57 Pop, Rock, and Country Songs About Working, Jobs, and Employment

Updated on August 1, 2018
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Whether you're blue collar, white collar, or self-employed, celebrate the contribution you make to the labor force with a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about work, jobs, and employment.  Workers like you help make this country strong.
Whether you're blue collar, white collar, or self-employed, celebrate the contribution you make to the labor force with a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about work, jobs, and employment. Workers like you help make this country strong. | Source

Working Hard: Trading Time and Effort for Money

I learned a lot of lessons from my father's career, although they aren't the ones he intended to teach. My hero, he instilled a dogged work ethic, the drive to lead, and a desire to achieve.

Being the loyal corporate soldier that he was, my dad relocated our family many times when his employer deemed it necessary. He worked second shift work for 12 years to get ahead.

Although he was well compensated for his sacrifices, I wonder whether the trade offs were worth it. Each employee needs to draw his or own line in what s/he is willing to trade for financial security and a better life.

As you find the answer that is right for you, celebrate your hard work with a playlist about employment and the work that people do. We have a long list of pop, rock, and country songs to start you out right.

1. "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

This classic 1974 rock song is an anthem for the self-employed. The narrator addresses others who commute to an office. They remain slaves to the alarm clock, traffic, and the boss. Meanwhile, he and his musician friends are doing what they love. Are you?

2. "Shift Work" by Kenny Chesney and George Strait

In this country song, Kenny Chesney describes what it's like working 'round-the-clock shifts: 11-7, 7-3, 3-11. He celebrates blue collar work as frustrating and physically exhausting in which the only thing to be enjoyed is the money.

To some extent, science agrees with him. Employees whose hours overlap with the hours when most people are asleep are prone to Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD). They may experience the following symptoms:

  • falling asleep at work
  • impaired performance and mental acuity
  • irritability
  • poor quality sleep and
  • accident proneness.

Reader Poll

Which of the following best describes your work situation?

See results

3. "A Hard Day's Night" by The Beatles

This rock song was an international chart-topper back in 1964. It describes how the protagonist works hard at his job for his honey. But when his workday ends, rather than sleeping, he finds more exciting things to do than get some much need shut eye:

It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright.

What's the Worst Job You Ever Had? Share with Us in the Comments Section Below

4. "Take this Job and Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck

Never mind that this country song is four decades old. It's every bit as relevant and catchy today as it was in 1977. An anthem for the angry blue collar worker tired of workin' for The Man, this song features a guy who daydreams of handing in his resignation.

With 15 years of service at the factory, this guy is fed up with his hard driving line management. His partner has left him and taken all the reasons he has for putting up with the hassles of his job. Wondering, "Now what?" he figures that he just might blow his top.

5. "Working Class Hero" by Green Day

This 2007 ballad honors the individual's struggle to find and define himself in education and work against the backdrop of a system that doesn't nurture freedom of thought. It was written and originally recorded by John Lennon.

6. "Family Man" by Craig Campbell

The guy in this 2010 country song is glad to have the temporary job at the local factory because it enables him to reach his dream of being a family man. Thanks to that job, he can pay for his used truck and his mortgage note and support his child and wife. That job may not be much, but it's the world to him because it supports the bedtime prayers and the "I love yous" that wait for him at home. And isn't that what it's all about?

Nurses (BSNs) typically have four-year bachelors degrees.  Nurse Practitioners spend an additional two to four years earning a masters degree.  Job growth for nurses over the next 10 years is projected to be much higher than average.
Nurses (BSNs) typically have four-year bachelors degrees. Nurse Practitioners spend an additional two to four years earning a masters degree. Job growth for nurses over the next 10 years is projected to be much higher than average. | Source

Lesser Known Idioms Dealing With Work

Idiom
Meaning
golden handshake
a large payout when leaving a company (often to encourage early retirement)
golden handcuffs
a large payout to either keep an executive from leaving or to ensure continued cooperation from a departing employee
golden parachute
a clause in an executive's employment contract that states that they will receive certain large benefits if their employment is terminated
blood on the carpet
discord in an organization that often results in someone losing their job
separate the sheep from the goats
subdivide a group into acceptable and unacceptable subgroups (e.g., rejected and accepted job applicants)
Xerox subsidy
when employees use the office photocopier for personal use
busman's holidays
spending your spare time or holidays doing what you usually get paid for
keep your head down and your tail up
stay out of trouble and be optimistic
backroom boys (or backroom employees)
people who do important work but are not customer facing employees
another string to your bow
another skill to add to your skill set
knuckle under
stop wasting time and start working
pull your socks up
make a better effort
to sweat blood
to work very hard
How many of these idioms do you know?

