Mental vs Physical labor
My job is not hard work? I have had multiple discussions with people about whether what I do for a living is hard work or not. The implication goes beyond stating that what I do does not involve physical labor. Sure it is not hard physical labor but what I do for a living is hard work. When I get home at the end of the night I am mentally drained. It is at times so taxing that I cannot even relax and stop thinking about the work that I have to do. That is not even counting my ability to telecommute and continue working after I’ve had dinner.
It is a difficult subject to discuss because there are several ramifications, cultural, social and economic. My Mother always told me that if I wanted to keep a friend I should never discuss politics or religion with them, well I think this subject is up there in that category also.
I also want to include a little side note here. I hope it will illustrate the respect that I have for the people that do perform physical labor type jobs on an every day basis. What I did last night is a job that I certainly would not want to do every day. One of our ceiling fans at home became loose, so Cielo and I tackled the task of fixing it, which by the way we completed successfully. I had looked into the attic when we first bought the house and it looked crammed but not too bad. I thought going up there was not going to be the most difficult part of this little electrical endeavor.
Well I had a surprise coming to me last night when I had to literally crawl to move up there. I am still itchy from the insulation all over my arms. I spent probably 15 minutes there fixing the support for the ceiling fan with limited oxygen and limited maneuverability. So don’t think for a second that I do not have the utmost respect for people that perform physical tasks everyday for work. Also I want to note that I was a UPS loader, not for very long at all (I think about a month) but I did experience how difficult and taxing on your body it is to perform physical labor. All my jobs in the service and fast food industry I consider borderline.
Where to draw the line is the first murky decision that needs to be made to steer this discussion. I could draw a line between professional jobs that require a college degree and vice versa, but for this subject I think we can concentrate on mental vs. physical labor. It is a lot more difficult than just that, because how can we say that a doctor who performs a job that at times can be very mentally taxing does not have to also perform tasks that push the human body to its limits. Wow, when I first started to write about this topic I did not think it would be this difficult.
To simplify things lets just say that I have had people come up to me as a computer programmer and told me that a days worth of my work is not the same as their job as a carpenter building houses. I don’t have the skills to perform that job and vice versa. But at the end of the day did he work harder than I did? Is he more able to relax since he cannot perform his job while not at the site, but I am left to still think of how to make a program bug go away?
I am on call pretty much 24-7. The times for support come and go with projects, some require me to work 30 hours straight until something is completely set up and running, others a call in the middle of the night: come out of a deep sleep to remember details on how to make something work. My point is not that my job is a lot more difficult, I just want the recognition from people that perform physical jobs that what I do while not physical is still hard work.