Free Blue Collar Brilliance Essay Sample
Every job in the world has its unique set of demands. Karasek contends that these demands vary in nature, for example, some are physical while others are intellectual (288). Furthermore according to Karasek, the capacity to perform a job satisfactorily depends on a worker’s ability to meet both the intellectual and physical demands of a job. (288). Schreuder et al., states that one does not acquire the ability to meet these demands overnight, especially when it comes to blue collar kinds of jobs or the minimum wage jobs in the society that are not normally given much attention (426). Rather this ability is gained progressively as one performs their jobs, makes critical observations and ultimately learns how to perform the job in the most effective and efficient manner (Schreuder 426).
This aspect is clearly brought out in the article “Blue Collar Brilliance” by Mike Rose. He talks about how his mother had progressively learned to cope with the demands of her job and effectively fulfill them. One of the greatest demands was dealing with a relatively large number of customers and therefore remembering who had ordered what. The mother would sometimes have to wait on up to nine tables with each having several customers. To cope with this demand, the mother, whose name was Rosie developed memory strategies that helped her remember. She also memorized the time it took to prepare different dishes so that she could monitor the orders and give relevant feedback to the audience. In addition, Rosie also learned to work smart as the author puts it. She made every minute in her time count. She decided very fast the tasks she would perform first and those she would perform last. She also had to devise the tasks that she could cluster together and, therefore, save time. For example, she could collect empty tables while still taking orders. She would also for example balance several mugs of coffee on her hands as she delivered to different customers. Another intellectual demand placed on her was dealing with customer’s feelings and emotions. She had to read social cues from customers or their immediate feelings and appropriately respond to them. The desire and hunger for food definitely arouses varying emotions and as a waiter, Rosie had to cope with these demands and effectively manage them.
I have had a first experience when it comes to the intellectual demands that a particular job can have on an individual. During one of my summer holidays, I worked as an assistant in my uncle’s car services and repair shop. Although this is a blue collar job, it was the most intellectually demanding job that I have ever had the chance of working in. My uncle’s shop catered for vehicles of all types, shapes, and sizes and determining how to cater to each was intellectually daunting. I had to come up with intellectual knowledge for various actions, for example, how to provide washing services without getting the insides of the cars wet and at the same time checking some of the car’s basic components such as the engine, the brakes and the pedals to ensure that they were working correctly and so on. One of the things that made this job, so challenging was the fact that there were usually several customers at a time. This therefore meant that I had to perform several roles at a time, (the same way that Rosie did so brilliantly) including determine the problems ailing several cars. I had to memorize how the systems of different cars functioned and so as to accurately deduce what for example was the problem with a certain car model brought it for servicing.
The other intellectual demand of this job was in regards to dealing with people. Some customers tend to be very sensitive and touchy when it comes to their cars and, therefore, there is bound to an arousal of varying emotions at a place such as a car repair shop. I had to manage with the feelings and emotions of the customers, just like Rosie did at her workplace with her customers and even as Joe did. Some of the customers would for example come claiming that a particular services had not been performed as per the initial specifications and it would thus be my duty to assess the situation and give appropriate feedback calmly and make the client understand.
Just like Joe, I also had to parcel out the mental and physical resources of each job and keep note of all ongoing demands, for example, which car needed to be serviced at what time and when a particular car owner was bound to collected his or her car. I also had to maintain my cool in spite of the various job demands.
This experience was an eye opener to me. I learnt that contrary to popular thought, there is a lot of intellectual demand in the blue collar job category and one has to sufficiently deal with these demands in order for a job to be performed efficiently and effectively.
Karasek Jr, Robert A. "Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: Implications for job redesign." Administrative science quarterly (1979): 285-308.
Schreuder, K. J., et al. "Job demands and health complaints in white and blue collar workers." Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation 31.4 (2008): 425-432.