Glad I Saw It: Work

Dug and loaded by hand.

Work Detail.

Two kind, diligent, humble men have been working at my house for the last week. They started out jackhammering concrete, then loading and stacking concrete, then digging and digging and digging. Today they are loading and sorting concrete. Then they’ll dig some more. I bring them Cokes and Sprites, and yesterday blueberry scones pilfered from a meeting. And they are truly working harder than I’ve seen anyone work.

They appreciate my attempts to speak Spanish to ask which soda they prefer. They appreciate that I ask about their families as they eat lunch. But mostly, they work.

So please, if you’re going to spew word-vomit about lazy immigrants and people free-loading off the system as a way to make yourself feel better as you sit behind your desk or collect Social Security or also work really hard, don’t do it near me. Because I’ve been reminded what real work looks like, and it doesn’t leave time to complain.

Checking in at the yeah write moonshine grid.

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About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to the car culture, dealing with leaving a career I love, and spouting off along the way.
This entry was posted in Excellent Local People, Glad I Saw It, People are Good, random observation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Glad I Saw It: Work

  1. Mical says:

    Nice piece.

  2. Kinley Dane says:

    This is so refreshing. I was at a party recently and this entitled, snotty woman was complaining about how hard the renovations at her house are for her, because she just has to keep after and after ‘those’ workers. Like they’re children. And meanwhile, she doesn’t work at all, except to ‘surpervise’ home renovations, apparently. It’s just a really sore subject to me, after having lived in Honduras for 2 1/2 years. They work there. They work harder than most people here in the United States could imagine and when they immigrate here, they work even harder so they can send money home to their families. I’d take one immigrant worker over 100 spoiled housewives any day!

    • I don’t think one attitude has to cancel out the other. And I certainly would never presume to know the hardships of someone who may seem entitled from the outside. However, I think it’s true that many of us in more privileged positions (like…time to write blog posts and comments and check Facebook) can forget what a physically hard day’s work really means.

      That said, contractors *are* notoriously difficult to keep on schedule, but these men aren’t the ones who need to be reminded to work.

  3. Natalie DeYoung says:

    I used to work for a contract painting company, and I never saw such hard workers for so little pay…well, besides teachers. :/

  4. Vanessa D. says:

    After working with temporary foreign workers for two years – this is a topic I am extremely sensitive to. I see anti-immigration vitriol spewed in the comments of news articles and on social media – it enrages me every single time. It leaves me wondering when we lost our compassion, or if it ever existed.

  5. gem says:

    Amen! My mom knew a gardener who hired immigrants and my mom asked to hire them over a weekend for some yard work. We brought them cold water and sandwiches and made sure they got a timely lunch break. The gardener was aghast because he expected them to do a working lunch and bring their own lunch since they were merely “cheap labor”. Ugh.

  6. It is truly humbling to see people work their backs off in such terrible conditions. Thank you for giving a voice to their industrious character.

  7. Kelly McD says:

    great piece! I felt the same way when Jozef Dabek and his crew dug the foundation for our addition BY HAND. Unbelievable. Even our architect was mightily impressed!

  8. TheJackB says:

    I used to work in construction and I can’t tell you how much the little things matter. We noticed when the owners offered us drinks or food and those who treated us as like the hired help. Those little things matter when problems arise because the impact whether the guys fix things so they work or make sure the problem is solved.

  9. I hear you. We have recent immigrants walk who our street when it snows to ask if they can shovel out the driveways, and my goodness do they work to earn that snow removal money!

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