5 Things You Should Expect from a Manual Labor Job

People who finish college and find a white-collar job earn around $20,000 a year more than people who start working with a high school diploma. But the prospects of getting a higher-paying job don’t seem to be enough to nudge everyone in the younger generations of Americans into enrolling in a college. Younger Americans are increasingly choosing blue-collar work for various reasons.

Signing up for a blue-collar job is a choice that carries a lot of consequences. The lower average pay might not be ideal, but there are also some benefits to working a manual labor job. If you are planning to do some blue-collar work, here are some of the good and the bad things you should expect.

Your Body Will Have a Thorough Workout

The human body isn’t well-suited for a sedentary lifestyle. We need to move to keep our muscles toned and to promote better cardiovascular health. People who work sitting-down realize this within the first couple of years on the job — everything from resting heartbeat to cholesterol count gets higher the longer you sit.

As a manual laborer, you will be using your body more, which is something your body likes. Finding a good measure is important, as with everything, but overall the professions that involve more physical movement will keep your body in shape. But that’s a two-sided coin, and we’ll discuss the other side later.

Your Brain Will Work Better

Exercise is often recommended to people suffering from depression and other mental health issues. The things that happen in our body when it’s active release chemicals that make us feel better. It’s also true that physical activity promotes a healthy metabolism, which means that your body, brain included, will be able to get what it needs more efficiently.

Manual work shouldn’t be confused with exercise. However, the very fact that it involves physical activity means that you get some of the benefits of exercise, including better cognitive function. And don’t forget that one of the ways to keep your cognitive functions strong is to get involved in many disparate activities, including physical activities. Being a manual worker who plays a musical instrument and does brain teasers and puzzles, for example, is a good way to get your brain active on all fronts.

You Will Be at a Greater Risk of Work-Related Injuries

Manual work is not all gravy, however. You will get more exercise, that is true, but you will also put yourself in more dangerous situations. Manual laborers that work with heavy equipment have a number of safety procedures they have to follow, including wearing protective gear. Traumatic brain injury caused by falling or receiving a blow to the head is one of the things that can happen and seriously affect your health and ability to work.

Your Back Will Hurt

Getting injured by falling objects is not the only hazard of manual labor. All of that exercise you will be getting from manual labor will put your body under strain. After a while, something will have to give, and it’s very likely that your back will be it.

Spending too much time in uncomfortable poses and lifting heavy weight will cause back pain after a while. Spending too much time on your feet will do the same, and it might cause other health issues. But while you can deal with varicose veins with compression stockings, for example, your back pain might have a much bigger impact on your quality of life.

You Will Understand What “Hard Work” Really Means

You should know that blue-collar workers cannot afford to be slackers. The people you work with will depend on you to carry your weight, and you will also depend on them. Proper job performance will also have important safety implications, which means that you will have to be there for your coworkers, and you will have to do your job well to keep projects on track and everyone safe. While you are at work, your work is the only thing that’s on your mind. Apart from a lunch break, expect to work all the time.

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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