Saturday, April 12, 2008

Working Too Hard

Hey folks! I'm back! This has been a rough week to say the least. It's my second week on the new job site and I'm back to pouring footings and piers and tying rebar and I get to do it all in several inches of mud! The last couple of months at the railroad job spoiled me bad. Easy door hardware etc. and all gravel. It takes a few weeks to get accustomed to the rough stuff again and they have been pushing us hard to get a certain amount of piers poured per day and all that. This job is also a little further away and I have to go right through downtown Birmingham, so it takes longer to drive home and I am usually pretty tired by the time I get here. Perhaps after things calm down a little I can post more. Btw, that is the same pair of boots that I was showing off here back in August. They look a little rougher now. If I get 10 months out of a pair I am doing good. And these are $130 a pair Wolverines.
I have been so filthy after work that I have taken to keeping some extra clothes in my truck because I have to stop after work one day a week to buy groceries. People look at you bad enough if you go into a public place with work boots on much less dirty work boots.
One of my good buddies that was on the railroad job got transferred over to this new site this past week so that helped my feelings a lot. He is just a couple of years older than me and we have a good time working together. However, he accidentally dropped a 16' form on me so that didn't help a lot. It skipped down my leg and made a nice pattern of bruises though. Times like these make me wonder why I do this kind of work and I really don't have a good answer. I mean, we leave work a lot with our clothes torn, mud and blood caked all over us from building things that society needs (hospitals, schools etc.) and all to have people just dog you because of your profession. A craftsperson used to be respected but now we are all regarded as the dregs of society. I had one lady (?) tell me I could not drink from a public water fountain. A lot of the hospitals we work on will allow us to buy food from the cafeteria but we often have to go outside to eat. When we can eat inside we have to sit far away from everyone else and have actually been told not to look at anyone other than our fellow workers. I have never been invited to attend one church that I have helped build.
I didn't mean for this post to be a rant or anything, I have just been tossing a lot of things over in my head lately I guess. I have tried several times to find other employment but I always seem to get pulled back to construction, which is really weird, me being a woman especially. Are we destined to take certain paths in life in order for particular events to occur or to meet certain people? Is the wisest choice in life the one that you feel most drawn to or the one that makes the most practical sense? For me they rarely are the same! At times, I think I have made the biggest mistake of my life by not having another career and at other times I think I would never be able to have the life I really want if I had left it. I know I would never have been able to build this house as I did, had I not been in this industry. And seems like whenever I need something that I cannot provide myself, one of the men I work(ed) with will just appear with whatever it is that I was looking for. Is this Someone looking out for me or just the power of our unconscious minds' desire that created enough positive energy for these events to unfold? Or, is that positive energy in our minds how the Someone works? Maybe these thoughts are way too profound for a lowly construction worker.
I do know that in the next several years I will get to where I cannot do the work anymore. Parts of me hurt now that should not and may eventually require surgery. The guys are beginning to fuss more about me doing certain things and try to run me away from the harder jobs. I know I will quit when I begin to feel that I am causing more work for them. But I'm sure that when the right time comes a new door will open for me and I will start a new adventure.

*Lyle Lovett/ My Baby Don't Tolerate album


Robbyn said...

I mull over many of the same thoughts, though my jobs have never been physically demanding as yours. I do believe we're guided by God, though, if we try to live deliberately and intuitively based upon sometimes as much about what we DONT want as what we do. Take care of your's hard to replace those parts (I learned that lesson the hard way :)) You do a remarkable job (jobs!) and think deeply...I suspect you'll be an original no matter what paths your vocation and avocations take you :)

You may laugh at this...I'm tired from my job last night and I'm sitting here opening a few blogs. I saw yours and I'm so tired that at first glance at the picture, and with the caption reading "working too hard," it looked like a picture of you standing in your workboots, till it registered one LEG was missing...and for a fraction of a millisecond I thought GOOD LORD, SHE WORKED HER LEG RIGHT OFF...

Ok, told you...I'm tired, ha!

Woody said...

Annie...gotta admit that i had to take a second look at the picture too.

I always enjoy heading into the store with bibs and boots when I'm working in the city. I just love to see how others perceive us from the "uniforms" we wear. I would however have to open up my pie hole on the special instructions not to look at other folk in a cafeteria. I feel much more honor in the building crafts is earned than in some other occupations but all work is of honor.

Working in mud sucks the energy right out of my legs. I just wonder how many boots have been lost this years mud season?

