A Day Labor Primmer
First a little day labor primmer. In most of the medium to large cities there are businesses that supply day labor to employers. Day labor, as the name implies, is working for a full or partial day and getting paid that day.
Either the evening before or early in the morning an employer will call these organizations and tell them how many workers they need and at what time they should report. Most of the jobs are manual labor and in many cases things that no one else wants to do.
The day laborer shows up and signs in and then as calls arrive they are assigned to the workers on a first come, first served basis. The laborer may sit there for a few minutes or a few hours; if the calls end before everyone has a day job, the remaining laborers are sent home.
There are different types of day labor companies; most as stated above are manual labor, but some are also oriented toward office work. The ones providing day labor office workers can be a little better, because they may be looking for additional skills. These skills could include typing, MS Office, spreadsheets, or more. As the skills requirements go up there may be a corresponding increase in the hourly rate that is offered.
Succeeding at Day Labor
If your situation and needs are pressing, day labor can be a short-term answer for anyone. In fact, I did day labor for a couple of weeks when things were particularly tight. The point I want to make is that you can be successful at day labor.
Much of your competition for these jobs are people that are really down and out and in many cases have given up. Sorry to say, some may even be there to support a drug or alcohol habit. Because of the competition, if you are industrious, you can have an advantage.
When I did my day labor stint I was fortunate to be called the first day when I was there. My first advantage was that I arrived shaved, showered, and presentable. I was not there for very long before I was called for an assignment. It was working at a “Rent-to-Own” business.
As with most of these businesses my assignment was something that no one in the organization really wanted to do. I was assigned to put together furniture that would be going on the showroom floor and ultimately to the customer. Most of the stuff was of the kit variety with an assembly instruction sheet.
Being reasonably intelligent I went through the task list and assembled everything they put in front of me. It was not too long before I was asking for the next assignment. They had me clean up the back room and get rid of furniture that was damaged or missing parts; which I did. The back room was a cluttered mess so it took a while to complete, but I was finished by day’s end.
Later that evening I received a call from the Day Labor company asking if I would be there the next day and saying that the Rent-to-Own company had requested me for the next day. I said I would be there and now I did not have to show up early to get on the list. Yes, I had to sign-in, but it was sign-in and go.
Again I did as asked. This time it was cleaning up the parking lot behind the store. When the employees opened something they just threw the boxes and packaging out the back door. If there was something broken, they threw it out the back door. There were piles and piles of junk sitting in the lot.
I was told to clean it up the best I could and put whatever I could into the dumpsters and neatly pile the remainder. So I started. With some good planning and organizing I was able to get everything into the dumpsters, sweep the area, and have it very presentable. A couple of hours into the project the manager came out and asked me what I had done with all the garbage, because there were no piles. I explained that I was able to get everything into the dumpsters and he was amazed. In fact, he did not believe me. The reality is that he had no choice because there was no other place to go with the junk.
The point is that even with the crappiest of jobs there are opportunities to stand out and even better if you are down in the dumps and thinking that you have no value. Just doing something as simple as day labor and doing it well, can get you some recognition that will help you rebuild your self confidence.
Take pride in what you do and regardless of how menial it may seem, people do take notice and you can have a sense of accomplishment.