Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers

This post assumes you have read the Workers Substance Use and Workplace Policies and Programs report that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released yesterday. It basically says that the person to your left is currently using drugs and the person on your right is drinking out of a fire hose and will not graduate with you.

Clocking in at a refreshingly scant 69 printed pages, any information contained in the report’s findings are easily eclipsed by the details in its marvelous appendices. You know what? Maybe the greatest part of living in DC is the amount of appendices we are exposed to. That and symposia. This city is fat ripe with symposia.

The drug report has 6 appendices featuring a overindulgent array of tables and graphs. But it’s Appendix D: Occupational and Industry Classifications that I find most fascinating. Essentially, it’s the governments system of categorizing every job in America.

  • Did you know that when the government lays down some statistic about how often or to which degree a person in managerial position does something that this not only includes your CEO boss but also farmers, casino operators, ranchers and funeral directors?
  • Did you know there is an official job called roustabout? While the government considers only those assembling or repairing oil field equipment using hand and power tools to fall in this category, I’d like to believe that the more Elvis-like definition also applies. Carnies are hard workers too.

The hard copy version in the report led me to this: The Department of Labor’s May 2006 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. It not only gives the definitions of all the occupations in America but list the total number of people in that job and their average salary. And quite frankly, it is awesome.

For instance, only 1,470 people in our amazing country consider modeling to be their primary occupation. And they make, on average, $27,980 a year. By contrast, there 15,580 shampooers. They should not be confused with the more advanced hairstylists, of which there are 344,900.

Other tidbits:

  • There are there 16,340 people who consider themselves choreographers yet there only 16,010 dancers. That’s a ratio that any educator would envy and can’t even be matched by the students at Patrick Henry.
  • There are 900 private cooks.
  • There 485,120 bartenders or roughly one for every 452 adults of drinking age.
  • There are an astounding 6,770 broadcast news analysts. And that’s not people working in broadcast news as reporters or producers or whatever. That is the number of people that “analyze, interpret, and broadcast news received from various sources.” Yeah, pundits. There are 6,770 pundits.

Blogging is a tough one. There isn’t a professional blogger category so it’s either the Labor Department considers it an illegitimate career or it falls deep under some justifiably valid category. It probably fits under Writers and Authors but for now we’ll put you in with whatever group also has people who make chain mail out of paper clips in their step-dad’s basement for sale at medieval festivals.

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