I've worked in the office of a body shop for two years now, and it's never been dull. The industry draws quite a variety of workers, but one thing is certain: they all earn their pay. We all work, and hard, to make things happen the way they need to. We all sweat and come home dirtier than when we arrived, 10 hours earlier. And we have a lot of fun too.

To do what I do, you have to either have a pre-existing adoration for cars or be willing to build one from scratch upon employment if needed. And it is needed. I didn't care two ways about cars before I started working there and now I find myself actually adding to long conversations about body styles, car stereos, and rims. These people are the people with whom you might find yourselves pulling beer after beer from a beat up cooler in the back of a boat. They are men you stand next to in front of a large table at a crawfish boil, sifting the shells from the meat. Their labor is the kind that deserves a moment leaning a railing, knocking back a drink of water in the shade. Their work is the work that can never be modernized, that is pure and consistent: blue collar work. And I feel privileged to work with the likes of these men.

In the office, you find the more presentable half of the business, people who do get dirty from time to time but for whom the biggest burden is dealing with the cars' owners. The body men and painters make the money for the shop; they suffer, we suffer. Our income is based directly on how much money the body men can draw from our shop, so there is a cohesiveness to our labor that I would consider unique from other occupations. We want to keep them happy and loaded up with work and they want to keep us happy so they keep getting work. As a result, we all actually work to get along rather well. In dealership functions, we stick together like freshman at our first upper class party. We go on fishing trips together as a department. We eat our lunches together in the office. We even, sometimes, hold surprise birthday parties for one another. In fact, I'm going to a concert this Saturday night with two girls and a painter.

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