A few months back I went job hunting. Having just returned from a trip to England, I was broke.
I updated my resume and printed off a few copies ’90’s style—at the library.
Trying to figure out what sorta job I wanted was tough. I’m a relatively physical guy who likes to move around while I work, but I’m no handyman.
Need me to play 3 hours of basketball with you at the park? No problem. Fix your fence? Hopefully dad’s around.
I tried the office thing. Sitting in an air-conditioned room for 8 hours a day made me feel like the Americans were trying some “enhanced interrogation techniques” on me—I felt very alone and the lights were too bright.
Naturally, it was time to enter the world of heavy industry.
REALLY heavy industry.
After dropping off roughly 15 resumes at companies that didn’t care much for my friendly/desperate approach, destiny knocked.
And opportunity answered, handing me my only high-paying option.
Note: most of the managers I approached were only semi-interested in my services. Standing at 5’8, weighing 170 lbs. and occasionally puffing on my inhaler, I’m not a first-overall pick in the construction world.
All that changed when Ron from recruiting at **** **** ltd. informed me about the hard-nosed life of house moving. The inescapable smell of salami on his breath really helped capture how challenging—yet rewarding—this new opportunity sounded.
Driving trucks. Lifting heavy things. Putting them down again. Sign me up.
“Believe it or not,” he told me, “only a small percentage of our workers stick around.”
No sh*t. I learned the job existed on Friday. My first shift was Monday.
- 6AM: Arrive at the yard and help load two big rigs full of giant gear. Are my hands really that small?
- 6:30-7:15AM: Ride shotgun for my anger-fuelled foreman. He told me about his life: an endless cycle of regret, struggle and despair. I told him I owned a fish tank. I don’t think he heard me.
- 7:15AM: Arrive at job site. Unload gear while navigating around the physical battle being waged between my foreman and his second-in-command. Their resemblance to Mario and Luigi was uncanny. I couldn’t wait to meet Bowser.
- 8-8:10AM: Acknowledge how the house was lifted above the ground by ten feet. Come to terms with the fact I will have to work under it throughout the day.
- 8:10AM-12PM: Lift 50-pound Jenga shaped wooden blocks. Organize them into a series of platforms that truck wheels can navigate across while moving A PERSON’S HOME.
- 12-12:45PM: Mini-coma/lunch break.
When I was charged with going under the MOVING house, to radio the driver when to stop MOVING the MOVING HOUSE, I began to doubt my future in the industry.
My Safety Training
- A two-minute sit-down with the guys, all of whom were admittedly hungover. At one point they turned toward me and the foreman muttered “If you have any questions, just ask.”
- This really doesn’t need to be a list.
I’d recommend working in the house moving industry to people who like HARD physical labour and the rush of knowing that death is always near.
The company I worked with shall not be named, but they seemed quite professional and treated me fairly…sans safety briefing.
Please Note: I’m not saying house moving is a bad industry to get involved in. It’s not.
It’s just not for everyone.
I actually liked the physical side of the job. I got a GREAT workout that day. The danger aspect didn’t sit well with me that night, which lead to me quitting the most short-lived job I ever had: 10 hours and 30 minutes.
Imagine if I get audited this year.
(Insert witty and equally thought-provoking sign off here)