7. "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton's classic 1980 country song is an office employee's anthem. It describes the daily grind and the eternal struggle for recognition, an occasional promotion, and one's piece of the American pie:

Workin' 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by, it's all takin' and no givin'
They just use your mind and you never get the credit
It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it ... .

8. "Work from Home" by Fifth Harmony (featuring Ty Dolla $ign)

In this 2016 pop hit, the only real work these two are doing involves sexuality and seducing each other. There's so much talk of time sheets, the boss, getting off early, and getting fired, you might think someone actually has a real job.

What they have are lusty imaginations. Hey, you two! Get a room, get the job done, then go do some actual work.

9. "Hard Workin' Man" by Brooks & Dunn

The hard workin' man in this 1993 country song earns a living by the sweat of his brow. But no matter how much overtime he puts in, he feels like he just cannot get ahead.

When Friday rolls around, he celebrates the end of a hard work week by partying just as hard and blowing his paycheck on some weekend beauties. Maybe that's a clue to his money woes. Just an idea.

10. "Forty Hour Week (For A Livin')" by Alabama

The red-blooded American country song from 1985 gives a high five to the blue collar jobs that keep our nation strong: auto workers, steel workers, fire fighters, and more. They work 40 hours a week for a living, often behind the scenes, and you can't replace their spirit with a machine. However, leave it to corporations to try.

Construction workers often work at great heights and in all kinds of weather.  They have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations
Construction workers often work at great heights and in all kinds of weather. They have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations | Source

27 Jobs That Have Been Replaced by Technology or May Be Soon

Job at Risk
Job at Risk
Job at Risk
Food Delivery Driver
Cook
Retail Sales Associate
Journalist
Factory Worker
Security Guard
Soldier
Surgeon
Pharmacist
Cashier
Mail Carrier
Bus Driver
Receptionist
Telemarketer
Accountant
Toll Collector
Tour Guide
Bartender
Librarian
Bank Teller
Travel Agent
Postal clerk
Parking Enforcement Worker
Telephone Operator
Loan Officer
Paralegal
Financial Advisor
Is your job at risk? Do you have a Plan B?

11. "Bang on the Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren

What would you rather do instead of working? I can think of plenty of things.

The guy in this 1982 rock song/anti-work anthem would rather bang on his drum. Given his passion for drum playing, he's probably better suited to that than a full-time job anyhow:

I don't want to work
I want to bang on the drum all day
I don't want to play
I just want to bang on the drum all day.

12. "Blowin' Smoke" by Kacey Musgraves

The waitresses in this country song from 2013 dream aloud about how one day they'll quit their jobs in the diner like their coworker just did when she ran off to Vegas between the lunch and dinner rush. For now, however, they'll have to settle for being single mothers and low wage workers who trade gossip and what-ifs over cigarettes.

Wait staff work schedules that include early shifts, late nights, weekends, and holidays. They face pressure to be efficient and get you your food quickly because you're HUNGRY.  Hungry customers are rude customers and poor tippers.
Wait staff work schedules that include early shifts, late nights, weekends, and holidays. They face pressure to be efficient and get you your food quickly because you're HUNGRY. Hungry customers are rude customers and poor tippers. | Source

13. "Workin' Man (Nowhere to Go)" by Nitty Gritty Dirty Dirt Band

There are few things sadder than a workin' man who has nowhere to go because there's no job to be had. This 1988 country song bemoans the impact of widespread unemployment: foreclosures, a downturn in the stockmarket, broken families, and bored people with nothing but time on their hands.

14. "God Bless Saturday" by Kid Rock

Working 12-hour shifts five days a week has to be monotonous and mind numbing because the guy in this 2010 country song can't do his math correctly. (He says he works 52 hours, but 12x5=60.) On Saturday nights, however, he's happy to cut loose and let the drinks flow freely. Unfortunately, the drinks don't help his math skills. However, they do numb his mind.

15. "Workin' for a Living" by Huey Lewis & The News

Like half of Americans today, the employee in this 1982 rock song is living paycheck to paycheck. He's working for a living and feels like he will be until the day he dies.

16. "Back on the Chain Gang" by The Pretenders

This 1982 rock song was a tribute to The Pretenders' guitarist who had recently died of a drug overdose. A chain gang is a group of prisoners chained together as they perform heavy manual labor. The song refers to one of the group having left the chain gang while the others remain so that they can continue their work.

