Blog, Disability, Politics, Uncategorised

Define “hard working people”

I need to vent, especially if those exit polls are accurate. I have nothing to drink here so I’m hoping typing angrily will help instead.

So.. hard working people…

I thought I’d talk you through a few of my previous jobs, on no particular order.

I did one job which was 12 hours shifts that frequently turned into 13 or even 14 hour shifts. With at least 2 hours worth of commuting ever day. Long days. It’s entirely possible that these 12 hour shifts of data entry in an uncomfortable office chair were the final straw for my back.

Then there was the job where I worked in what was basically just a loading bay doing time critical data entry, because the loading bay doors needed to be open to take in deliveries it meant that in Winter it was painfully cold. Turns out you can’t type quickly and accurately in warm gloves, so typing had to be done with the gloves off. Two things that made that harder. Firstly I was dealing with deliveries of water samples – a lot of which leaked so my hands were often wet as well as cold. Secondly the heater I was supplied with would only run for 15 minutes before it would switch itself off to cool down for 30 minutes, there was no way to override this. Oh and when I wasn’t typing or sorting leaking water samples, I was taking said water samples into and out of a walk in fridge.

The one advantage to the Winter was that you couldn’t smell the department on the other side of the loading bay so well – in Summer though.. let’s just say the sewage smell was tough going.

How about the job where I spent my day lugging 20l containers of hazardous chemical waste up and down stairs? When I wasn’t lugging those around I was running back and forth keeping 3 pieces of machinery (two filled with aforementioned hazardous chemicals) running smoothly on my own. And having to take all three apart once a week to clean them.

There’s more, but I’m going to stop there.

All three were tiring, often physically hard and none of them really paid well enough to match the amount of effort that went into them.

By anyone’s definition surely those all count as hard working? None of them were cushy easy jobs. There was no glamorous side to them.

Nowadays I sit at home all day, mostly sat in one place, or lying down. Occasionally I go and do some shopping or go to appointments, sometimes I even get to go do a fun activity.

I’m not hard working at all now.. or am I?

Here’s the thing, I would give anything to return to one of those jobs I’ve mentioned (yes, even the water testing one) if I could give up this disability. The amount of effort and level of exhaustion involved in those jobs was nothing compared to the effort and exhaustion of living with a chronic pain condition.

At least with those I knew that I’d get days off, maybe even be able to book holiday time. I knew that at the end of a work day, even if it was a work day that had lasted almost 15 hours, I could have a little bit of downtime.

The discomfort and pain of working in a freezing cold environment would stop, at least for a little while, when I had a lunch break.

I don’t get those luxuries now, and to add insult to injury (excuse the pun) I don’t even get the sense of achievement or money I got in return for my previous hard work.

Now a short trip to the supermarket feels like I’ve been lugging those waste containers about all day.

A day mostly spent resting feels like I’ve been working for 12 hours.

Just doing simple household chores makes my joints ache in a way that the cold never did.

From my perspective my life now involves some seriously hard work, and those other jobs? Pfft that was just laziness. I didn’t know how easy I had it!

Keep that in mind next time you hear a politician talk about looking out for “hard working people”, because I can assure you, they rarely have people like me in mind. And they are so wrong.

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