Bricklaying and masonry is a fantastic career choice. The pay is good, the work can be very steady, and it’s a trade you can take with you and encourage your friends, loved ones, and children to partake in to keep this art, trade, and skill alive. That is not to say that it won’t take a toll on your personal life or the lives of those around you. Some personal bloggers touch on what it’s like being closely involved in the life of a bricklayer, such as discussed in this blog. Today, we’ll discuss some downsides but also discuss why those are not any worse than other jobs.
- Smell of a hard day’s work: Bricklaying is hard work outside in all types of weather and temperature. Regardless of season and time of day, a mason is likely to come home smelling of sweat and dirt. Nothing a good shower can’t fix (with good body wash or soap meant for tough grime, like Axe Snakepeel or just a good relationship with a loofa and a bar of soap).
- Laundry troubles: As dirty as a man’s skin and hair may get, imagine the grime on clothing. Regardless of what type of clothing is work, grout, dirt, sand, and mud is likely to get everywhere. The bright side? No uniform to dry clean, the clothes can be cheap (depending on requirements with the company), and denim gets better with a little wear-and-tear.
- Bring work home: Any job done relating to construction, landscaping, and the like will involve bringing some work home. A little sand never hurt anyone. Invest in some air-duster to clean out small crevices and a good vacuum. Leaving work shoes outside or in a designated spot inside can reduce the tracked-in-dirt. At least masonry doesn’t lead to oil smudges over everything like with mechanics. Being in positions of power (including self-employed) can lead to bringing home important information on scraps of wood, napkins, and more and is often followed up by work-related calls and emails any day of the year.
- Unreliable work hours: With any construction job, contracts can start and end with little or no notice. If bricklayers aren’t in a good union, this can lead to long stints of unemployment. However, with the level of training you receive throughout certification program, it should be easy to find new work even if it’s small side jobs outside of your technical employer.
- High risk of injury: Heavy lifting, long hours, and high temperatures can lead to physical damage to the body as well as emotional and stress related problems. However, this can happen with nearly any job. Those in offices sometimes have such high stress it gives them heart conditions or the long hours staring at computers gives even the best CEO migraines and eye problems. Work requires taking risks. This is one instance where having a nest egg for emergencies comes in handy—and high quality health insurance (especially those which pay to help replace wages lost during long stints of inability to work).
- The early bird gets the worm—or work: Most workers in contracting and construction fields need to get up incredibly early and may work very late. However, the amount of time needed to shower in the morning is decreased and coming home to a long shower and a peaceful environment will never be as satisfying as it is with a bricklayer.
The article linked earlier mentions fellow bricklayers and trade workers being “loose cannons and generally a bad influence.” There is no rule that bricklayers must all act a certain way. Many are as sweet as can be at all times and live healthy, happy, peaceful lives. Saying they’re all a bad influence or rude and filthy is not true for all members of any given group. It’s likely that when a group of men performing laborious tasks they’ll get a little boisterous, but chances are, they don’t often bring that home. There is nothing wrong with marrying a bricklayer or becoming one. Any woman would be lucky to have a man so dedicated to a wonderful trade.