Desk Job Vs. Manual Labor - Deciding What's Right For You

Desk Job Vs. Manual Labor - Deciding What's Right For You

As you pick your next job, you have a few questions you should ask yourself. One of those questions is more complicated than it seems - do you want a desk job or a manual labor job? Before you attempt to answer this question, take some time to learn more about the difference between the two types of jobs.

What's the Difference Between Desk and Labor Jobs?

Some of the differences between desk and labor jobs are obvious, while others are less apparent. For instance, a desk job rarely has physical requirements. You don't need to be able to lift 50 pounds or stand for long periods of time. At a desk job, you stay at the same place for most of your shift.

Manual labor jobs are quite the opposite. Before you get a job offer, you need to agree to be able to lift a certain amount of weight or to perform specific repetitive tasks. The daily routine might vary, just as it does for a farmhand, tree worker, or roofer.

All physical requirements aside, there are other differences between the two job types. Generally, labor jobs have fewer education or experience requirements. While there are positions that require a certain level of education or experience, there are usually entry-level roles available. There's also the issue of working hours. Desk jobs tend to be your typical 9-5 schedules, but labor jobs often vary more.

The Benefits of a Desk Job

To determine which type of job is right for you, consider the benefits of a desk job. Here are a few reasons you might want to work a desk job:

Fewer Physical Demands

If you have limited mobility, you probably will appreciate the fact that you don't need to meet physical requirements for a desk job. Although you might need to meet a few basic requirements, you don't need to worry about doing the heavy lifting.

Comfortable Conditions

At a desk job, you probably work in the comfort of an office. You don't need to be in the heat or tight spaces. Rather, you can sit behind your desk or computer and enjoy the AC. On your breaks, you can enjoy access to a fridge or pantry.

Predictable Days

For the most part, desk jobs are predictable. One day looks very much like the next, and this repetitive nature could give you comfort. There's also little variation in location, which may also be ideal. Even the schedule tends to remain the same. You don't need to worry about switching up your start time or working days you usually have off. If you're the type of person that thrives with a rigid routine, you may be well-suited for a desk job.

Opportunity for Growth

If you take a desk job, you can expect to have some level of skill development. You might learn a new program or take part in a certification program.

Benefits of Labor Jobs

There are also benefits to working a more manual job. Here are several benefits of labor jobs:

Get Outside

People who love the outdoors tend to thrive in labor jobs. In some labor jobs, you can be outside all day. This makes the work day much more enjoyable. If you love the outdoors, just make sure the labor job you pick takes place outside. Some jobs, like painting houses, leave you indoors and outdoors. Meanwhile, a few labor jobs only take place indoors.

Trade Development

Although labor jobs don't often let you grow skills, they sometimes expose you to a trade. You can start at the bottom and work your way into an apprenticeship or a more senior role. For those who want a career in a certain trade, a labor job could be a way to get their foot in the door. It's like getting paid for your education.

Move Around

If you hate sitting still, you probably won't like being stuck behind a desk. Some people love the constant movement that comes with labor jobs. Even if you don't go to the gym, you can stay active and in shape at work. If you always struggled to find time to get to the gym, a labor job could be refreshing.

Avoid Boredom

Because many labor jobs change location every day or week, you don't need to worry about boredom. You get more diversity and more exposure to different things.

Which Is Right for You?

Before you pick a job type, consider what you want and need from your work day. If you have physical limitations or love office work, the decision is simple. But if you aren't sure which is right for you, think about other details. For instance, what are your short-term goals? Is there a certain task you hate doing?

In the end, you can probably make either type of job work. If you have a desk job, make sure you take routine breaks. Every hour, stop and go for a walk outside. Doing so could boost your productivity and make your day more enjoyable. You can also get a standing desk, which alleviates some of the issues that come with sitting in your chair all day.

You can also make a manual labor job more pleasant. Just as you should take breaks in an office, you should take breaks in the field. Your body needs time to rest and recover, so figure out a good work schedule. When you take a break, use the time to hydrate or refuel your body. Stretching is another constructive way to use your breaks. Finally, know your limitations. If someone asks you to move something that's too heavy, ask for help.

Whether you're set on a job, or you're still trying to figure out your path, it's time to start looking for work. Get your resume ready and apply for a few jobs. If you make the wrong choice, you can always try to transition to something else.

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