The Valpo Core Reader

Document Type

Work and Vocation Essay

Publication Date



Imagine this: it is disturbingly loud, so loud that you can barely hear yourself think, let alone try to formulate the words that are coming out of your fellow worker’s mouth. Your ears will never recover from the amplified sound waves that make their way through your intricate ear canals and they ring long after you have gone home for the day. If you can formulate the sound of 10,000 cars revving their engines at once while someone simultaneously fires shotguns, this is the sound. It is hot. You can feel the sweat as it drips down off of your limbs and face, sinking into the heavy and full-bodied coveralls that you are forced to wear, making the helmet on your head slick with perspiration. The furnace that turns the items in it a bright cherry red burns day and night around you making everyday feel like a blistering day in July. It smells funny. The chemicals that are used in your workplace everyday are poisonous, hazardous. They have crippled people, even killed people on contact, and yet you breathe it in on a daily basis infiltrating the delicate tissue in your lungs. The acrid smell in your nose never leaves, no matter how much you sneeze or try to clean it out. Your feet and back ache from literally climbing thousands of steps daily and wedging yourself into the smallest of crevices that at any moment could collapse, wrenching your body over, so that you can fix the things that other people have broken. Your hands hurt from the constant scrapes and dings. The repeat of washing them leaves them red and dry, very susceptible to cracks and painful breaks in your once velvet-like skin. Are you scared, concerned, or disgusted perhaps? I am. This is what my dad, Tony Albertson, goes to work in everyday.


Copyright © 2011 by Valparaiso University and the Author. Use with permission.