17. "Work Hard, Play Harder" by Gretchen Wilson

Forget the manicures and spray-on tans because the woman in this 2010 country song is working too hard to have time for it. During the week, she is a bartender and waitress who pulls double shifts to make ends meet.

But come Friday nights the redneck, blue collar girl with calloused hands is ready to get honkytonk loud. She boasts, "I'm the first to clock in but the last to pass out."

18. "Working This Job (This F*ing Job)" by Drive-By Truckers

"Do you want fries with that?" is what the guy in this 2010 rock is stuck asking after his first choice of careers following in his father's footsteps leads to unemployment. Now he's stuck trying to support his family on minimum wage. He's just trying to hang on.

19. "Hard Hat and a Hammer" by Alan Jackson

This country hit from 2010 is an ode to the Average Joe who puts in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay:

But there's nothing wrong with a hard hat and a hammer
Kind of glue that sticks this world together
Hands of steel and cradle of the Promised Land
God bless the working man.

20. "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" by Styx

Faced with unemployment, the narrator in this 1978 rock tune simply wants a chance to prove himself. Don't we all?

He wants a better life, and he's not afraid of working long nights and impossible jobs to achieve the security and respect that comes with a good job. May we all find a job that suits us and brings us the rewards and satisfaction we deserve.

Fighting fires can be very dangerous.  When on call, firefighters eat, sleep, and spend their time at the fire station 24/7.  Many work in excess of 40 hours weekly.
Fighting fires can be very dangerous. When on call, firefighters eat, sleep, and spend their time at the fire station 24/7. Many work in excess of 40 hours weekly. | Source

Even More Songs About Working, Jobs, and Employment

Song
Artist
Year Released
21. She Works Hard for the Money
Donna Summer
1983
22. Little Man
Alan Jackson
1999
23. Allentown
Billy Joel
1982
24. Working Man's PhD
Aaron Tippin
1993
25. Every Little Kiss
Bruce Hornsby
1986
26. Chain Gang
Sam Cooke
1961
27. Hands of a Working Man
Ty Herndon
1999
28. Five O'Clock World
The Vogues
1966
29. Working Man Blues
Merle Haggard
1985
30. Working for the Weekend
Loverboy
1981
31. Bright Future in Sales
Fountains of Wayne
2003
32. Put in Work
Ne-Yo
2008
33. Work B*tch
Britney Spears
2013
34. Manic Monday
The Bangles
1986
35. Work and Worry
Darryl Worley
2004
36. Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man
Travis Tritt
1992
37. Goin' to Work
Martina McBride
1993
38. Morning Train (9 to 5)
Sheena Easton
1981
39. Working on the Highway
Bruce Springsteen
1984
40. Hey, Mister, I Need This Job
Shenandoah
1992
41. If You Don't Give a Doggone About It
James Brown
1977
42. Eighteen Wheels and Dozen Roses
Kathy Mattea
1988
43. Amarillo By Morning
George Strait
1982
44. Working Man
Imagine Dragons
2012
45. I'm Tryin'
Trace Adkins
2001
46. Running Behind
Tracy Lawrence
1991
47. Money, Money, Money
ABBA
1976
48. Shuttin' Detroit Down
John Rich
2009
49. Heavy Liftin'
Blake Shelton
2003
50. Drinking Class
Lee Brice
2014
51. Beer on the Table
Josh Thompson
2010
52. Cost of Livin'
Ronnie Dunn
2011
53. That's My Job
Conway Twitty
1987
54. Get a Job
The Silhouettes
1957
55. National Working Woman's Holiday
Sammy Kershaw
1994
56. I Don't Want to Work Today
Clark Ford
2018
57. For the First Time
The Script
2010
Know a song about working, jobs, or employment that should be on our playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comment Section below.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 FlourishAnyway

    Comments

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      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        4 months ago from USA

        Envoy - Sure, make the suggestion.

      • profile image

        Envoy to the King 

        4 months ago

        I have a few good additions to this list if you like

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        13 months ago from USA

        Devika - I'm glad you enjoyed this. Have a good week.

      • profile image

        DDE 

        13 months ago

        Lots to think of here in this song list.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Kyraki - Can you imagine surgery by a machine and something going wrong? How would they compensate? Thanks for stopping by.

      • Kyriaki Chatzi profile image

        Kyriaki Chatzi 

        15 months ago

        A lovely list for a not-so-lovely topic. Hahahaha!

