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maz20

Feel like taking a menial job

37 posts in this topic

Well, not sure what exactly counts as "menial", but I am coming from the software industry which pays well above $100K+ base salary with full health/dental/vision benefits. I was laid off, but can get a job in software again...

However, I would like to take a "menial" job -- like the guys stocking shelves at supermarkers, or fixing motorcycles (motorcycle mechanic, I love motorcycles), etc...

I understand I'd be taking quite a pay cut from my previous industry, but I feel like I would actually like to have a "job" job (i.e., a job where you go to, you do work, you come home with no work, wake up and repeat, etc...). It seems like there is an expectation in certain "professional" fields of work to "not" treat them like just regular jobs, but then again it could be a "in the eyes of the beholder" type of thing.

Anyone else ever experienced this? I feel like having a menial job just makes a lot more sense (or is a lot more straightforward) when you want to have a good life outside of work. Also it may be nice to do work involving more physical labor than sitting at a desk all day.

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that's weird. i never heard anyone do that and be happy. only immigrants do it. like a phd from india going to the US to wipe floors..

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I have bouts of a similar feeling. Watching the amount of bullshit that professors and post-docs deal with literally nonstop has made me question how healthy academia is for a person. Even if you love what you do, the expectation that you'll never take more than a single evening off at a time is unlikely to be healthy. 

I've often considered leaving this whole sphere behind to do something less taxing, like building furniture, or simply considering selling out for a 9-5 job running numbers somewhere. It's a nice thought to be able to come home and truly leave work at work.

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I'm working 7AM-3:30PM on a time clock in healthcare, and seeing my family nightly is glorious.

 

*edit* Got off work at 3:30PM today, continued packing my old apartment for a move until 5:30PM, at 6PM I met some friends for a burgers-n-beer happy hour, and just got home from that around 9:30PM. I'll unload the boxes I packed, take a nice hot shower, and snuggle with my partner until bed in the next hour or so.

No checking my email, no phone calls, no thinking about my shift tomorrow. At worst, I might get an emergency-page during a major crisis, like I did during the last ISIS attack here...we're part of the first-response team.

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I think that it would serve everybody well to have a few menial jobs at some point in their lives - if only to know what it's like so they don't spend the rest of their lives looking down their noses at those who never get out of such work.

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I have a job where I do both. I sit in the office and do work with PC and then go into the terrain and measure stuff or work with my coworker using a hammer and a measuring station. However we work outside and its cold. I honestly have the same feeling as you. I am probably genetically an underachiever and hate the office work. Id rather just hit the nails with the hammer all day or just run around with a measuring stick or something and have a smoke few times. Unlike you however I would probably have a better pay working in a menial job.

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P.S. If you think fixing motorcycles is menial, you have little experience fixing mechanical things. Changing oil would be menial, but something like rebuilding engines is skilled labor. A skilled mechanic will average $40k/year, comparable to a nurse.

gbparts.gif

 

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8 hours ago, Swamp Yankee said:

I think that it would serve everybody well to have a few menial jobs at some point in their lives - if only to know what it's like so they don't spend the rest of their lives looking down their noses at those who never get out of such work.

ITA. I think it should be mandatory to complete a high school diploma or something. Like everyone has to work in a restaurant or whatever.  I suspect that experience makes people nicer and more understanding of people from different walks of life.

I do empathize with the OP. After so long of doing mentally and emotionally taxing work, I imagine partially retiring and having a receptionist job. I need to remind myself that menial jobs were taxing and stressful in different ways.

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8 hours ago, Swamp Yankee said:

I think that it would serve everybody well to have a few menial jobs at some point in their lives - if only to know what it's like so they don't spend the rest of their lives looking down their noses at those who never get out of such work.

this is the best reason to gain some experience with menial work. the struggles of the labor class will become more real and you'll greater appreciate people in general.

also, @maz20 there are some jobs that pay reasonably well even without a college degree. you might not even need to take too much of a salary cut from your current line of work. a friend of mine started working at a sewage treatment plant a few months ago and is finally making some serious money for the first time in his life. it's not six figures yet, but close. of course, he deals with some horrific conditions...

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@muddyglass, do you reckon most industries that aren't sexy but essential (like waste management or sewage treatment) are probably highly profitable? It's a gut feeling. :p

@maz20, any chance this is burnout? If so, there are ways to alleviate that starting from a two week holiday abroad to working at a less demanding company. 

Do you enjoy working in the software industry in the first place? If you don't, then there are steps starting with identification of your interests and talents. 

How about dependents? If you do have them, then that might tighten your range of options, meaning the issue becomes one of coping strategies rather than leaving the job. 

What do you want from work? The checklist (even if it's ordered, will have weightings attached to each item) can include money, free time, spare energy levels, travel, security, excitement, status, interest, etc, and might be worth mapping out before making a big decision related to work.  

