Personal Stories of America at Work

Category Archives: Construction

How an Unemployed Worker Built New Foundation after Lay Off

Chauffeur Tony Garcia rebuilds his life after devastation in the construction industry

"I used to see those Employee-of-the-Month photos on the wall, and thought they were silly. But now, I respect them a lot more."

Tony Garcia

Limousine Driver

Like a scene from Up in the Air

I’m a limo driver now, but I spent over two decades in the construction industry. I worked my way up from apprentice to foreman to assistant supervisor, and finally, to a desk job managing people and estimating jobs. I was paid to catch mistakes, which are very costly in construction. In one year alone, I found over half a million dollars worth of errors. The company rewarded me for my work, and I was living the high life, like taking the kids to Disneyland and staying at nice hotels. I thought I had a secure job.

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molly | February 08, 2011 | Construction, Job Search, Unemployment | 4

What It’s Like to Work on the Top of the Golden Gate Bridge

Cuban immigrant Reynaldo Charles watches all walks of life while looking after a national icon

"It had been tough growing up in Cuba--I thank my dad every day that he wanted something better for his family.”

Reynaldo Charles

Painter

Seeing the whole spectrum of life

You can’t write a story of San Francisco without saying something about the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve been a painter on the bridge for eight to nine years. I didn’t plan it—it was luck that I ended up there. Some people say they work on the bridge, but they work in the office or something. I really work on the bridge. When people find out where I work, they say, “You work on the bridge?! You climb way up there?” You can see the excitement on their faces.

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molly | February 01, 2011 | Construction, Job Search | 4

The Working Chronicles

  • The Working Chronicles captures an intimate look at work in 21st century America through candid interviews with people from all walks of life and all corners of the country.

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