T Nation

Manual Labor

This past weekend I helped a friend put a new roof on his house.

Although it was tough work in the mid-80s sun, it was a satisfying change from the computer work I do at the office. Hanging out with the friend and a couple of other friends that were helping our (skilled laborors at a local shipyard) felt mike a more testorone-soaked environemnt than I’m usually in (the company I work at is mostly women). I also had my first experence using a pneumatic nail gun.

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

[quote]dancar wrote:
This past weekend I helped a friend put a new roof on his house.

Although it was tough work in the mid-80s sun, it was a satisfying change from the computer work I do at the office. Hanging out with the friend and a couple of other friends that were helping our (skilled laborors at a local shipyard) felt mike a more testorone-soaked environemnt than I’m usually in (the company I work at is mostly women). I also had my first experence using a pneumatic nail gun.

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

[/quote]

Yes. I was doing construction and my company moved me into the office to estimate and I miss it every day.

[quote]dancar wrote:
This past weekend I helped a friend put a new roof on his house.

Although it was tough work in the mid-80s sun, it was a satisfying change from the computer work I do at the office. Hanging out with the friend and a couple of other friends that were helping our (skilled laborors at a local shipyard) felt mike a more testorone-soaked environemnt than I’m usually in (the company I work at is mostly women). I also had my first experence using a pneumatic nail gun.

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

[/quote]

The novelty would quickly wear off if you did it full time.
Imagine no sun but bitter cold, the off shower, or frost conditions where your shovel is stuck in ice.
Its not nice and the last thing you feel like is working out afterwards.

My thing is close but not quite. My friend is getting married this weekend so for labor day we went white water rafting down 15 miles of river in WV.

Same idea, all guys, fighting for survival on an insane river, everybody made it into the water at least once, and the guides brought us a case of beer when we were done. Definitely a very nice change from being in the city, and being kept well mannered and civilized. It did wonders for my attitude and my motivation.

[quote]dancar wrote:

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

[/quote]

I’m not sure what ‘manfully satisfying’ means but it doesn’t sound like something I want to be a part of.

Manuel Labor

[quote]dancar wrote:
This past weekend I helped a friend put a new roof on his house.

Although it was tough work in the mid-80s sun, it was a satisfying change from the computer work I do at the office. Hanging out with the friend and a couple of other friends that were helping our (skilled laborors at a local shipyard) felt mike a more testorone-soaked environemnt than I’m usually in (the company I work at is mostly women). I also had my first experence using a pneumatic nail gun.

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

[/quote]

i know what you mean. what i enjoy about it, isnt so much the actual laboring, but the fact that when i am finished, something is noticeably different. there is a sense of genuine accomplishment.

In the book, “Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers”, the author mentions how construction workers usually have the most testosterone when compared with many other jobs.

I worked construction for 2 years before going back to school. Talk about a change. I miss it but wouldn’t change.

Also, one of the reasons I feel I have higher than average testosterone is because my grandfather, his father, and his father were all coal miners. Dad even did it for a while. That kind of work builds character, as Pops would say.

I made a decision a couple of years ago to go into the familly building firm because I just had to be outdoors and doing something practical.

For me the pleasure of working outside during the spring, summer and autumn just about outwieghs the drag of the dark and cold days of winter.

But only just! Infact Ive been dreading the cold so much so that Ive recentley booked a months holiday over Christmass and the New Year in Oz to take in the cricket, the sun and the rum in wonderful 100 degree heat! Thats the only thing that will keep me going until the blessed arrival of Spring (my favourite word).

[quote]dancar wrote:
This past weekend I helped a friend put a new roof on his house.

Although it was tough work in the mid-80s sun, it was a satisfying change from the computer work I do at the office. Hanging out with the friend and a couple of other friends that were helping our (skilled laborors at a local shipyard) felt mike a more testorone-soaked environemnt than I’m usually in (the company I work at is mostly women). I also had my first experence using a pneumatic nail gun.

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

[/quote]

Absolutely! I work a desk job too (for the most part). But I love to work on projects. I built my own deck once with help only from my wife. We didn’t have much expendable cash growing up, so whenever we needed to have something done around the house (additions, renovations, repairs, etc), my father would do it, and I would help. Likewise with the family cars. I worked as a mason’s laborer for two summers as well, which was tough work.

There is definitely an inherent satisfaction with seeing the before and after of a manual job that is much harder to achieve on a desk job, where the results often take longer to manifest themselves. It’s nice to take an open lot and see a building standing there when you’re finished.

DB

[quote]supermick wrote:
dancar wrote:
This past weekend I helped a friend put a new roof on his house.

Although it was tough work in the mid-80s sun, it was a satisfying change from the computer work I do at the office. Hanging out with the friend and a couple of other friends that were helping our (skilled laborors at a local shipyard) felt mike a more testorone-soaked environemnt than I’m usually in (the company I work at is mostly women). I also had my first experence using a pneumatic nail gun.