By the way, I know a person who was earning half a million annually, who decided to retire into a senior customer service role within the industry. She wanted a less stressful environment but ended up being quite bad at the job and was often getting worked up at customers, which led to stress and her quitting that job after a year at it. After leaving the job, she was still of the opinion that 'these customers are plain idiots' rather than 'I do not have a natural gift for customer satisfaction'... Food for thought. 

Edit:

Hey, just came across this quote and it seems like a reasonable place to start (to be fair, it can be overly idealistic if one has 5 other mouths to feed)...

“Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.”- Aristotle

Edited by zonsop

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wow everyone encouraging op to quit his software industry high-paying job and fuck up his life completely. you all bear responsibility when OP is 40 and a engine smashes his hand and he goes home and doesn't have insurance and becomes homeless.

you should all quit your high-paying jobs and go flip burgers since it is so good

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On 2/7/2017 at 8:54 AM, counterstrike said:

that's weird. i never heard anyone do that and be happy. only immigrants do it. like a phd from india going to the US to wipe floors..

That's weird you've never heard of people considering doing this. The movie Office Space is about just this. Plenty of people do it and report being happier. And many people don't even quit to work a paying job, but deciding to be a stay-at-home parent instead or even not work at all if they can afford it. It's really a personal question of current wealth v. expected income v. desired quality of life. 

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being a parent at home is not a menial job. Becoming a monk or having a hostel/bar/coffee shop is not menial. Stacking shelves is considered menial, even tough i like it and some people really love it. But dropping out of software for warehouse is weird and you'll probably get bored of it. Think twice before making such a decision

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29 minutes ago, counterstrike said:

being a parent at home is not a menial job. Becoming a monk or having a hostel/bar/coffee shop is not menial. Stacking shelves is considered menial, even tough i like it and some people really love it. But dropping out of software for warehouse is weird and you'll probably get bored of it. Think twice before making such a decision

99.999 percent of jobs are about ego masturbation. Money isnt an issue since there menial jobs that pay well, but they arent easy either. The thing is most people dont want a menial job because people consider them for dumb people. Many people would actually enjoy these jobs, but since elementary school kids are lead to believe that menial jobs arent good and that thinking jobs are important so naturally many people would never quit for menial job, buts its rarely because of finance or boredom. Many office jobs are pure boredom too. WOrking with hands and resting the mind can be pretty therapeutic too. Hunched over a computer screen isnt much fun either and its one of the top unhealthy jobs one can have yet many people think its the best. Then when they are 40 they have back problems. I once had a job in a warehouse where I was lifting wooden billets or what are they called and my back was in best shape ever. I could twist my elbow all the way back and my spine was like a spring. So while I think one needs to consider pros and cons I think most people fail to see pros of menial jobs mainly because of psychological reasons, not practical reasons.

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menial jobs have their benefits.  Sometimes it's nice to be able to daydream all day.  There's a little less pressure, too.  But, there is still plenty of pressure.  Those sorts of jobs are heavily micromanaged and you are required to maintain a strict level of production.  While the work doesn't come home with you, you still think about it.  Also, there is a lot more gossip and social cliques.  

Warehouse.  I worked in a warehouse for only 15 weeks (summer temp job).  I picked stuff off of shelves and put them in totes to fill orders.  I got "promoted" to stocking the shelves pretty quickly, but I didn't plan to stay so it didn't matter.  Schedule was 36 or 48 hours/week, but every week we had "mandatory overtime" where we had to come in anyway.  A computer tracked your production and you had to be over 100%.  If you clocked in even 1 minute late you received a warning.  The second time you were fired.  Occasionally the supervisors would come around and tell you to shut up.  Lots of cursing.

Data work.  Lots of data entry for 8 hours/day, 5 days/week.  Occasionally able to do something interesting like programming.  This, again, was just a 15 week long job (internship).  I couldn't do only that forever.  

Bank teller.  Ya uh..  Kinda interesting at first (sales), but after 6 months or a year it becomes menial.  Soo much gossip.  The sales keeps it interesting.. perfecting your craft.. but the transactions are incredibly boring.  I worked there for 3 years.  

I did a bunch of other odd jobs in the past and I never want to do anything like that again.  

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I think that there are some outdoors/physical jobs which I could enjoy. In some parallel universe, I could be a diving instructor, park ranger, zookeeper or gardener.

But stacking shelves in a supermarket ......noooo. Where's the fun in that?

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Yes yes yes and yes. I think about this all the time. Sitting behind a desk all day is a discipline many people don't understand. You still come home exhausted. But not the good kind, just mentally. From telling your body to shut up all day long so you can focus on the work you need to get done without ever moving an inch. If you become tired at work, you snack because we're programed to think food is metabolized into energy. But we're not spending any! 

 

Idk if this is scientific, but I don't think the brain requires more energy to work than the body. So when we're not moving about and doing physical labor, we are really just feeding our bodies not our brains, and that leads to obesity. 

