The Pros and Cons of Physically Demanding Jobs

It’s pretty obvious if you check the available job boards these days that the careers most Americans pursue are far different now than a half century ago. In today’s business world, when people think about ‘working with their hands’ it’s most often to type on a keyboard or scroll with their mouse. The middle class is built on white collar jobs, and the vast majority of the workforce make a living inside, in a sedentary environment. Yet there are still those jobs that leave you grimy and sweaty. Finding work in construction, as a house mover, in farming, in machine shops or manufacture is still possible, and as with any career each position brings its share of upside and downside. Here is a quick look at the pros and cons of physically demanding jobs, that should hopefully help you during your search.

Most Physically Demanding Jobs

Americans today are fatter than ever before. Juvenile diabetes is becoming an epidemic, and the percentage of people who qualify as obese is constantly on the rise. You can point to the high sugar and fat content in foods as one of the culprits, but another is our sedentary lifestyle. Office jobs and commuting will see you sitting on your rear end for ten hours a day, and many people then go home, watch television on the couch for a couple of hours and go to bed. All told, the time you spend in physical activity each day is minimal. If you work in a physically demanding job those numbers are switched. You’ve got built in exercise, which helps your overall health and could lead to improved wellness and longevity. When you’re on your feet all day hauling gear and building up a sweat you don’t have to worry about squeezing in gym time. You can relax after hours knowing you’ve put in your work. And you’ll reap the benefit with a slimmer waistline and fewer trips to the doctor.

Most Physical Jobs

That physicality has its dark side, however. These strenuous jobs vastly increase your chances of getting hurt while at work. You can throw your back out, pull muscles, break bones, and even lose limbs depending on the danger inherent in your career choice. That’s a much longer list of issues to worry about than an office worker faces. And as you age, the toll these careers take on your body will add up. You’ll notice it in increased joint discomfort and issues of chronic pain. Taking care of yourself will be that much more crucial, and the older you are the easier it can be to hurt yourself. The last thing you want is to have to rely on worker’s compensation pay because you’ve been handicapped on the job.

Physically Demanding Work

Another negative inherent in physically demanding jobs is that they often don’t pay very well. Even when the work involves a high level of skill it is still considered ‘blue collar’, and you will be limited by an earning ceiling much lower than in specialized fields. If you’re trying to support a family these limits can be incredibly stressful, and potentially lead to emotional pain and substance abuse issues. Physically demanding jobs aren’t easy, and you’ll work incredibly hard. Doing so for a low hourly wage can be seriously demoralizing over the long term.

Physically Demanding Occupations

However, you will find no shortage of these jobs. Since many people aren’t up to the challenge a physically fit worker will almost always be able to find employment, even during a recession. Construction continues, fields need to be farmed, and people don’t always reach out to places when they relocate. If you’re looking for part time work, or work while you finish school these positions can help you meet all of your goals. And you don’t often need a specialized degree to find work. You can get started earning right away, and if you do a good job you’ll always receive recommendations that help you land the next gig.

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