I have just finished a run of 5 consecutive days at my housekeeping job. When I came home (after a disappointing failed trip to a hospital far away to give a blood sample, too late, too late) I put on a load of washing, cleaned up to make the place shiny and new after our Airbnbers (not that they made a mess, I'm just an absolutist when it comes to feeling comfortable in my own space), and now I'm sitting with a pint glass of water (hydration is the key to success) and sore limbs.
5 days is the typical stretch anyone works, but my job is incredibly physically demanding. Not only is it timed to the last second, but you're also required to lug heavy things around and generally maintain a series of unnatural and uncomfortable positions for hours at a time (making beds when you're tall, no mean feat). I have no qualms about doing this 'precarious' unskilled work, money is money, and I need a quick fix solution before Autumn comes and my first step on the career ladder finally begins (more on that soon!). But it's mentally taxing, stressful, and tiring.
I cannot really emphasis enough how exhausted my body is. I may be stronger and fitter now than I was 6 weeks ago, but doing this work for any extended amount of time is a middle ago of chronic back and limb pain waiting to happen. I made a throwaway comment to the woman that trained me in that this was my 5th day in a row (usually our days are spaced out over the week, only 3 days a week), and how tired I was. She proceeded to tell me that she once worked 18 DAYS IN A ROW and that if you stay in the job long enough you'll work the whole month without a break.
There's something incredibly sad, no, angering, about an industry that sets those conditions as something to be expected, and not, say, illegal. I'll be really glad to hand in my notice in a couple of months. I just feel bad for all the woman that work at that place (perpetually and patronisingly referred to as 'the girls' by the supervisors) and feel like they don't deserve any better.