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

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.

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

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.

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.

Lesser Known Idioms Dealing With Work

IdiomMeaning

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

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

27 Jobs That Have Been Replaced by Technology or May Be Soon

Job at RiskJob at RiskJob 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

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.

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.

Even More Songs About Working, Jobs, and Employment

SongArtistYear 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

58. I Need a Dollar

Aloe Blacc

2010

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 17, 2020:

Peggy - It's interesting how some jobs have simply evaporated, been broken down, pushed to the customer, etc. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a good weekend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2020:

Now, this set of songs related to jobs does not surprise me at all. Most people work for a living in one manner or another. I am always glad to see that the Beatles made the list.

As to jobs that may be replaced by technology, I doubt that some of the ones on your list will ever be replaced. We will still need surgeons, even the ones using robotic devices as instruments. We will always need cooks and pharmacists. And I believe it is important that we have journalists. I wish we did not need soldiers because of world-wide and lasting peace. Wouldn't that be great!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 15, 2018:

Envoy - Sure, make the suggestion.

Envoy to the King on June 15, 2018:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 10, 2017:

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

DDE on September 09, 2017:

Lots to think of here in this song list.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2017:

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

Kyriaki Chatzi on July 22, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 17, 2017:

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

Jo Miller from Tennessee on July 17, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 14, 2017:

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!

Tamara Moore on July 14, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 14, 2017:

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

DEBANGEE MANDAL from India on July 14, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 13, 2017:

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 from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 13, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 12, 2017:

Thank you, Larry! Cheers to you!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 12, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 12, 2017:

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.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 12, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 11, 2017:

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

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 11, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 11, 2017:

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

Mamerto Adan from Cabuyao on July 11, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 11, 2017:

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!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 11, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 11, 2017:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 11, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 11, 2017:

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.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 11, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on July 10, 2017:

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

GalaxyRat on July 10, 2017:

I love the songs! Excellent job.

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