tagHow ToHard Hats Ch. 02

Hard Hats Ch. 02


Now that you have been preached at about using stereotypes, lets take a look at the average day of a construction worker. This will of course vary from job site to job site, and trade to trade, but in general this is what a day on a large construction job will be like. I will be writing this as if you are the worker. I am also not writing about a Union Job Site. Those are a bit different and I'm not qualified to advise on them. Sorry, not a lot of them near where I live and work.

To begin with your day will start with an alarm clock. Now if you are just getting started in the trades this is probably the only way you are getting up on time. If you have been working for more than lets say ten years you wake up at that time whether or not you want to be, or have to be awake. That really sucks on your day off.

Now, most construction sites open at about six to six thirty. That just means someone from the general contractor has gotten there. No trades are suppose to do anything without them on site. So...

That alarm clock had better be ringing at about 5:00 to 5:30.

You hop out of bed full of pep, singing a song and dancing a step!


More like a zombie from a George Romero movie you crawl your way up out that wonderfully dark, incredibly soft bed and do your best to not smash that damn clock. There will of course be that temptation to hit a snooze button. Remember you have an hour till you have to be on the job.

Most people that work the trades will cough at this point. The job sites are very dusty and you breath that in all day long. Your lungs get ride of that dust at night, while you sleep, so a morning hacking is normal.

A trip to the bathroom is mandatory, but you're not concerned with the things that a suit and tie person would be. You don't need to shave (chins or legs) No one on a construction site cares what you look like or if you have bristle. Nope, you're there to use the cleanest bathroom you will get to use for the next nine to ten hours.

Clock is ticking though, and don't fall back asleep sitting on the toilet.

Okay, you're dressed in old clothes (white if you're a painter) and have on, or are carrying with you, a pair of work boots. These are required to work on any construction site bigger than a house. You are probably carrying them if you have a nice car.

Wait, if you have a nice car why are you driving that to the construction site? Silly people, the site is DIRTY!

Alright, you are out the door (please remember to tell your loved ones you love them, even if they don't hear it. On average at least ten construction workers die per day in the US) still half awake but moving.

Wait! You didn't have coffee?

Not yet you didn't, you see somewhere between your house and the job site is a little convenience story where the people working there are expecting you to be there almost like clock work. They could almost have that cup of cheep-ass coffee poured and steaming before you get there. Most construction workers don't have time to get up and make their own coffee. You have to set that clock back about thirty more minutes and you wanted sleep a lot more.

By the way, you forgot your lunch again didn't you? Yeah.

So you will grab a bag of chips and a snack cake and that cup of coffee, then get stuck standing in line behind someone that doesn't have to be at work till 9:00 and wants to run their head about the game last night. Don't get sucked into that conversation.

Paid for and you're out the door. Now, drive like your driving for NASCAR (it's what you probably wanted to do with your life anyway) cause the clock is definitively ticking. Watch out for the mom in that minivan, she is trying to put on her makeup and get her kids to daycare at the same time.

Now. The work day.

Your days work will start at any time between 6:00 to 7:00. It varies by job and trade but for the most part every trade wants you to be there 10:00 minutes early. At least. That way you are already working when that clock hits. In other words, they want you to get ready to work on your own time. Don't expect to be paid for that ten minutes either, even though in a week it adds up to nearly an hour. You're giving them that bit of your life for the wonderful privilege of having a job. I need a sarcastic smile icon here.

Oh yeah, don't forget your safety vest. It's in the trunk and smells from yesterday, but you 'Have' to wear it.

I will not go into the various trades. The jobs they do are too different to detail out well. YOU, need to research just how they do what they do based on the character you're writing about. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that show you how to do most of the trades. Research! You can not fake this part and get away with it.

Well, the work day is off and running, you have finally woke up... sorta. Your coffee cooled off enough for you to drink it. If you didn't forget and leave it in the cup holder. Whatever trade you are doing you will spend the next two hours catching up on the things you needed to get done yesterday and didn't, you are also trying to get as much ready before nine o-clock as possible. I'll explain this in a bit.

Work, work, work, work...9:00.

You get a break. This is required by the labor laws in most states, don't let them talk you out of it. However they might just usurp it somewhat to hold a safety meeting. You will still get your break but you will have to listen to a guy telling you to not do the very things you need to do. He's not telling you this because it's dangerous, but because somebody somewhere got hurt and the general contractor doesn't want to be sued. They also do not want to be fined buy OSHA.