Finally I believe God is love. I see him in the subtle actions of others often missed because I get too busy to notice. All I have ever had to do was ask for his help and get out of the way.


karl said...

i know this sound trite but, one thing that i have discovered as fact is, you can do what ever you want. you are obviously smart and willing to work hard. those are the only criteria necessary to accomplish anything.

unbelievable doors open when people see those two qualities. the number and diversity of jobs i have had is a testament that, you can do anything.

lately i have become resolved that life is the journey. working to do or be something else isn't what it is about. the act of doing life is life. that might seem obvious but if i look deeper into the journey i appreciate that it unfolds in mysterious and wonderful ways that i could have never designed for myself.

you will do what you are supposed to do. sometimes there are lessons to be learned some easy and some difficult. i can attest that humility is one of the more difficult ones that i struggle with everyday--this post is a good example.

the most interesting people i know still don't know what they want to do with their life--forty years later.

i wish you peace, health and happiness. i know you'll get past this with grace.


Richard said...

Boy can I relate to all your feelings and experience. When I was working as a forms carpenter, I think the worst working conditions was 3-4 inches of mud.

The greatest job satisfaction to me was when the job was done and I could look at it and say "I helped build it!"

pablo said...

I don't know what kind of stooges you run into there, but I would never look down on a person who is in construction. Rather, I'd be envious of their skill. I'm astonished by some of the revelations you make in this post. I've worked in hospitals, and I know infection control is a major issue there, so I can understand that part about you eating separately or even outside (though visiting family members are fresh sources of germs and doctors/nurses spread infection just from the nature of their work) but the not making eye contact business is insane. I think you're just running into some goofy individuals. Surely the entire society isn't like that.

It's mud season in the Ozarks, and I was out in it today planting more trees. I had to leave my boots in the garage.

pablo said...

Sheesh, I have to come back to this. This is really repulsive behavior. Please don't think everyone in the world is like this. I suppose all you need is one or two such experiences to really get soured.

On behalf of all humanity, I apologize. People are jerks sometimes.

(Can you tell that this really bugs me?)

Also, nice legs (but I mean that in a non-sexist, totally supportive way, of course).

molly said...

You asked the question: the power of our unconscious minds' desire that created enough positive energy for these events to unfold?

You are right, our thoughts are more powerful than most imagine.

If you have never read the book "The Secret" try and get a copy, my experience is it does work, that I have self-proved for over a decade.


edifice rex said...

Hey All! Well, I really didn't expect such a response to that post! And such long ones too but that's great. I did not mean to sound as though I were complaining about my job though; I hope it did not come off that way. It's just a few things that I think about and wonder.

Robbyn, I laughed so hard when I read your comment! I haven't gone that far yet but sometimes I have felt like my legs were about to fall off! My clothes were so dirty that I just undressed on the deck and then took them down to the washer later. Don't worry ya'll, there are no other houses near me! I think we are guided also, that is, if we are not so stubborn to resist it.

Hey Woody! Well, we get instructions like that all the time and we usually have something to say about it but we have to go along to some degree. I guess it happens so much to us that I have kind of gotten used to it. Maybe that's bad too. I agree with your last comment too; sometimes you don't even have to ask!

Hey karl! I agree whole heartedly! "Not all who wander are lost", you know. Doing is life. That's good. In the end, the experiences and people in our life are all we have left not the things we accumulated. And yeah, I have tried to imagine the best way some things can work out and they do nothing like what I thought and it turns out more wonderful than I could have ever come up with.

Hey Richard! I was on a job in NC where the mud was actually up to your waist in some areas. The lulls (forklifts) rutted areas that formed mud "walls" 4 and 5 feet tall. But yeah, there is great satisfaction in seeing these great buildings we do.

Hey pablo! In most all of the examples I mentioned it was just one person that caused the situation and for every one of them there are 20 that treat us very well but we do run into such behavior quite often. What is really sad is that it is often from our own office. We have become used to it to a degree but that doesn't make it better. But, man I could tell you some stories that would get your blood pressure up for sure if that little bit got you worked up! Oh, and thanks for the compliment! I got pretty nice gams when they're not black and blue!

Hey Molly! I have heard of that book but have to admit I am somewhat skeptical of it or to give myself the credit for answered prayers, you know?. I guess I prefer to think that it is a higher power (God) that guides us ultimately and answers prayers although the power to communicate with this power is within us. I wonder about a lot of things though.

hillbilly2be said...

Hey, Annie, I know what you mean about feeling others stare down at you. I used to work in a tire shop, and always felt like people took us for granted, no matter how good we were at diagnosing problems. I hated that feeling.

Years later, somehow ended up in an office job, and felt the same darn way. But lots more stress. And fatter. :)

I guess some people just like to judge based on appearances and titles. Poo-poo on them. Who needs them anyway?


edifice rex said...

Hey Ron! Well, that's a good point; now matter what you do for a living, I guess someone is always going to judge you badly about something. there are good and bad folks in every walk of life.

Jenn said...

"I had one lady (?) tell me I could not drink from a public water fountain."

Jesus wept.

I've been thinking there are two kinds of people out there. The ones who know that work goes on and that it takes time and effort to get results, and the ones that want the job done YESTERDAY and that don't want to see any evidence of work being done before, during, or after the event.

Very frustrating to be out there working in the face of that.