I am the fruits of my own Labor(er)”-Ramblings of a Laid-Up Longshoreman

"I am the fruits of my own labor-er!" Find out the fascination with why people choose what they do. I wonder if our labor will every be truly compensated? If the "Higher Ups" will ever truly know the value that ONE single worker puts in each day. What is your value?

I am the fruits of my own labor(er)

“I am the fruits of my own labor(er).”

Are you bearing the fruits to your own labor? Why does anyone want to do hard labor anyways? Well for me, its because: “I am the fruits of my own labor-er!” I have always had a fascination with why people choose what they do. I wonder if the hard workers time will every be truly compensated? If the “Higher Ups” will ever truly know the value that ONE single worker puts in each day. What is your value? Do you even know? Well, I do and here’s a broad look at why my passion, means hard labor is involved.

Labor only means grunt and hard work for a longshoreman. What is your labor? Where is your passion? How do you pick your laborers? How do you know if you have picked a company that will value the labor you provide them? These are all good questions…now answering them, that is completely different.

“I am a longshoreman”

“Remembering it, as if it were yesterday. One would imagine this day their whole life. It all led up to one thing and one thing only.”

"Where was my passion? 

My heart? 

What did I love about my life? 

And, where did I want to be?"

How did I become a Longshoreman?

Well… before I could answer any of those questions, I had to first look at where I was, What I was doing, and be at a point to make concrete decisions.

“Proud to be a Recovering American Veteran” Veterans Village Of San Diego 2014 A place where recovering veterans go for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

It was not too long ago, Sept , 2014. I had hit MY rock bottom.
Through-out all my success; there was failure.
I could recognize a change in myself, and that is how I knew I was ready.
I wanted more out of the life I was given, so I decided to give myself a
chance and work for the life I wanted.
After admitting myself into an inpatient facility for drug and alcohol
rehabilitation; The work began.
Not only was I working to be a better me,
I was working on being a better mom as well;
which meant, I had no other option but to succeed moving forward.

Rehab life

There was 6 months of insightful classes,
in which I learned about: Just for Today.
No, not your normal college classes,
but I was in class at least 8 hours each day.
At first glance, I thought my moment would never come,
when I could cut the ties that bounded me, avoid homelessness,
and get custody of my son back.
Being in recovery gave me the hope I had in humanity, back.
It connected me to people, in my similar state of life; I could relate to.
Heck, I lived with at least 150 other veterans in recovery.
My bunk shared at least 2 other women at a time.
Personalities were different, stages of recovery were different,
but we were all after the SAME GOAL.

How I decided to become a laborer

When I had finally moved on to the next stage in my recovery where I could decide what I wanted to do for work, I was stumped. Ten months after being completely sober, I was eager to know, I would be “Required” to go back to work. Like seriously…required? I was begging to go back to work, since I had to stop working to get into rehab in the first place. I have always been that person that thrived from working. To me, it was always an accomplishment moving forward to be the small guy working to make the big guy happy. As eager as I was to finally go back to work, things were different this time around.

I had a plan:
Its always been up to you

Here were my options:

  1. Find temporary work until you can actually focus on your career. (Whatever that was.) And I did exactly that. I started off looking in all the wrong directions.
  2. Focus on what “job” could make me the most income the quickest, to finally leave rehab(My brain was spinning in 100 directions)
  3. Maybe going through more schooling to obtain a craft.
  4. Staying close to what felt like home to me. The military.

“I am a veteran of the US Army.”

Army strong all day long.

"So why wouldn't I use that? 
"Why wouldn't I do that?" 
"Could I re-enlist?"

I was 34, it was highly unlikely. But I could find a way to still be able to work, while utilizing my brain and finding something that would physically exhaust me, especially since it was always so hard for me to go to sleep at night.  My temporary position was working for a labor company building stages, hooking up sound equipment, lighting…the whole sha-bang to create an atmosphere for each event. It was physically demanding, but I didn’t feel like my heart was in it. Also, I wanted something stable, long term, full time, and with the option to move up with hands on learning. And temporary laborer meant just that; temporary.


Why was it, not so temporary? Where I was at in life, “temporary worked”. It meant I didn’t have commit. At this stage in my life and recovery, I was no longer scared of commitment. Although, I enjoyed LITERALLY ANYTHING I was asked to do, I needed to feel complete.  As my priorities changed, so did my mentality. My goal had become clear, once again. Sustain stability in a career to obtain a place I could offer myself and my son to call home. Which, to me, meant finding my passion.

What did I enjoy about hard labor? Now, I knew I liked to physically work out and I knew my brain wasn’t wired like the rest, which meant; what I chose to do for work MUST entertain my desire to KEEP learning. I started to take advice from my fellow veterans, case managers, and sponsor. It wasn’t about JUST ME, it was about the quality of life I could continue to bring others thru giving back.  If you know me, you also know that I don’t take kindly to getting advice about my life, but through recovery—JUST for TODAY, I could do anything IF I just let others IN!


There were a few fellow veterans I made friends with, but there was one problem. They were never around.  Not because they didn’t want to hang out, but because they were filling their lives with enrichment and recovery and I wanted in! I had to find out what they did for work—and fast!

They were tired and covered in paint, or dirt between the finger nails. Stunk of pure hard work, and yet they were still smiling.

What was their secret?

Let me tell you what their secret was!!!

Passion, motivation, hands on, dirt work, ie: Labor.

Could I find this balance?

Could I be a grunt longshoreman?

Would I want to be a grunt longshoreman?

Heck, I craved being the grunt. So, I talked to my employment counselor, and she got me in a group interview. To work where, you ask? For who, you ask? Doing what, you ask?

Working as a contractor for the military thru a private company at the shipyards….and I would be working on ships, and in the water? HOW COULD I REFUSE SUCH A BLESSING?

I couldn’t. My pass time is usually spent working out on the beach, enjoying the smell of the salt water, and the heat pressed against my face.

Was I supposed to have gone into the Navy instead of the Army?

I don’t know, but what I do know is that, I FOUND MY PASSION, and I hadn’t even started working yet.

Understand the Passion behind the Labor

How did I find my passion in hard labor? You see, I had pleasure in LABORING since I was little. I owe that to my dad, whom was a well worker,water and oil rigger, Vietnam ARMY VET. My mom was a RN, so I watched her helping people, working at the hospitals, and also an Vietnam ARMY VET. Now, I had a position, a CAREER GOAL, in which I could get all dirty and sweaty like my dad did, working with his hands, but be able to give back, to a bigger cause, like my mom did.

I had found my passion, and in a sick twisted way—I owed it all to getting high, hitting my bottom, and going to rehab. Without that important change in my life, who knows where I would be? So with that in mind, I say…

“Thank you to rehab”—Just for today.

Leave no man behind Serving Homeless Veterans in Recovery Thank you VVSD

This is just how I fell in love with Maritime Labor. How have others found lucrative careers in hard labor?https://isupportmaritimeworkers.com/maritime-workers-oil-and-gas-career/

-Laid-Up Longshoreman