Fifteen minutes will never pass so fast in your life. You just have time to drink a can of soda, and maybe eat a biscuit. On some jobs they will have someone (this is a company thing) to come take orders for breakfast and then that one person will go get it. If there is somewhere close enough, say next to the site, for them to get the food. Don't expect this though, and if there is someone going to get food... expect to not get your change back. That was his tip for going to get your food. You do tip your waiter don't you?

Okay, breaks over! Back to work.

Now between this point and lunch is when you will be your most productive. This is when you try to get whatever quota you have to do in a day done, or as close to that point as you can get. You should have everything you need to work like mad in place from your efforts this morning.

Hustle, hustle, hustle!

By the way if that fifteen minutes passed fast this is when it will drag like it had lead weights on the clock. You will look at your phone to check the time and it will be just five minutes since you did it last. Resist this urge as it makes the day longer.

Finally after what seems like ten hours lunch will get there. Oh yeah, you forgot your lunch didn't you. Well, you will just have to go get something. You have thirty minutes. I need that sarcastic smile icon again. You look over at the fast-food place where you got that breakfast biscuit from and every worker on the site seems to be piling into it. Thirty minutes?Not going to happen.You might could hop in your car and race to somewhere else close by, another fast-food place or a convenience store.

Convenience store? Wait a minute, you bought a bag of chips this morning! Good planning. Now a drink? Well, on some sites the general contractors will set up a soda machine outside the main office trailer. You can get one there. It will be a dollar a can. Yeah...

Tick, tick, tick. Thirty minutes will also fly by here if you let it. Now is the time to be watching that clock. It will be at this point however that someone from home will call, with some sort of honey-do for you to get done on your way home. These vary from a grocery run to getting the kids from daycare. While you are discussing this, far more than it needs to be discussed, your clock will run out, and it's "Honey I have to go." and you choke down the last of those chips and swallow that last sip of soda. Just crush the chips and eat them as crumbs, it's quicker.

Oh, yeah you probably need to go by the port-o-let, but of course everyone else is trying to do that same thing. You'll go latter. You will get fussed at for not doing that during your lunch, but you will simply have to do it latter.

Back to work.

This is the time of day when things will either be easier or harder, and it will vary from day to day. Some days you can almost cake walk these last few hours, others... well, you will be working to those last minutes. About all you can really count on is, that just like when you were in school, that clock runs slow as molasses after lunch.

Now by this time you are filthy, tired, and probably more than a little aggravated with someone, maybe even with yourself. Oh, and your eyeballs are probably floating cause you badly need to go to the port-o-let and you're too busy to go. I have seen more arguments start at this time than at any other time of day. People are just tired.

Then, saints be praised, it's getting close to 3:00. YOU need to start wrapping things up for the afternoon. There will no doubt be things you needed to get done today, but didn't. Right now you have bigger things to worry about. You have to roll up your power cords and get them back in your game box. You can not leave them out overnight! Extension cords have legs and will get up and walk away if you leave them out.

It is, as you're rolling them up, that you will find that someone ran over one of them with a forklift or a scissor lift and cut a bad place in your cord. Typical day, it will have to be fixed before you can use it again.

Now, here is a funny thing, that clock will finally start speeding up, but you don't need it to. You have got to get all these things done and everyone else seems to be waiting for you so that the game box can be locked up. It would be nice if they would help, but they have important standing there talking to do.

Remember what I said about arguments.

Oh, and you still need to go pee. Maybe you go take care of that or whatever but you will turn around and everyone else will of course be gone.

And now you have to make sure all the game boxes are locked or it will be your fault that they didn't get locked. That done you breath a sigh, and finally walk out to your car. It's 3:45, but don't expect to get paid for those fifteen minutes either.

You take off that damn hard hat and toss it into the trunk. You want to toss it into a river but you can't. You take off that hot as hell yellow safety vest, and stuff it into the hardhat. You take off your boots, you want to send them into the river after the hard hat, but you can't.

You will need them for tomorrow, when you get up and go do this all over again.

Oh, yeah don't forget to pick up the kids from daycare... or whatever else it was that you were suppose to do.

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by Anonymous

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by Admiralbird34806/08/18


That’s pretty good description lol.
I got my guys to agree to skip the morning and afternoon 15 breaks. We added the time to give them 1 hr for lunch. They love it and you are right, 70% of the workmore...

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