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Question of the day

Friday, Jul 27, 2018

* Before I moved to a downtown Chicago high-rise several years ago, I just assumed window washers stood on platforms that operated on tracks moving them up and down the buildings.

So, imagine my surprise one day when I heard a “thump” on my apartment’s living room window and rushed to the room to see a window-washer literally dangling from a thick rope while he squeegeed my windows. The thump I heard was his shoes hitting the window as he was lowered to my floor. I stood there and watched in awe as he “jumped” from window to window, high above the street below. I’d never seen anything like it.

I remember thinking how crazy brave that guy had to be. I mean, it’s not like Chicago isn’t known for windy days near the lake or anything. I also figured he and his co-workers made a good living. Wrong again. From earlier this month

The window washers who dangle from Chicago’s glassy high-rises traded in their squeegees for picket signs Monday as they went on strike to demand higher wages and better benefits. […]

“It’s a dangerous job,” said Efren Salas, 27, who carried a bullhorn as he and other window washers marched near Trump Tower chanting for a new contract. “You put your life on the ropes every day.” […]

The union is asking for starting wages to increase from a range of $12 to $20.50 per hour now to a range of $16 to $25.

It also is seeking increased life insurance coverage, to $100,000 from $50,000, and a better deal on health insurance.

* I have the utmost respect for people who can do things that I could not or would not ever do. And being a Chicago window washer is most definitely right up there on both of those lists. So, congratulations on the new contract

After nearly a month on strike, the window washers who dangle from Chicago’s downtown high-rises have ratified a new contract that includes the 27 percent wage hike they had been seeking.

The agreement raises the base hourly wage to $26 over the life of the five-year contract, and doubles their life insurance to $100,000 from $50,000, Service Employees International Union Local 1 said Friday.

* The Question: What are some jobs you would never do, regardless of the money? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments
  1. - Just Observing - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    Thai-cave rescue diver!!!!


  2. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    Politican / Elected Official …


  3. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    Donald Trump’s spokesman.


  4. - jwI - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    hang upside down on a helicopter working on high power electric lines


  5. - G'Kar - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    I have the utmost respect for those who do, but I could never work in a slaughter house or a animal shelter with a kill policy.


  6. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:15 pm:

    Chicago cop


  7. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:15 pm:

    I’ve always looked up at window washers hanging 200 feet above the streets and thought: whatever they’re getting paid is not enough. That’s a tough job.

    I have a lot of respect for people who work at DCFS. I could never endure encountering children who’ve been hurt by adults without reacting violently. I’m way too weak for that work and children need someone strong to protect them.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:15 pm:

    High rise steelworkers.

    Forget the job they’re doing, the skill, the craft to it, they walk on beams as if it’s a two foot drop off a stoop. I’d be terrified, what if I got light headed, leaned left or right…

    No way. No amount of money.


  9. - Ole General - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    Truck driver


  10. - Ryan - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:18 pm:

    A teacher. They get zero respect, hardly any support, and are blamed for everything.


  11. - 37B - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:18 pm:

    Window washer.
    Oh yes, and high rise ironworker. . . A pattern is developing. . .
    “High anxiety: you win.”


  12. - Glengarry - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    I love my grandfather but I’d never want to be a butcher like he was back in the day.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    - 37B -

    Fair enough.

    First responders, sure… but for me in that group, EMT/Paramedic

    You have no idea what you’re walking into

    It’s a medical emergency that needs attention within that setting

    Thinking on your feet, quickly, and doing the triage, immediate care, and then… transporting safely a patient so permanent damage is kept at minimums…

    No way. I’d take that home with me, it would easily haunt me, and you need a clear mind for the next call to make good medical decisions on the scene… no way.


  14. - Casual observer - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:25 pm:

    I have a friend who is a pediatric oncologist. Thank God for people who can do that.


  15. - Nick Name - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:25 pm:

    Anything high up.


  16. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:25 pm:

    == High rise steelworkers. ==

    -OW-, I come from a local ng line of ironworkers. Walked red iron as a teenager, but took my dad’s advice and got an inside job.


  17. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    Specialty cleaners, aka crime-scene janitors, has to be up there. After the body (or bodies) gets moved to the morgue, somebody gets called in to clean up what’s left behind. No way, not me.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    ===I come from a long line of ironworkers. Walked red iron as a teenager, but took my dad’s advice and got an inside job.===

    Whew. Much respect. How you did those walks, wow.

    The way they go about their business, on the flip side, no fear is apparent. It’s mesmerizing watching. Big props to your family.


  19. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    ===High rise steelworkers.===

    You know that famous photo of the guys having lunch on the beam above the city skyline? I get queasy looking at that.


  20. - Huh? - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    Anything in the medical profession. Worked in hospital as night admitting clerk. The nurses I dealt with were some of the toughest people I ever met.


