What's wrong with being a roofer?

What's wrong with being a roofer?

A job Americans will do.This is a huge part of my frustration with McCain – he promotes the idea that Americans, as a group, consider ourselves to be “above” certain jobs. We don’t want to pick lettuce for $12 an hour, but a whole lot of us would, in fact, do it for $50. But now that meme has been extended from the agricultural to the construction sectors to include roofing. Are you kidding me? Roofing?

Here’s a little newsflash for the elites: Not everybody wants to go to college. Some people are simply not scholars. They don’t enjoy reading and studying, and the idea of a lifetime at a desk or trapped in a cube is genuinely distasteful to them. They don’t want to work with computers or to manage employees. Many people want to get out of high school and start making money. And they want to work at a job that will eventually allow them to support a family. Seriously, those people do exist. I’m not making this up. Roofing, and just about every job in the construction field, provides those jobs.

I also wonder, what, exactly, is so bad about roofing? I’ve shingled several roofs, and am about to help shingle my own in the fall. I don’t enjoy being outside, sweating, in the hottest part of the summer (although I’ve done it; helping put a church roof on in July), but in the spring and fall it’s actually very pleasant and satisfying work. It’s useful, necessary, and you can see and take satisfaction in exactly how much you’ve accomplished, unlike many office jobs I’ve held. It’s also, now that we have nail guns, a good deal less strenuous than it used to be. So can someone tell me exactly what’s so bad about being a roofer that Americans would not want to do it?


  1. pottermom says:

    We start in grade school telling children that the only “good” jobs are jobs that require a college degree… then we educate our children all as if they are going to Harvard, when we all know that some are just not going to go to college and are not cut out for college. Because we do not teach life skills and vocational skills to these people they end up flipping burgers and wondering why they can’t get a good paying job. If we identified people’s strengths better, stopped marginalizing some jobs and recognized that service jobs, construction, plumbing, electricians etc were honorable jobs we might just get somewhere. We could have a strong vocational educational system to complement the academic system already in place. Instead we tell teens that they have to have that desk job on Wall Street to be somebody. Funny, I actually blogged a bit about this today.

  2. Mind you, I’m biased. My husband got out of the Navy, and started driving a delivery truck for an electrical supply company. He finagled a job as a helper, then worked his way up to being a licensed electrician. In his 30s, he finally got to go to college and now he’s an electrical/electronics engineer. We’ve been very blessed, and I agree there’s nothing wrong with skipping or delaying college. Where’s your blog? You haven’t linked it in your comments.

  3. I’m biased too. Roofers rock, My husband has been roofing for 20 years and earned enough to buy his own company, now he can pick his own hours and still pay his roofers enough that they can buy houses and cars.

  4. That’s fantastic, and all part of the American dream. It’s silly to say that Americans think we’re “above” such things.