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Blue Collar Work: Top Five Blue Collar Jobs in America

Blue Collar Work: Top Five Blue Collar Jobs in America

Americans now understand the value of blue-collar work in the U.S. Economy. These workers are responsible for many necessities of life, which countless Americans take for granted. From the retail workers who ring up the groceries in the cart to the truck drivers who transport all the online purchases and the oil field workers who pump black gold from the ground.

Blue Collar Jobs

As Americans experience supply chain shortages, there seems to be a growing interest in the trades and these professions’ growing salaries. Recent reports have shown that there is a huge shortage of truckers and their salaries can reach six figures. Many young Americans choose trade schools instead of college degrees or student loans in the six-figure range. Workers in blue-collar jobs build roads and structures. They harvest, raise and herd the food that families put on their table. These guys and girls may have fixed your clogged sink, installed your roof or serviced your HVAC.
These hardworking people are often underappreciated. Skillset is aiming to give its readers some important insight into their jobs, from those who work in them.

Keep On Truckin’

David Lindsey is 68 years old and has been driving a large truck most of his life. Since 2013, he’s been hauling fuel out of Atlanta in Texas. He has also hauled logs and freight for the timber industry. That’s a lot of tread left across the freeways of America from the tires of this over-the-road warrior. He not only loves driving for the American economy but also the many perks of his job. Furthermore, he has seen many places that he probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

In addition to the endless hours logged on the highway by truck drivers, there is one other key aspect to the success of the over-the-road shipping industry: the drivers’ spouses. Lindsey says, “The truck driver’s wife has to be independent and resilient; the family burdens are on her while the driver is gone.”

There is more to hauling than simply hopping in the cab and turning on the engine. An average day of fuel transporting for Lindsey starts at 5 p.m. when he’s assigned loads for the next day. He and his company decide what time he will start and the order he will deliver. At 10:00 pm, he gets to his truck and does a required safety inspection. After that, he will head to one of the many loading racks in East Texas and Shreveport (Louisiana) before wheeling onto a customer’s site. Lindsey’s normal schedule has her working between 12 and 14 hours per day, 5 or 6 days a week. Most Americans realized in 2021 that truck drivers were a crucial part of the supply chains.

Owner Operators

“Everything people use in everyday life was delivered by a truck driver somewhere along the way, so it is definitely an important profession,” Lindsey says. “The main challenges in truck driving are getting the product to customers in a safe and timely manner without any collisions with four-wheelers (automobiles), animals, buildings or other trucks, often in every kind of inclement weather known to man.

“Sometimes in the fuel industry, the racks and refineries run out, and we are left trying to find the fuel for the customer, or we will sit in line with other trucks until we can make the load. You must always be on the lookout for other drivers when you are driving a truck. One accident could mean your life or your job.”

The art of blacksmithing is alive and well at factories all throughout the United States.

Laying the Wood

Daniel Lowery has owned and operated D&H Wood Products in Booneville, Arkansas, since 1996. The sawmill in Arkansas is located at the intersection of the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges. The company exports eastern cedar and works with a variety of hardwoods. It is possible that the mill he runs produced the hardwood flooring you installed after watching an interior design program on HGTV. The family-owned company employs a dozen workers and starts work before dawn.

The timber and lumber industry has a vital role in our country. The products used are not just for construction like plywood and framing wood, but also in transportation and logistics with items such as railroad ties or pallets.
“The housing market is booming and lumber plays an integral part of building structures,” Lowery says. “Framing lumber and plywood have been in high demand lately, with all of the natural disasters plaguing our country.

The supply of lumber has been affected by wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. The railroads are in need of more railroad ties. Transporting goods is becoming more important as the economy expands. Many of these goods are loaded onto trucks and railcars using wooden crates and pallets.”

Paper Or Plastic?

And Michael Scott on The Office wouldn’t have a job without paper. While lumber production may be done by machines, heavy lifting such as stacking lumber or running saws is still needed. Lowery’s wife, Krista, even saws and also runs much of the business, which he says couldn’t function without her.
The industry does face challenges. Loggers often have a difficult time transporting logs from wet areas, meaning D&H Wood Products might go weeks without buying any supply. It is important to stockpile product. Finding the right employees is also a challenge. It is a physically demanding job, with scorching hot summer days and freezing cold winters. Workers must lift 40-120 pounds all day long.

Lowery is still passionate about the industry, despite all its challenges. “Logging and sawmilling is in my blood,” he says. “I enjoy it or I definitely wouldn’t do it. It’s not for the faint of heart or a lazy individual.”