Okay I'm going off on a rant. Point is there are so many times I think taking a menial job would be preferable to a high paying desk job. Instead of a gym membership and extra hours after work, I would be paid to be healthy, and I'm confident enough in my ability to do work, that I wouldn't see myself as performing a lesser task. 

Downside is retirement, and that the better paying the menial labor job the more likely you are to become injured.But then again on the flip side, I find myself checking e-mails and doing work on the weekends, just to free up time to not be glued solely to my desk on the weekdays. I'm fortunate that my current position allows at least a window, and that I have to walk further to get to anything, or even that I have to stand 4 hours a week. But if work demands, I'm still glued to my desk, and sending an e-mail to my coworker who's just a short walk away. 

Point is, yes. I think about it all the time. 

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My jobs during university holidays were all menial ones. From fruit-packing, office cleaning, washing dishes at a hotel, to buying romance novels from students and selling them off elsewhere. Why these jobs were my favourite choice? Because instant payment and also I would definitely have exceeded my student work permit hours allowed so these jobs meant working where the chances of being seen publicly were almost nil. well except for the kind colleagues. plus in the hotels they came with free food ie the supervisors allowed me to eat the untouched buffet food before they got rid of them. The romance novels were highly profitable. Final year students tend to worry about shipping costs and they readily accepted offers to buy off their stuff and that's when I came into the picture.

Also during undergrad university years, I also operated catering from home before ordering by phone was even common but hardly break-even since my third-or-fourth-hand car often broken down and profit went to car maintenance. 

So, no stranger to such jobs. In fact I have a building material company where I do spend time in the stores packing the items upon order. But seeing how lazy and too selective I am towards accepting new contracts, I don't really focus my  time 110% on work (menial or office) anymore nowadays. Preferring to only sit and view them when my mood (wanting to concentrate on work) arrives. 

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Find a hobby that you can turn into a modest profession. Don't quit your job, though. Do it until you can bank enough money to feel somewhat secure, then retire to your hobby. My grandfather did this by becoming a carpenter when he got older. He loved making furniture and doing odd projects, and he was able to sell a lot of things. But he still needed savings from his prior work.

By the way, I think menial jobs are really just unskilled jobs. Fixing motorcycles sounds like the opposite of a menial job.

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Menial jobs can also be stressful and exhausting, especially because they are usually far less interesting. I think you would quickly find that the decrease in income will significantly affect your life out of work and you won't be able to enjoy it as much as you think when you realize you don't know if you'll make rent this month or can't afford any of your hobbies. Yes, you will probably have more free time, but lower ability to fill in enjoyably. Just get a government job or something if you want fixed program.

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There are software jobs that don't eat your life.

For personal development, you could try something service industry like becoming a bartender.

Could try something like Uber too...

-

I hear Sales Force has great work life balance... Might just want to check out companies on Glass Door.

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I am in a similar position to the OP, glad to see I am not the only one.  I am considering moving from a good paying computer job for something new.  I just don't know what.  I have had menial jobs when I was younger but I can't be left alone with my mind for too long, day in and day out without an outlet.  My mind needs to be busy with new things but preferably, in a stress free environment.  

I just got out of tracking motorcycles to start saving money.  My current goal is to be debt free (mortgage included), reduce expenses and have at least a year of backup money.  While that doesn't fix my job issue, I am hoping it puts me in a better state of mind knowing that I am just working for extra money, not because I have to.

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I have done this.

If you are in a menial job, you will be treated accordingly.  The time will come when you have some great ideas about improving efficiency, or writing a new procedure or training manual, or some such.  You will be completely ignored or micromanaged or your ideas will be taken by your manager.  Oh yes, your manager, who has had no actual managerial training or education, because that is who supervises menial jobs.

Don't do it.

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When I worked for my dad on construction sites, I was treated well by the men (and the few women) in other trades.

I noticed a distinct difference in how we were treated by people in different situations. For instance, we were working on a public school, and near the end of the project, some of the teachers who would be working there did a little tour, and showed marked surprise at the music we had on - it was classical music. I'll never forget the patronising look on some of their faces.

'You like this music?!' one of the male teachers asked me.

'Yes, I love it.' :)

They then asked me if this was my 'chosen career', and I told them, truthfully, that I was working during the holidays to help my dad out, while I was going to university.

'Oh? And what are you studying?' :wideeyed:

'English Literature'. :)

'Oh, my! Your dad must be so proud! Are you doing a general or an honours BA?' :nice:

'Actually, I'm in the second-last year of my PhD'. :)

'..........'

I dipped my brush in the paint can and continued cutting in for my dad, who was watching and listening with a :mellow: look on his face.

 

But yeah, working a supposedly 'menial' job (I hate that word, because I don't associate what my father did with anything remotely menial), can lead to rather interesting insights into human nature.

 

 

Edited by Madden

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