Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Deadliest Job In The World?

I don’t care too much for reality TV, with one exception. I thoroughly enjoy watching ‘The Deadliest Catch’ on the Discovery Channel. The show follows a handful of crab fishing boats out of Alaska. These fisherman face peril at virtually every stage of their jobs and when you consider the stormy seas they sometimes have to navigate, even getting to their jobs can be dangerous. In just the first episode this season, one boat already sank, and these aren’t little weekend pleasure boats. They are huge boats that keep the crews on the ocean for a few weeks at a time.

Why do I care enough to write about crab fisherman today? Because every time I watch them in action, I can’t help but feel somewhat like I am less of a man because of my job. I can’t say that I really risk life or limb when I leave for work in the morning. Yes, there are a few times when female coworker is having a bad day that injury becomes a real possibility, but that danger is negated by the rest of us avoiding her and sneaking out to lunch whenever she has to use the restroom. Still though, it’s not the same as reporting for work in a major storm on the high seas with only the quickness of the US Coast Guard standing between me and my maker should something go terribly wrong. If female coworker snaps, I only have HR as recourse and they don’t have cool helicopters.

Let’s compare my job with that of a crab fisherman’s. I drive to work and the worst thing that could happen then is a minor fender bender because you can’t drive to or from work more than 5 miles an hour Monday-Friday in Southern California. And if I did have a fender bender, it would probably be my fault anyway because I’m such a late braker. It really puts things in perspective when I have to put on a tie for work instead of rain slickers or a life suit. When I get to work there are no slippery decks or choppy seas. Yes, I may accidentally clip a file cabinet while walking down the hall, but the worst thing that ever happened when I did that was my watch breaking. Do I grind up bait every few hours? Not in my office. I get to shred paper every now and then, but there’s no blood or fish scent. Unless I cut myself and someone decides to reheat salmon for their lunch, but the chances of that happening simultaneously aren’t as great as you might think. In my office, there is no chance of being washed overboard. Although we do occasionally have to wash the dry erase board. Comparative level of difficulty on that one: .001. While the brave crab fishermen risk being hit by a several hundred pound crab trap as it’s moved by crane onto the deck, I just have to make sure I don’t bump into anyone in the break room in a way that could be misconstrued as sexual harassment.

My job doesn’t get me grimy from setting up fish bait or emptying King Crabs out of traps. The only time I get dirty at work is when I might break my ink pen (usually my fault), have to change the printer toner (which I usually do incorrectly causing it to get all over me) or rest my arms anywhere that the nightly cleaning staff might neglect to clean, like my desk, for example. No, I don’t face injury with virtually every step or tick of the clock like crab men do. My greatest opportunities for injury would actually leave me too embarrassed to admit that it even happened. For me, there is the ever-present threat of having my pride wounded by a coworker when we begin to exchange barbs about our work performance. Yeah, that really showcases the testosterone. Yes, I could burn the tip of my finger or knuckle on our industrial sized copy machine when it jams and I’m sent to open up the machine and retrieve what’s left of the jammed paper, but there’s no adrenaline rush with that. Believe me, I’ve tried. Once after grabbing the jammed document, I jumped out and down, whooped and hollered and attempted to give everyone high fives, only to be asked to settle down and get back to work. Could I accidentally strangle myself picking up my office telephone? Only if I’m not paying attention, and happen to be spinning when I pick it up.

Surely there must be some similarities you say. OK, just humor me and say it once. Why yes, there are similarities. Thank you for asking. My cubicle is about the same size as the crewmen’s bunks. Actually, now that I’m really thinking about it, their beds might be larger. Dang it! OK, here’s a good similarity, we both get paid for what we do. Wait a minute; they get paid much better for just a few weeks of work than I do for a whole year.

I guess after thinking about the inadequacies I feel because of my job, there’s only one thing to do to make me feel like more of a man while earning my pay. I’m going to begin wearing rain slickers to work everyday. You know, crab legs sound pretty good for lunch tomorrow…

11 comments:

Patti said...

don't underestimate the perils you face on a daily basis at work.
Sounds pretty darn dangerous to me, especially the potential strangulation by telephone cord.

Odat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Odat said...

The grass is always greener on the other side....til you get there!!!

Anyway ya know what you could do..it go there for a working vacation....see if you like it...a friend of mine used to go to alaska every year to work on the fishing boats during his vacation.
I once did a two week stint on a windjammer off off the coast of Maine....caught our own lobster too!!! worked the deck and the sails....was a lot of work...now I appreciate my desk job!!!
Peace

Josie said...

Michael, you're hysterical!

Now I have a taste for crab legs with clarified butter and lemon.

You know, working in an office can be hazardous. One of our co-workers set the kitchen on fire last week with the toaster oven, and we had to evacuate 653 people from the building. One of the evacuees slipped in the emergency stairwell and broke her ankle. True story!

Josie

mist1 said...

I have a list of professions that a man can hold which will make me instantly not date him.

I am moving crab fisherman to the top of the list.

It just doesn't sound right.

"Mom, Dad, meet Joe. He's a crab man."

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

How about vending machines? Does your job have one? Well then...one could fall over and crush you to death. Now that is dangerous!

Terri said...

I love that show! TIVO got me all caught up on last season and now I can't wait to see this season (went to bed early last night so I didn't see what happened - shhhh). There's plenty of office accidents that could happen; staple to the forehead, hair caught in the fax machine, the phone cord strangulation; maybe those crab guys just aren't cut out for those types of accidents! Your a good man for the job, stay strong and be defensive, you'll be okay.

CS said...

Definitely! When in doubt about your manliness on the job, change your wardrobe! That's the best solution I've heard ever. In fact, I'm going to start carrying a tranquilizer gun to work so I'll feel more like a an animal control officer - I think their jobs are pretty dangerous, too.

SGT DUB said...

well, don't forget the boots and hat, you should try it one Friday.

Erica AP said...

Haha... I hate it when people reheat fish in the office!! Sometimes someone will heat something up that I swear smells like wet dog food... It's truly disgusting.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

get some llbean wellies while you're at it and fling a net over your shoulder and you should be good...