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To think that desk jobs can be as taxing as manual ones?

(63 Posts)
KenAdams Thu 10-Apr-14 12:47:44

DH and I have both been to college/uni (not trying to sound like a dick just to illustrate my point) and had desk jobs so we've been used to desk based work for a while now.

SIL and her DP have manual jobs. She says that we don't do proper work and just look at computer all day so it's easy. They have both worked since 18 and not been to uni, so it may be just that they haven't done any desk based stuff for a while and forgotten what it's like, but AIBU to think that desk jobs are just as difficult as manual jobs, albeit in a different way?

SparklySocks Thu 10-Apr-14 12:50:33

I am always exhausted after a day in the office as it's mentally draining. Never had a manual job so can't really compare but I know how tired I get.

brokenhearted55a Thu 10-Apr-14 12:50:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NurseyWursey Thu 10-Apr-14 12:53:24

Yes and I say that as a nurse who was on my feet all day, and also as a warehouse person years ago (i've had a thousand jobs me)

I worked in Admin and it was absolutely draining. I had so many roles to do it was unbelievable. Sales, despatch, invoicing, goods in, goods out, purchase orders, sales orders, order queries, order updates, booking appointments, consolidation, data input, telephone calls (GRR), mailshots...

Trying to do a million things at once is taxing to anyone's brain!

squishysquirmy Thu 10-Apr-14 13:00:47

Yes and I'v done both. The manual work was more physically tiring though - I could eat a lot more when I did that! The desk job was more mentally taxing, still felt exhausted at the end of the day.

BackOnlyBriefly Thu 10-Apr-14 13:07:02

Having done both I can say that both are exhausting in their own way.

Mind you these days many an office job seems to involve lots of time to post on MN so maybe not so hard as they used to be. smile

PicaK Thu 10-Apr-14 13:14:58

Another one here who's done both. One mentally taxing one physically taxing.

I think if you haven't done both then it's quite hard to get your head around it.

So yanbu - but I'd just smile and nod than try to get them to empathise, it's not going to happen.

WhateverLover Thu 10-Apr-14 13:35:54

I am a PA and my DP is a plumber and he can never understand why I'm tired at the end of the week as I "just sit at a desk all day" hmm

Latara Thu 10-Apr-14 13:36:12

Nursing is mentally and physically tiring but at the actual time of working I feel alert because of the adrenaline I think.

When I was an office worker (late teens/early 20s) I found sitting down at a desk physically tiring because although I had plenty of work I could hardly stay awake to do it - just because I was sitting down rather than on the go IYSWIM? I used to have to take pro plus and drink lots of cola to stay awake.

Doingakatereddy Thu 10-Apr-14 13:37:17

Factory work can be both mentally And physically exhausting.

Where I work shop floor production team operatives work in cold high bat warehouse units, with massive shuddering presses, bright lights on all the time and are expected to visually check, wipe, pick and load a car bonnet every 20 seconds. Every half hour there are measurement checks, fixture checks and in the hour there is a complex sheet of checks.

No drinks, no toilet break, only 1x 20 min and 1x 10 min break each shift.

Office work is a piece of piss compared to this

WilsonFrickett Thu 10-Apr-14 13:38:44

Do you know what's the hardest? Jobs dealing with the public. I've worked in all sorts of jobs and found most of them do-able (although I haven't done factory work and take your point Doing) but when you have to deal with people, it's bloody exhausting.

Latara Thu 10-Apr-14 13:39:29

But to be honest in both types of jobs I've been on lots of tiring medication so I get tired anyway. I'm tired now and I've done nothing all day!

In nursing I find that I'm not tired walking around the ward but the minute I sit down to do any paperwork it catches up with me. So I try to stand up to do paperwork.

Maybe humans are naturally not meant to sit down all day, but are meant to 'keep going'.

Amytheflag Thu 10-Apr-14 13:41:33

I have to agree that physical work can be mentally draining too. I'd choose a desk job any day over the very physical and mentally draining care job I had. Id come home sweaty, tired, sore and drained emotionally. Bath then straight to bed and back again the next morning to repeat.

Latara Thu 10-Apr-14 13:41:50

Also variety at work helps. Any 'routine' ie boring job whether factory work or certain office work can make you tired I think.

Melonade Thu 10-Apr-14 13:44:35

Ive done manual work (horses) full time during the holidays and now work in the professions. The manual job was far more exhausting. In terms of having any energy to do anything else once work was finished, whether that be going to the cinema, out socialising, even to the shops or out for a run. Whereas being in a desk job left me plenty of energy to train for a marathon. I could never have done that in the manual job, i was so tired i could hardly run. I also used to sleep far more, and all the other people there were much the same.

Latara Thu 10-Apr-14 13:44:38

I've done factory work too and I never got tired mainly because although it was boring it was also quite cold so I stayed awake more easily. Plus there were lots of cute men who worked there that I could talk to.

Agree with Amy that care work is draining.

Latara Thu 10-Apr-14 13:46:35

I've done different types of nursing - medical and MFE (medicine for the elderly) is more exhausting than surgical (if you are well staffed enough that is). After working for a shift on a medical ward I definitely couldn't hit the gym or go out afterwards.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 10-Apr-14 13:47:18

Wilson you are right. After dealing with people in person and on phone all day I am shattered if it has been busy.

Latara Thu 10-Apr-14 13:47:40

I'm going to shut up now and go to the gym! Because I don't want to go on and on about work and I could do, all day!

Chipandspuds Thu 10-Apr-14 13:49:51

I've had manual jobs and desk jobs but I think the most tiring and worst job for me was working in a call centre. I was just so shocked that the team leaders would go and check the toilets if someone had been on a toilet break for too long!

teenagetantrums Thu 10-Apr-14 13:58:13

I have done both, now working in retail, I think manual jobs are more tiring, as they are physically and mentally tiring, also desk based jobs give you more opportunity for a break, coffee, toilet. However its not a competition. I did 20 years sitting at a desk and am much happier now, I would never go back, at least now at the end of the day the job is done, no piles of unfinished paperwork for the next day.

ShoeWhore Thu 10-Apr-14 14:01:33


ShoeWhore Thu 10-Apr-14 14:04:38

Depends on the job I think.

My old desk based job was quite pressurised, lots of client meetings, long hours, big deadlines, lot of responsibility too. It was hard work! I'm sure there are easier desk based jobs and just as draining manual jobs.

It's a bit childish of your SIL though, it's not a competition!

PeachyTheSanctiMoanyArse Thu 10-Apr-14 14:08:27

Most jobs are tiring aren't they?

The ones I have had most recently have tended to be a mix- say charity work where half the day I am chasing physically after people and half the day inputting forms, but I don't remember feeling significantly more tired doing physical jobs than desk- if anything I think immobility is exhausting in itself.

The hardest jobs I ever had to do each day were the most boring ones; reception in quiet places etc; the most difficult yet consistently engaging those where i made calls about social service interventions etc later in my career.

WhatsTheWordHummingbird Thu 10-Apr-14 14:30:47

I have had a couple of manual jobs and am no (for three years) desk based.

I would prefer to do manual as the benefits to me are-
Less opportunity for clock watching
Fresh air (one job was six days a week outdoors. Felt fresh as a daisy every day!)
Usually more customer facing
A greater appreciation for the work you do do as people can physically see it

I find ny desk job draining (either too busy and stressful or dead so no middle ground), telephone converstations are so much more challenging than face to face ones, I get no exercise or fresh air, and people do genuinely think I just sit there and wait for people to give me work. I dont.

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