One of the most illuminating books I've read is Working, by oral historian Studs Terkel. The book investigates the meaning of work for many different people from all corners of society. Terkel spoke to everyone from actors to businessmen to firemen. I came away from that book with a greater understanding of what people feel they contribute through their jobs.
After Redditor Pjvie asked the online community, "People with weird/obscure jobs, what is your job and how did you get the job?" I learned a lot more about jobs on the less-talked about end of the spectrum. You're bound to learn more yourselves!
"In one company..."
I work in QC (Quality Control) for media.
In one company they occasionally paid me to watch porn to make sure it was in sync and in good quality for video on demand distribution.
In another company I spent years watching movies before release in secure theater-like rooms, to make sure the files are ready for distribution (subtitles and audio in sync, no picture corruptions, stuff like that). I always got to watch the biggest movies of the year in a giant screen weeks before they were released (sometimes months!).
I got the job by going to film school.
"I work in a clinical lab..."
I work in a clinical lab where I get to play with baby sweat for a bit of my day. We are testing for chloride level. Increased chloride in sweat is one of the diagnostic markers for cystic fibrosis.
I am a clinical laboratory scientist. Not all clinical labs perform this test but I am lucky enough to work at a lab where we do a couple interesting low volume tests.
"I updated those graphics..."
You know when you're watching a sports program and you see the little pop-graphic in the corner (ie. a baseball players stats, or an advertisement for easy-mac, or "stay tuned for Saved By the Bell @ 9!")? Yeah. That was me.
I updated those graphics and uploaded them to Fox Sports. Since Fox Sports is a 24-hour channel, there's always one guy in the office 24-hours a day.
"I used to work..."
I used to work on a lavender farm! It's totally unrelated to my field of study and incredibly difficult in terms of manual labor, but man was it a beautiful place. I tended to the plants, took care of goats, and did processing for the herbs and honey. My grandparents are farmers and so I grew up with mediocre knowledge of field work and beekeeping and when a friend's mom decided to start a business centered around lavender she asked me to help out for the summer.
"Very interesting work..."
Concrete petrographer. I just started this month. I studied geology in college and now my job is to look at concrete using petrographic methods I learned at school and conduct ASTM tests to determine quality of concrete. Very interesting work because concrete is engineered rock and there's A LOT more to it than you think.
"I type everything..."
Official court stenographer. I type everything everyone says in court. I was told about it in high school and thought it sounded cool so I went for it. Took 5 1/2 years in college, but I'm nationally certified to type 260 WPM and regularly push above 300 WPM in court.
I spend about 80% of my day designing those large overhead signs you see on the highway.
"In the summer..."
In the summer I guard and clean the toilet units (not the toilets) for festivals. I got the job trying to find a cheap way to go to the big festivals and this organisation was looking for volunteers.
So all I have to do is stand in front of the units, make sure the ground stays clean, everyone had toilet paper and clear a block of units so the cleaning team can do their job.
Another part of the job is making sure no one dies or passes out in such an unit. You can't imagen how many drunk (often naked) people we need to get out of these units and escort them to the First Aid.
"A lot of people know..."
I mix fire retardant for fighting wildfires. A lot of people know that airplanes drop retardant on fires but don't think about the millions of dollars of infrastructure that is behind that operation. Everyone who works at my base started by working at the local ski resort. It's a good way to earn enough money in the summer to coast all winter so we keep the jobs among fellow ski bums.
I have a job tracking rodents in restaurants. I set up cameras, movement sensors, IR sensors and other gear, and get an idea of the problem and how to fix it.
Here's a video of a couple of teenage girls checking out one of my cameras.
Sometimes I'm in a hot roof area of a restaurant trying to get the super rats to back off and let me work. I use a Bluetooth speaker and prodigy on full volume. Who knew rats don't like prodigy?
Despite that, I love my job and the pay is pretty good.
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.