Whether you are a construction worker, a mechanic, or a factory worker, blue collar job stress can have an effect on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
What is a Blue Collar Job?
For many years, jobs have been divided into white collar, service industry, and blue collar classifications. White collar workers are those in professional fields, administration, or other positions that do not require manual labor. Those in the service industry work in positions that involve interaction with customers, such as jobs in sales, food, or entertainment. Blue collar workers perform manual labor and generally earn an hourly pay rate. Often blue collar work is associated with a lack of education, but this is not the case. Many blue collar jobs require advanced skills, technical training, or years of apprenticeship.
Blue collar jobs include skilled and unskilled positions in industries such as:
- Construction trades
- Maintenance and operations
- Mechanical work
- Repair and instillation
- Factory jobs
- Truck drivers
Stress and Blue Collar Workers
For many workers that are considered blue collar, dealing with job stress is a constant part of their daily life. Faced with a shrinking job market, possible layoffs, and factory closings, blue collar workers often worry about their financial future.
Depending on their position, blue collar workers often face a unique set of stressors. For example, many people that work on an assembly line often feel stress due to the monotonous and repetitive nature of their work. This type of stress is referred to as environmental stress.
In addition to repetitive tasks, other factors in the workplace that cause stress among blue collar workers include:
- Lack of control over their work
- The inability to be able to use their acquired skills
- Low job security
- High performance demands
- Low pay
- Little opportunity for advancement
- Limited decision making power
- Lack of mental stimulation
- Machine pacing
- Long hours
- Shift work
- Environmental conditions
- Jobs that require very little skill requirements
- Poor work conditions
- Social prejudice
Job Related Stress Affects Your Health
The effects of job related stress experienced by blue collar workers, both male and female, can seriously affect their mental and physical health. As your body reacts to workplace stressors and high levels of anxiety, physical reactions take place. Your heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, and immune system weakens. Over time, with prolonged stress, your body becomes susceptible to many medical conditions and illnesses including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Migraines and other headaches
- Muscle tension
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The stressful physical demands of many blue collar jobs cause different health problems for some workers such as neck problems, back pain, or shoulder injuries.
Ways to Cope With Blue Collar Job Stress
Blue collar workers, as well as those working in the service industries and white collar jobs, need to know how to cope with work related stress in ways that are healthy. Unfortunately, many people use coping strategies that temporarily reduce their stress levels but are unhealthy causing more damage to their bodies. Examples of these strategies include:
- Excessive drinking
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Using drugs or pills to relax
- Taking out your feelings of stress on others through physical violence or abusive angry outbursts
It is important to learn healthy ways of coping with job related stress. From learning how to meditate to using humor to relieve stress, finding a technique that you enjoy and works for you will make you happier and healthier. Popular techniques include:
- Deep breathing techniques
- Listening to Relaxing Music
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Taking a walk
Learning ways to cope with blue collar job stress is essential for your physical, mental, and emotional health and well being so you can continue to perform your job duties clearly and confidently.