General Labor Jobs

As career choices go, you don't hear a lot about general labor jobs. These jobs are generally and incorrectly considered downscale, but in practice they can pay very well, and provide an excellent set of portable job skills. In many cases, people doing casual labor jobs earn more than people in full-time positions. This sort of work is usually in demand in agriculture, construction, warehouses, factories, even retail, and other industries where the labor component isn't directly obvious.

Today the old picture of a 'labor' job is misleading. It used to mean just doing manual labor, and that still is a component for most baseline jobs categorized as labor. Now, things have changed a lot. The labor job is the starting point, in many cases. Employers have a vested interest in training and getting more value out of employees. The result is that reliable labor workers are upgraded, trained, and in some cases wind up with a range of certificates which are extremely useful in getting better paying jobs.

The general labor market is pretty complex. Most labor jobs are categorized as casual. There's also a labor market networking system, where people keep track of labor jobs for friends, and it's pretty reliable. Because of the very high diversity in laboring jobs, an ear to the ground usually achieves as much or more than conventional job hunting methods. Cold canvassing is another common practice, with some employers prepared to create lists of contacts for casual work.

In some areas, like stevedoring, this process starts as a basic casual labor approach that develops into a certificate process where the work, which can pay extremely well, is far more regular, to the point of being effectively full-time employment. Depending on the industry, labor hiring can be a 'show up with your boots and hard hat at 5 AM if you want the job' approach, or a normal hiring method. A lot of these jobs pay cash, and laborers aren't on a payroll as such, but paid out of a casual labor fund.

The distinction between full-time salaried labor jobs and casual labor jobs needs to be understood. In full-time jobs, it's all business as usual, normal pay slips, insurance, tax, etc. In casual jobs, it's a simple payment, with none of the usual features of a full-time salary payment. The casual laborer is responsible for all of the extras.

In career terms, historically, it's quite possible for people to start from scratch as laborers, get training and qualifications, and work their way up the ladder in their industries. The old middle class put down was that laborers are people who dropped out of high school, which can be quite true, but the fact is that some of these people wind up running large businesses, because of the skills and training they got as laborers. General labor jobs can lead to rewarding careers. Give yourself a goal and give yourself a career path.