So I became a manual labourer…

Vada Voices

This article is about a gay guy that lost his admin office job and had to become a hard-working labourer in a steel fabric.

Okay, so the story is about me.

I was happy with my office job but it wasn’t a dream, by any means. There was never any physical work – mostly I would just sit on my butt all day and chat with my co-workers – but there was always plenty of tiring office politics. It was pretty average, really. But all good things must come to an end, as they say, and I was let go.

I wasn’t prepared for losing my job. It wasn’t easy searching for a new one either – it’s not exactly a good time to be looking for employment in any part of the world right now. But I decided to put aside any preconceptions I had about the jobs I might take, and I applied for jobs far and wide.

Then, finally, I got a call back. I’d got a job. I was so relieved I barely listened as the man on the phone relayed the details. I surprised even myself the next day when I went to work – at a steel factory.

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At first I didn’t want to be one of those people with dirty fingernails, boring overalls and safety shoes. I wondered if I’d fit in. But I soon discovered the fashion sense of overalls – you don’t want to go work in your designer clothes, after all. And, while I often get my hands dirty, soap and water is often enough to scrub my fingernails clean.

My first week on the job was terribly tiring – I didn’t have time to get involved in any of the work politics that had bored me at my previous job! I wasn’t sure if I could keep it, but I kept thinking about my high maintenance lifestyle. I thought about what was at stake. I wouldn’t be able to live alone, and I’d have to move back in with my parents. I know it’s every parent’s dream for their only child to move back in with them – but frankly, it’s every child’s worst nightmare.

After my first few days at the new job, I knew not only my nails but also my hair would be a disaster if I didn’t have the money to have them done. Let’s not forget those spray tans and spa days! So it was something of a catch-22 situation, and I had to keep working. There was no other choice. But at least I could continue to live the lifestyle I was accustomed to as I searched for another job. Preferably some kind of office job. Preferably one without office politics.

But as the time passed, I realised I could do anything I put my mind to. I knew I would be able to make a successes out of my life in any kind of workplace. Working with the guys wasn’t always easy – talking about guy stuff all day long. Working with the girls in an office had been easier – talking about girl stuff all day long. But I got used to it. Besides, I work so hard now I don’t have time to miss the way things were.

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If you’d told me two years ago that I would be working for a steel factory, I would have told you that you were crazy. This queen doesn’t do hard labour! Most of my friends still can’t believe the job that I do. But I’m grateful. Actually, I rather enjoy it.

I don’t quite know how long I’ll stay in this job, but I’ve made peace with it and I’m happy. Hopefully I never have to write an article about me going into the mining sector – that sounds like even harder work. But who knows, maybe my next job will have something to do with the fashion institute?

Francois Fourie