        Also, I really enjoyed taking a look at the technology-takes-over job list.

        Who knew that they were so many?

        Hopefully, machines won't replace surgeons in the future. I cringe even at the thought of this.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Jo - The work I do now is a lot more fun, too! Thanks for stopping by!

      • jo miller profile image

        Jo Miller 

        15 months ago from Tennessee

        I've been retired for a number of years now, but I always thought of the job I had before as the way I supported my children, little more. I work harder now than I did then, but the work is much more fun.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Tamara - I love your happy positive energy! Thanks for sharing on Facebook and for your kind comment. Paul McCartney had such a sad puppy dog face long before all the sad things that happened to him. Hugs back to you!

      • profile image

        Tamara Moore 

        15 months ago

        Oh my word! That picture of Paul McCartney is adorable! I just want to squeeze him (again). I mentioned in my Facebook page about how much I wanted to squeeze him, but now I wanna squeeze some more! He has such a doll-like face (in a guy's way, of course). He's got that baby-face. I love him! I love him!

        Hey, Flourish...BTW, fantastic post, and excellent choice of songs, all of which bring back nostalgic memories to me. But, of course, today I am in the process of making brand new memories for tomorrow! I will put this on my To Do List right after I write my comment to you.

        Your posts make me want to dance! I love the energy you put out there! I burn about 2,000 calories every time I read each article of yours, with all these really cool songs.

        Hugsssssss,

        Tamara

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Debangee - Thank you for your kind comment. So glad you enjoyed it! Have a great weekend!

      • Debangee Mandal profile image

        DEBANGEE MANDAL 

        15 months ago from India

        A very informative, wonderfully written hub. I truly loved it. Have a good day!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Rasma - You must be living your dream, then! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope that all your days are filled with pleasant poetry rather than work.

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 

        15 months ago from Riga, Latvia

        Another well written and informative hub. When it comes to working songs some are really good with a great beat but I would rather not be reminded of work.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Thank you, Larry! Cheers to you!

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        15 months ago from Oklahoma

        Just a wonderful list. A lot of my favorites here:-)

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Heidi - You've given me an idea for a playlist on Songs About Being Lazy! It's so hot I don't know when I'll get around to it, but ... just kidding, sometime soon! Thanks for the great idea. Some of the best ones come from readers like you. I don't know how people manage to stay cool in the concrete jungles of the big city. I hope you are well.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        15 months ago from Chicago Area

        When I saw the title, Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" and Huey Lewis' "Working for Living" came into my head right away. Terrific list as usual!

        One new one that needs to be on the list is Jennifer Lopez' "Ain't Your Mama."

        Don't work too hard today, okay? ;)

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Yay, Linda! Glad you knew some songs and liked those idioms. Thank you for stopping in. Hope all is well with you.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I actually knew some of the music in this playlist, which is unusual for me! Thanks for sharing another interesting list of songs, Flourish. I loved the idioms.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Mamerto - Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading.

      • Mamerto profile image

        JR Mamerto 

        15 months ago from Cabuyao

        As a working man myself, I could relate to this :)

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        MsDora - I love learning new idioms. They're one of those things that if you don't know what they mean, you feel completely clueless. And I'd never want to be that. Thanks for reading!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        15 months ago from The Caribbean

        Another great selection. I found the work idioms interesting and good to know. Always willing to add another string to my bow.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Bill - I love Jonny Paycheck, too (#4), and gosh is that folk song Working in the Coal Mines a real oldie. You're blowing off lots of layers of dust with that one, my friend! It's not like me to remember a Beatles song when others don't though (Hard Day's Night). Here's hoping work is your cup of tea these days.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        15 months ago from Olympia, WA

        I went way back on this...."Working in the Coal Mines" was the first I thought of...how about "Take this Job and Shove It?" that was the second I thought of...how I managed to forget the Beatles is beyond me. LOL

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        Bill - Thank you for your kind comment and for stopping by. I'm glad you have a job that allows you the freedom and flexibility to do what you enjoy! May each person find that if they don't currently have it.

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        15 months ago from Massachusetts

        Hi Flourish. Another great list you have here. I wouldn't say that I'm living my dream with my job but it does afford me the opportunity to travel. Amazing how many songs there are with the working theme. Great job, have a great week.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

        FlourishAnyway 

        15 months ago from USA

        GalaxyRat - You're super fast. Thanks for being the first to comment.

      • profile image

        GalaxyRat 

        15 months ago

        I love the songs! Excellent job.

      working

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