Cowboy Up

Life on a real ranch or in the saddle as a professional cowboy isn’t exactly like Yellowstone portrays it. Jacob Morrison, a 27 year old cowboy working for Horton Ranches, knows what the job is like firsthand. His job isn’t exactly the Wild West, but it keeps alive America’s Western heritage in a country that consumed 27.6 billion pounds of beef in 2020.
Morrison is a rancher who works at a yearling farm. The ranch receives calves, raises them up to 800 pounds, and then ships them to eat. On a daily basis, Morrison’s duties include feeding the cattle, making sure all livestock have water and making sure water pumps work properly. Morrison’s experience as a cowboy comes in handy when he ropes sick calves and takes care of them.

It’s a tough job, and that’s not all that goes into a day on the ranch for this cowboy. Morrison fixes fences, trains horses, and maintains tractors and other equipment. He’s even a little bit of a bovine obsetrician. During calving season, he pulls calves to ensure the cow cares for her calf properly. If the cow doesn’t tend to her calf, Morrison does some maternal duties himself and bottle feeds the animal or allows the calf to feed off a milk cow.

The City Slickers and Blue Collar Folks

“We work the cows and calves in the spring and fall, and we do it the old-school way,” says Morrison, who lives in Kaufman, Texas. “Then we rope and drag the calves to a fire to brand them with the ranch’s brand. We also wean calves twice a year, where they leave the mama cow and learn to live on their own.”

This isn’t a traditional 9-to-5 job, and calving season brings especially long days and nights. The long nights and days can make weaning and branding difficult. These tasks can take weeks to complete.
What is it that most people don’t understand about cowboys? People in the “outside world” believe that ranching is just putting out hay to cows and watching them roam, Morrison says. This is not true. The life of a horse rider can be hard on the family.

“Not everyone is cut out for ranching; it’s either in your blood or it ain’t,” Morrison relates. “Yellowstone is just a fairy-tale picture of what the working cowboys do on a daily basis. I have cowboyed since I graduated high school; it’s my passion. I wouldn’t trade what I do for anything.”

Being a high-rise window washer is just one great paying blue collar job.

Hi Rise Window Cleaning Jobs

Chris Marrs (52), lived in San Diego for five years among the clouds. He wasn’t a ski instructor or an airline pilot, though. Marrs was a skyscraper glass washer for five years. Marrs worked for the company as well as on the swingstage and swamichair, devices which can suspend window-cleaners hundreds of feet into the air. People with a fear for heights might want to avoid applying.

But for those not bothered by exposure to heights, these high-rise window-washing pros keep America’s major skylines looking pristine. Marrs explains that the set-up is very simple for cleaning windows. You only need dish soap, a bucket of towels, and a squeegee.
Marrs also had a strong sense of camaraderie with his team. His four employees were all climbing and surfing friends. After work, they would clean the towers and hit the waves. Marrs was the owner of this company for 5 years, and then sold it to a former employee.

However, window-washing at high altitudes is not without risk. “I was knocked off a six-story building by a rolling scaffold,” Marrs says. He stopped his fall when he grabbed the safety line three stories down. “I still have rope burn scars.”
Marrs is convinced that when taken as a group, the benefits of his profession outweigh any risks. The job had many benefits, not only a good paycheck but also social benefits. Marrs notes, “I met several girls who saw me through the windows.”

Being a oil worker can lead to long hours rewarding you with big paychecks.

Black Gold is Within

There’s no doubt that America runs on petroleum, and Jeff Horton of Midland, Texas, does his part to make sure that our country’s cars crank up. The 33-year old drilling superintendent is on the front line every day, maintaining oil rigs to ensure everything works properly. Horton’s career has taken him to many places from Texas to New Mexico to Pennsylvania.

It is a physically demanding job, with 12-hour shifts from 6am to 6pm and 6pm to 6am. They may even have to take apart pumps and put them together again. It is important to have a good mechanical understanding and an in-depth knowledge of diesel engines. Workers never know when a problem will arise. It is obvious that a lot of effort goes into keeping oil flowing.

Horton’s company uses six employees per crew, and the job comes with some personal sacrifice. Horton’s workers are often away from home while working in the oilfields.
“The hardest thing for people to realize is that these guys work 14 days on and 14 days off, so that’s 14 days away from their families, staying on location in housing provided by the company,” he says. “These guys are working 12 hours a day to provide a good living for their households.”

You can find more blue collar jobs here: Bounty hunters are needed to help with the investigation of crimes.

Here is a small glimpse of some of the blue collar occupations, and the workers that keep our economy and industry on track. These professionals are on the job every day, providing the products and service that many Americans consider to be standard.
If these hardworking professionals stopped doing what they are doing for our country, and to better their families, then life would be very, very different for the average American. Join us at Skillset as we salute the hard-working men and women that keep our nation moving!

The post The Top Five Blue Collar Jobs In America first appeared on Skillset Magazine.

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