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.