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The daily grind

Think that job looks so easy? Workers of all stripes across the nation dispel the notion that their job is easy.


Meenu Chattopadhyay: My name is Meenu and I'm a food vendor in Manhattan, N.Y. From what I hear people say that food vendor is not a hard job. But the honest truth is is that it's very hard job. Considering the fact that you have to wake up early to get the cart ready. And pushin' the cart sometimes the battery's not full, so you have to push the cart. And it usually takes about three people to push a chicken rice cart and it could break your back pretty much. The hours run from 12 hours, but since I live in Jersey, it takes me about 14-15 hours a day.

Charles Snipes: Hi, my name is Charles Snipes. I've been unemployed for about two years now. It's a lot of work, but if you really want something, you'll go for it. It depends where your head is at; that's an individual thing. People don't know the full thing, the ramifications or why that person is unemployed. THey just usually think negative and don't think the positive. They don't know the whole facts.

The reason why I'm unemployed is the job that I had and no longer work for, medical reasons. But now I'm in school to go for a career for something that I've always wanted. I want to come full circle in my life.

Giles Harrison: Hi may name is Charles Harrison. I'm a paparazzi photographer, I'm based in Los Angeles, Calif. Some people think that being a paparazzi isn't hard work, but I would say that's not true. It's a very detail-oriented job. There's a lot of waiting around, there's a lot of thought, a lot of skill, a lot of professionalism that has to go into it. We're not all running and gunning and running down the street, short-lens flashing people. You have to be well-versed in story, you have to know how to edit photos, you have to understand the marketplace. Anyone can take a picture, but to take a newsworthy photo that's sellable for a lot of money, it's hard work.

Randy Stalker: Hi my name is Randy Stalker and I'm working as a consultant down here, doing a glass replacement at 1000 Connecticut. It's a very busy area, Washington D.C. I'm an iron worker by trade. I get up at a quarter to five; we start work at 5:30 to try and beat the heat here. We start early.

We're working 10-hour days in this heat. It's hard work. We're drinking lots of fluids. The main objective is not have any heat strokes here. I think we're classified as the fourth most dangerous trade in the world. We're working on heights. This particular job site we're lifting or hoisting heavy glass. We work hard.

Elmer Pineda: Hi my name is Elmer Pineda, I work at the Santa Monica Pier Arcade. I'm an arcade operator. Some people think my job is easy, but in reality, it's not. We deal with difficult people, we clean the messes that people make, mop, sweep, work on machines that cause problems. You know it's not easy. It might look easy, but we work as hard as we can. It's the same thing as other jobs.

Earl Blumenauer: My name is Earl Blumenauer. I represent Oregon in the United States Congress. My day starts every day by six. Bike to work, into the gym, but I always run with a dictating unit. The day ends when it ends. I have no control over the schedule, and last night we were on the floor after 9 p.m. making a presentation. And then it's just the time to decompress so your brain isn't jelly. I think you need to start and end each day with that reflection, because otherwise, you will go numb. It all is a blur and you will end a day never quite knowing what you've done, other than you met a couple hundred people, given a dozen speeches and presentations and sat through seemingly endless meetings.

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I cycled about 25 miles today. The important thing about this rides was not where I went but where I started. I started on farm land that I just bought. As I was driving my truck back to town, I listened to the report on hard work. I feel that I have been successful in my personal and professional life and I am fortunate to be relatively healthy for my age of 69. I plan to work full time for another year- not because I feel that I need to but because I enjoy the work.
My father immigrated to the U.S in 1928 a few years before the great depression and a few years before he lost his job and his savings (his bank failed). He only had a sixth grade education. He had nothing; and, no family in the U.S to fall back on. The unemployment rate was about 25% and he felt that his only option was to go from farm to farm to work as a day laborer. He did get a steady job for no pay except room and board. My dad took the job and stayed for two years without pay until he was called back to the mill. He became close friends with the farmer who hired him. From that time on, whenever the farmer needed extra help my dad would go. When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to go with him. This was 25 + years after the depression,. My dad appreciated the help and he would never let the farmer pay him. My dad asked me to never take pay as well. I remember once my dad and I worked very hard thinning peaches for two days- when I closed my eyes at night, I still saw the peaches.
I earned my PhD at about the same age that my dad worked on a farm for room and board. I am no more successful than my dad. My dad and I have been successful in our lives- not because we worked for money but because we found enjoyment in our work. After I finished my bike ride today, before I drove home, I put in another fence post- it was straight- my dad would have been proud.

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