Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hottest Jobs in America - Would You Want Them?

It's the middle of August. He wipes the sweat pouring off his brow and reaches for the water bottle strapped to his work belt. "Man, it's freakin' hot out here."

She answers the call by pulling on her hazmat gear and rushing to the site of an overturned chemical truck. "I can't breath in here for one more second but if I take of my mask I might die."

The young man squats in a lettuce field in California. "Just one more row, just one more row," he chants to forget the pain in his knees and the broiling sun beating down on his back.

It's August and they work all day out in the heat, toiling to bring home a paycheck, fighting fires, cleaning up hazardous spills, responding to emergencies, and fueling the fires of our electrical plants. Would you want their jobs? I wouldn't either but they have to be done for our society to function.

According to Conde' Naste Portfolio. com there are a considerable number of people in our nation who risk serious illness or even death just by going to work during the hottest days of the summer. How's that for a reason to call in sick?

No one keeps track of which jobs are the hottest. But among the most at risk for heat-related illness are groups that have to wear protective clothing, such as emergency first responders, hazmat workers, and some employees at nuclear plants, says Tom McLellan, an expert on heat strain and a senior scientist with Defense Research and Development Canada, an arm of the Canadian Department of National Defense.

As an example glassblowers and foundry workers are exposed to temperatures as high as 3000 degrees F. Heat is part of the job and in the summer months exposure is worse because many plants and shops do not have electricity. A body can withstand around 3 hours of grueling work in 130 degree conditions, then it's anyone's guess how a worker manages to survive.

Among the list of worst jobs in the summer are jobs normally performed by teens. Workers in the kitchens of fast food restaurants are at risk for heat exhaustion and dehydration. Next time you go through the drive-thru to pick up your favorite hamburger give a smile and a nod to the person at the window. These kids work hard for not much money or respect.

When I drive around my town during the weekends, I see sign twirlers on most every busy corner. If you don't have these where you live, let me explain. Young people or people down on their luck are paid a decent wage to stand on a corner in the scorching heat with a LARGE wooden sign. The sign they are expected to twirl, swirl and otherwise entertain the commuting public with advertises the newest subdivision, or the latest sale at a department store.

Some of these twirlers are very talented and it makes sitting at a long red light less arduous but what a job! I couldn't do it and every time I see one I say a little prayer that they don't pass out and fall into oncoming traffic.

One company has taken to having their sign holders wear cow suits. Now that would be brutal in 100 plus degree weather and sweltering sunshine.

Remember these people with kindness as you go through your day and be thankful to work in an office or anywhere out of the heat. If you are one of those workers who brave the elements and risk your life so that I can have readily available electricity, phone and cable service, a hot hamburger, or emergency assistance in time of crisis - I say bless you and thanks for all you do.


Anonymous said...

AMEN to this one. My hopefully, soon to be husband, has to battle the elements everyday. We live in the be exact. The last 2 weeks it has been 104-105 everyday, factor in the humidity and it is 115-120. He is an electrician and works on new construction projects. He is currently working on a new hotel being built and he is forced to be exposed 10 hour days in this HEAT! I pray multiple times daily for him, that he will make it thru the summer. He is completely exhausted at the end of a day. I don't know how he stands it. I know I could not!!! Yes, I admire all those who have to be subjected to such torture. God please have mercy on them!


Lisa McGlaun said...


You know, I thought about your honey when I wrote this. I know he deals with it every day.

Love you,

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Great blog!!! We have sign holders here. They haven't started twirling yet but stand out on the street corner all the same.


Lisa McGlaun said...

Thanks. They are fun to watch, especially the ones dressed in costumes.
Come again,

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...


I want to congratulate you on all of your publishing successes. It's truly awesome!!!

I love essays and poetry and short stories and novels and ..... :D

I'm working on a mainstream and a fantasy ms now and hope to become pubbed book-wise one day. :D

I have many writer friends, some are pubbed already, some working their way there.

Hugs, JJ

Lisa McGlaun said...

It's an on going process. I'm working towards a published novel. Someday soon, I hope.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Hugs to you too,

thewishfulwriter said...

it's true, we do NOT give enough thought to folks who bust their butts in the heat. I used to work in the corporate offices for a theme park company and they'd require all corporate staff work one day in the park - putting people on rides, serving up ice cream, etc.

reminds you VERY quickly to be courteous and mindful of the people who have to do it every day.

great post!

Lisa McGlaun said...

You're right. My dad has owned an auto repair shop for the past 50 years. No air conditioning! Every summer he endures the heat. I think it's time to retire.


NeoAuteur said...

I agree. These are tough jobs.

Lisa McGlaun said...


Very much so. I hate to be out doing yard work in the heat. I have a friend who does landscaping for a living. I don't know how he does it in the summer.


Anna Lozyk Romeo said...

These are tough jobs, thanks for making good point. Sometimes I think I am very spoiled to work in the air conditioned place, and some people don't have a choice to work during hot weather. I worked in the hot place as a teenager, and I wouldn't be able to do that, that was my drive to get all the education I can get. In fact that was my parents place, and the company operating over 20 years still wouldn't install air conditioners to make the work place a better place. Unfortunately my parents still work there, and it isn't easy during hot humdid and polluted days. Anna :)

Lisa McGlaun said...


Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean. I often worry about my dad during the summer working his heart out in his auto shop.

It sounds like your parents are dedicated people.