Construction Anecdote

A while ago, I chose to work on a construction site for 2 months.

It just so happened that the 2 months were July and August, the hottest months of the year and I spent most of my 11 work hours (excluding breaks) tying iron wire into the steel reinforcement on the rooftop in full exposure to the sun in a bent over position.

I would have sweat like a pig, if I had remembered to bring some water.

Furthermore, I couldn’t understand a word the other guys were saying, because they were from some unidentified eastern european country.

The work left my entire lower body sore for the entire time. The fact that I couldn’t sleep longer than 3 hours a night at first didn’t help either.

To add insult to injury, I couldn’t keep much of my food down (except for sweet pastries), even the water I drank in the morning led to me throwing up on half of the days.

The best pay I got for this work was a lesson I taught myself: Don’t bitch about how tough things are, if you just fixed your attitude and did your work quietly, you would realize how much more you can handle.

In case you ever get stuck working on a construction site, here are some basic tips:

I. Look at what the others are doing, they’ve been doing this shit longer than you.

This would have stopped me from kneeling down and would thus have prevented a week of severe knee pain. It also would have caused me to breathe through my nose more, so I wouldn’t have inhaled all the dust and coughed my lungs up for several days.

II. You don’t get paid to work faster and harder than the others, but to look semi-busy and barely reach the goals your bosses set for the day.

III. It is normal among men to be sceptical about strangers you suddenly have to work with, so be prepared for low friendliness and maybe even people mad-dogging you. Just do your job and wait for a few days. Being open and respectful will help.

IV. Keep an eye on whether you’re blocking people’s paths or preventing a crane from putting things down.

V. Some construction sites are cleaner than others. Adapt to the circumstances on the site. If you don’t see trash lying around, don’t throw yours anywhere.

VI. Don’t step into fluid concrete, it may look like regular dirt, but it’s grayish. Also, check if something is stable before you lean on it.

VII. Don’t be seen sitting on your ass during work hours. Instead, take a sip of water every hour, have a few smoking breaks (the main reason construction workers smoke is probably for the breaks), prolong your lunch break by a few minutes (unless your bosses check the time), “study the plans” for a while, help others do things they could have done by themselves (specifically, guiding crane transport, as if you could move tons of concrete or steel with your hands), look at the area you’re working on for at least 10 seconds after every minute of work, as if you were checking something or trying to remember the plans.

VIII. Don’t argue with people, whether it’s colleagues or your superiors. Just do the damn work they ask you to do until your work day’s over. Note that you might not have anything apart from a work day, sleeping, eating, shitting and preparing for your next day in your 24 hours.

If you want to workout for whatever crazy reason, I’d suggest one workout a week, preferably Sunday. Chances are your lower body will be beat up, so train upper body only. Be careful about doing anything that uses your spine, such as deadlifts, overhead press, bent over rows, hyperextensions, bench press with an arch or pullups with an arch, or stretches.

HIT with low duration, low volume and low reps andd good form going close to failure will be a welcome contrast to work.

7 thoughts on “Construction Anecdote

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