’ happen at all *shrug* it’s the life of a blue collar dude! And when I get home at night, it’s really hard to do anything more than grab a beer and just relax doing nothing. WHich maybe is why I post 2 days/week, I just can’t do any more than that! Enjoy your 2 months, man! ANd hey, when you’re done, let me know if you want to guest post for me if you wanted to talk about your blue collar experience!

  3. Sounds like a good change of pace John. I am thinking about doing something like that next summer. I’ve been talking to a friend about starting up a side business that involves a lot of physical work. I just feel I need to get more physical after sitting on my ass so much in my career. Thanks for the reminder about how doing computer work afterwards just doesn’t work well. I do recall that kind of situation when I was working in a warehouse and my boss expected me to do marketing in the evenings. Really I just wanted to relax.

  4. So is this something you’d want to eventually switch to permanently or is it just a nice break? I’d be interested to see how you feel at the end of it.

  5. My back doesn’t hurt too much unless it’s rainy. I’m one of THOSE people! But I do enjoy the fact that my job means I don’t have to waste money at the gym! Ideally, I would want some sort of mixed position where I was outdoors and relatively physical, but still used my brain. That’s why I’ve been trying to break into the natural resources game.

    Oh, and I’m in the “work till you die” camp. I just like being busy. I always use my grandfather as an example. The man retired 5 times, the last one being forced by his doctor. He went stir crazy for close to a year before he died.

  6. Ooooh good luck with the new site…and the new job! Both sound like fun opportunities. The American diet was established back when we were all blue collar workers and needed tons of calories and burgers and fries. Then we started working behind desks and not adjusting our menus. Maybe blue collar work’s a solution to health :P (Just kidding..I know in some cases the toll the work takes on you is detrimental to a very serious level.)

  7. I’m intrigued! Will you be doing those yourself or partnering with tour operators?

    “This is why I like blue-collar work. It makes sense and you are done at quitting time.”

    This is my fiance’s take (blue collar work, blue collar background and culture going back forever). I kind of veer between that and the other extreme, doing a job that I love and is quite flexible (no sitting around on call at the office here).

  8. I wish more white collars would do a similar experiment to what you’re doing. It gives you an entirely different perspective, doesn’t it?

    I watched my father be “on call,” as a white collar computer programmer while I was growing up. Taking calls in the middle of the night and answering to a beeper on weekends. During the pre-internet days he would routinely have to go in to work to fix problems during typical non-working hours – all for NO extra pay. I decided way back then that I wouldn’t follow in those footsteps.

    I love my blue-collar work and never having to think about it after quitting time.

  9. Blue collar work is definitely a different type of tired but I prefer it. When I get home from my desk job I feel like I didn’t do much all day yet I’m still tired. At least if I’m working on my house all day, gardening, whatever at the end of the day, I feel like I did a solid day of work.

  10. I would think it would be nice to change it up a bit! I would LOVE to cross-train to a different department like post-partum or surgery but just can’t afford to right now. I know what you mean about not getting to spend a lot of time on your blog. Life just gets busy sometimes, and when all things are prioritized, I’m sure that providing for your family and spending time with them are at the top of your list.

  11. I love this post! I think it is awesome that you get the opportunity to do something else at your company. I am sure you have a new found appreciation for both this blue-collar job and your previous job. I am sure you miss not having your back ache, but the feeling of not taking your work home with you. Good luck and be sure to do a wrap-up post when you have completed your two months!

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