The iPhone alarm buzzes at at 5.20 am in the morning and I awake to a still sound of silence and an eery sense of darkness.
I can barely keep my eyes open while strolling to the bus stop where I catch my first of two buses before getting to work. I hop on the bus, look around, and like every morning, no seats!
I reach the city, walk to my next bus stop and feel relieved for just a while as I know i will get another 20 minute snooze on this bus before work.
I enter the site wearing the same dirty clothes as the day before, dragging my work boots every step hoping it won’t be too physical a day. I meet the foreman and he tells me i must dig a trench along the side of the house. This seems OK for the first hour but after 3 hours of digging and the morning sun just coming out, the heat is starting to take it’s toll. Now i am sweating, tired from the constant manual work and the foreman decides to give a motivational speech:
” come on lads, hurry up. You are getting paid to work, this job jeeds to be finished soon”.
Hard yakka – all in a day’s work
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are alternative jobs on the site to digging which we rotate. But the other options are not much more desirable. Yesterday, it was s full eight hours of jack-hammering and the day before I carried 200 bags of sand up 4 flights of stairs. All i am thinking is that I am getting paid minimum wage and working as hard as I can for a guy who is never happy enough with the amount of work that is being done.
Break comes and this is a perfect time to stop the beads of sweat, take a rest and get some well needed energy back. However, tough to do while sitting on a bucket eating last night’s sandwiches with your dirty hands. I usually get half way through when I hear the boss explain what needs to be done after lunch. Why cant he just explain it after lunch???
Time drags from here, it’s getting hotter, I’m getting more tired and i know I have to dig another trench the same size all afternoon. My final bit of energy used checking the time between 3.30 pm and 4.00 pm counting down each minute and the day finishes with an “OK, see you tomorrow but clean up before you go.”
This clean up usually consists of washing every tool used and cleaning the entire site which I know is going to get so filthy again within the the first 30 minutes the following morning. But I just keep the head down, do the work but never receive a thank you or a beer.
Finally – home time!
I return home 90 minutes and 2 bus rides later absolutely exhausted but never feel like my day is fully over until I can take them heavy boots and stinking socks off my feet. A shower, something to eat and I look out the window and the sun is going down (my only chance to see sunlight is while I am working or on my one day off at the weekend) . I am usually falling asleep within the next hour. I am so tired i find myself in dreamland early always knowing that i have the same torture in just a few hours.
The best part of my day is usually next when I fall in to a deep sleep and forget about life for a while. The only incentive keeping me going being the pay packet at the end of the week. Life as a construction labourer is tough no doubt – but you get to keep fit too!