  21. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    Up in the sky doing anything suspended to a rope. I’m not coordinated enough to pull that off.

    Oh, and proctologist. Dealt with enough of those on the front end.


  22. - Real - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    I could never do paramedic, doctor, or window washer.

    I am afraid of heights and I don’t like blood or seeing open wounds.


  23. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:32 pm:

    47, that guy who works on the TV antennas atop Sears is the one that gets to me.


  24. - Jocko - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:34 pm:

    I knew someone who removed asbestos from a decommissioned plant (100 degrees before putting on the Tyvek suit).

    Not to mention working in a rendering or sewage treatment plant.


  25. - MSIX - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:34 pm:

    Governor of Illinois

    (Like becoming Captain of the Titanic post-iceberg.)


  26. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:35 pm:

    Obviously barring desperation, I will never again work for a large or even medium-sized company. I will be an independent small businessman until I die. It’s the only way for me.


  27. - Cheswick - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:36 pm:

    I hand-picked cotton the summer after 5th grade. 50 years later, my hands still have scars and my back is in rough shape.


  28. - Wensicia - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:40 pm:

    I wouldn’t want to work any outside job more than 12 feet above ground level or 12 feet below.


  29. - Casual observer - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:40 pm:

    Publisher of Capitol Fax.


  30. - Honeybear - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:42 pm:

    HSCM- Human Services Casework Manager
    Oh my God, the most hellacious job
    Customer mad at you
    LOA’s mad at you ( local office administrators)
    Intractable problems with IES
    Always behind on work
    Not enough hours
    No amount of money could make take that job
    I’m very acrophobic
    I would rather be a high rise iron worker 100 stories up


  31. - zatoichi - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:42 pm:

    Anything on a tower that moves even slightly. Climbed a tall fire tower in northwest Arkansas with my son. He laughed to the top. I had to stop half way up and just grabbed the rail. It came out of no where. Like 47, that steel worker lunch on the iron just hits.


  32. - Stumpy's bunker - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    Anything on a ladder, or construction beam, over 8 ft. up.

    Child Protective Investigators and first responders cannot sit on furniture for fear of becoming infested; it’s bad enough to walk to walk across carpets in some of those houses and hear pet urine squish. I’m sorry to disturb your sensibilities, but these are the facts.


  33. - Norseman - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    Substitute teach. Did it 2 days during my time fighting Blago for my job back. NEVER EVER AGAIN!


  34. - Centerfield - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    Those people at Costco and Sam’s clubs that are always trying to get your attention to sell you satelite tv.


  35. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    Emergency Room nurse


  36. - Norseman - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    2nd - I’ll go with the height thing AA and others have mentioned.


  37. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Comment moderator at any local newspaper website. Yeesh.


  38. - Smalls - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    The guys that work on the antennas on top of the Sears Tower.


  39. - don the legend - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:03 pm:

    Caregiver. God bless them.

    I pray in the years ahead I don’t have to be one or need one.


  40. - Annie - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:16 pm:

    You live in a downtown Chicago high rise?


  41. - a drop in - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    Once went door to door shilling for a candidate for alderman. Never again. I don’t believe in any politician that much. Felt like a B.S. artist.


  42. - Gooner - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Two come to mind:

    1) High rise construction crane operator. Being way up high, having to climb a ladder up there, and then being trapped in a tiny box would really bother me.

    2) Something that I’ve done, and will never do again, since it was so terrible: counsel for health insurers denying claims. Writing letters explaining why the health insurance policy did not cover something was just miserable. Now, I couldn’t face my kids if I did that for a living.


  43. - Just Me - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:25 pm:

    Work for Bruce Rauner or Mike Madigan. Both epitomize all that is wrong with public service.


  44. - don the legend - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:26 pm:

    Nothing like most of these, but once I learned about cash value life insurance, I know I could never sleep at night selling that product.


  45. - Stoney - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    The list is long but anything involving working higher than a six foot ladder is out. I had to quit watching a video of a guy changing light bulbs atop an antenna tower.
    Also, direct contact health care workers, what they pay some of them is a sin.


  46. - Generic Drone - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:30 pm:

    Was a underground coal miner for years, but would never go fishing for crab on the Bering sea.


  47. - Chunga - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    Lab rat midwife


  48. - Small Town - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    Electric Lineman, going out into those dangerous storms climbing up poles


  49. - Powerhouse Prowler - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    Sad there are so many underpaid and un respected jobs. A lot of good points posted above.


  50. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    Cop.


  51. - Hate to drive - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:54 pm:

    Most of mine were already mentioned, but one that wasn’t is driving a school bus.


  52. - Dead Head - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    Wildfire Fighter


  53. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 4:04 pm:

    ===Comment moderator at any local newspaper website===

    I don’t believe that job exists.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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