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

The novelty would quickly wear off if you did it full time.
Imagine no sun but bitter cold, the off shower, or frost conditions where your shovel is stuck in ice.
Its not nice and the last thing you feel like is working out afterwards.[/quote]

You’re too right there Mick, one of the main disadvantages is having no energy to lift after 8-10 hours grafting in the cold. Man, some nights after my long hot soak in the bath I can bareley get off the sofa.

[quote]carter12 wrote:
In the book, “Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers”, the author mentions how construction workers usually have the most testosterone when compared with many other jobs.

I worked construction for 2 years before going back to school. Talk about a change. I miss it but wouldn’t change.

Also, one of the reasons I feel I have higher than average testosterone is because my grandfather, his father, and his father were all coal miners. Dad even did it for a while. That kind of work builds character, as Pops would say.
[/quote]

Part of this is also working with guys all the time. There’s a big difference between working a desk job with college graduates and working a construction site with a bunch of Spanish guys who have been in jail more often than not.

If you’re going to tell them what to do, they have to respect you, which means that you’ve got to break your ass as hard as they are, and crying and bitching isn’t allowed.

A lot of these guys that work these kind of jobs (of all races, of course) are also quick to settle things with violence…it’s definitly different than an office environment.

As far as building stuff with your hands- I think that’s satisfying for some people. I know guys that love construction, and even I don’t mind working outside all the time. You get used to it.

I always tell my boss that I’m just an outside dog…you bring me inside and I’ll piss all over the house.

Love the nail gun! Found lot’s of projects that needed nailing after I bought mine. Built a new log rack over the weekend with some left over pressure treated lumber. Took about 1/2 hour. Love the nail gun.

I worked as a laborer and a carpenter’s helper throughout HS and College. My dad was a master carpenter.

It’s nice to be able to choose. Pouring rain here today. Glad I am in my office.

I’m an IT guy by trade and, yes, I definitely relish the odd opportunity to do manual labor. When I was out of work for a while after the big dot-com crash, I worked as an electrician’s-helper-slash-general-contractor type. If it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t feed my family on the pittance I was being paid (me being “new” to the field), I would still be doing it today. But, alas, a “real” job was offered to me and I had to go where the money is.

Currently I’m refinishing my basement, soup to nuts, and loving it. Nothing like having a tangible end product after a days’ work.

Bob

[quote]dancar wrote:
This past weekend I helped a friend put a new roof on his house.

Although it was tough work in the mid-80s sun, it was a satisfying change from the computer work I do at the office. Hanging out with the friend and a couple of other friends that were helping our (skilled laborors at a local shipyard) felt mike a more testorone-soaked environemnt than I’m usually in (the company I work at is mostly women). I also had my first experence using a pneumatic nail gun.

Do any other of you desk-workers find something manfully satisfying about working with your hands for a day or two?

[/quote]

These lines from the movie Office Space sum it up for me.

Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday, and you’re not feelin’ real well, does anyone ever say to you, ‘Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays’?
Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked sayin’ something like that, man.

I finished concrete for several years while in school. Now I’m an industrial ventilation sales rep. If the bosses talked to people the way they do in the office, out on the job site, there would be teeth a flyin. I’m currently looking for a construction management position. I think that’d be the best of both.

Also from the author of Conan:
Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing. – Robert E. Howard

when you weigh up the pro’s and cons it just doesnt stack…

Cons -
bad joiints with age - we all know the guy with bad knees/back.
Bad weather - unless youve worked in freezing conditions i cant describe it.
Shitty pay.
Interups gym time especially if you have a tough week working with concrete/stone, laying flags/pavement/sidewalk slabs, drainage whatever.
Your in a mans environment. Great. Not so great when the other men dont wash.
Some jobs just drag on and on and on…youll know what i mean if youve been there.

Pros.
Great GPP at times.
Nice in the sun.
Cathartic release.
You can whistle at women, swear and be sexist.

Id rather have a chair, a desk and some poon tang to stare at.

[quote]carter12 wrote:
Also, one of the reasons I feel I have higher than average testosterone is because my grandfather, his father, and his father were all coal miners.
[/quote]

I got the black lung, Pop!

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
carter12 wrote:
Also, one of the reasons I feel I have higher than average testosterone is because my grandfather, his father, and his father were all coal miners.

I got the black lung, Pop![/quote]

That damn Zoolander shows up everywhere!

It’s taken about 6 years, but that movie is finally coming into it’s own.

I know exactly what you mean.

Nothing big but I hung a new light fixture for my GF with out getting electocuted.

Also I stuck my hand in the garbage disposal and fixed a jam with out loosing any fingers.

Total rush.

Awhile back I volunteered to help my aunt with some land scaping and moved a good 600lbs of hard packed earth by hand. Now thats a fucking work out.

[quote]jbodzin wrote:
I know exactly what you mean.

Nothing big but I hung a new light fixture for my GF with out getting electocuted.

Also I stuck my hand in the garbage disposal and fixed a jam with out loosing any fingers.

Total rush.

Awhile back I volunteered to help my aunt with some land scaping and moved a good 600lbs of hard packed earth by hand. Now thats a fucking work out.[/quote]

This could easily turn into a pissing contest but not much compares to moving meters squared of concrete by hand per day.
Maybe heavy steel work (RSJ, heavy concrete lintels) might come close.