Pera:Have I Got a Job for You! | Musings of a Mountain Man
by Jack Pera
Jul 08, 2007 | 268 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Who has the best job in America? Notice I didn’t ask what the best job in America is, or who in America makes the most money per year. Making a lot of money and having a good job are two entirely different interpretations of reality. Nor did I ask who has the worst job in America, because the answer to that question is automatic. It belongs to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. Can you imagine being the daily apologist for the Bushites and having to defend all the lies, crimes, executive privilege abuses and incompetence of this sordid administration?

Rating America’s best job, I’m going to exempt corporate CEOs who heist obscene salaries for golfing with business associates and peddling influence money to congressmen and the other notables who provide the “grease” for the wheels upon which America runs.

If you wouldn’t trade your job for any other, money or no, and can’t wait to get to work in the morning, then congratulations, you have the best job in America. You’re not alone in this respect. How do I know this? Because every once in awhile you hear someone remark, “I’ve got the best job in America, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

To lead a fulfilling life, everyone should have a passion of some sort. If your job is your passion to the point that it consumes you, again congrats to you and your lucky employer, and my sympathies to your significant other. If you have a spouse willing to tolerate your work fetish, and who is willing to trade a normal relationship for materialistic gain or other “considerations,” who am I to criticize?

My nominee for the person who possesses the best job in America is Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune fame. Granted, her job is about as mentally unchallenging and non-stimulating as they come, but when you can rake in the fabulous dough she does for well…what she does, who am I to complain? Actually, I’m not complaining, just stating facts.

Let’s be honest here. When asked by a stranger what you do for a living, wouldn’t you be a bit embarrassed to tell people that you make millions of dollars doing something year after year almost any 8 year old could do after an hour of instruction? Apparently the job got so boring they changed the letter-turning switch system a few years ago just to keep her from falling asleep. Or maybe they had to change the setup a bit because of carpal tunnel syndrome problems after a couple of decades of repetition. I’m not about to suggest her advanced age is why the switching mechanism was changed!

The different types of vocations are infinite. As I peruse the choices available when I graduated from high school in 1955, I have to wonder if I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, what I would do differently. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I believe my choice would be just as difficult now as it was so long ago.   

My first career job, so to speak, was with the Idarado Mining Co., in the warehouse department. For the most part, I enjoyed the job, with its associated challenges and educational opportunities outweighing the negatives. Idarado and I had an unwritten agreement that went something like this: They didn’t pay me what I thought I was worth so I mostly gave them an honest day’s work in return. Well, actually, it was a bit more complicated than that, but I know a lot of readers know exactly what I’m talking about.

So what are some of the primo jobs in the Telluride area? Being a ski town, obviously, working as a ski instructor, ski patroller, or just about anything that includes a season ski pass rates high on the list. Actually, here in the middle of our recreational paradise, there are too-many-to-count cushy jobs to even list here that any of the Telluride region’s nose-to-the-grindstone workers from the past would have killed for.

A job I think would garner envy might be that of the Rico or Placerville postmaster. Good working conditions; a decent retirement plan, I assume; meeting just enough of the public and keeping just busy enough to avoid boredom sounds pretty good to me.

Here’s a profession that if one is either dedicated or lucky enough to survive must be extremely rewarding: being an artist, some of whom are so devoted to their endeavor they are willing to forego material comforts just for the opportunity to create and express themselves.

I love art. Today’s world is saturated with wonderful and starving artists of all types and they make us all richer because of it in spite of themselves.

So who has or has had jobs that I have envied? A few. When I first graduated from high school, the U. S. Geological Survey was doing some remapping in the Telluride area to upgrade their topo maps. A guy by the name of Al Bush headed up the program and spent the summers in Telluride carousing every nook and cranny in the region to complete the job. I couldn’t imagine being able to hike to so many different places every day and getting paid so much money to do it.

Another guy who I think led a wonderful life in Telluride was landscape and historical photographer Homer Reid. Homer wasn’t lazy and his photographic business let him pick and choose where he wanted to go, and when. Homer did plenty of photography homework in the regional high country and throughout the 1940s he had the Telluride region virtually to himself (except for two weeks in October during hunting season, in which he was an avid participant). He had to supplement his survival as a gunsmith, watch repairman, and in retail sales, and a few other enterprises to survive here, but he pulled it off.

One interesting story about Homer, among many, is that he once bought a new car that he purchased, cash on the barrelhead, for something like 2,000 silver dollars.

Ah, yes, life is full of enjoyable professions and here’s one I’ve always tended to envy: Being an old-fashioned irrigator back in a simpler era. That’s right, being out there in the middle of a big mountain meadow with a straw hat and round point shovel diverting water here and there to nurture grass into livestock forage. It’s super healthy, breathing nothing but the best of the fresh air that abounded at that time, getting just the amount of not overly hard exercise needed to keep the body healthy, and communing with nature. Some of those jobs paid little more than board and room, but what the hey, being so fit, footloose and fancy-free makes one realize that stopping to smell the flowers once in a while can often charge the soul like no other method.

The Telluride Valley Floor now needs a superb irrigator in the worst way to keep those precious meadows green. Kelly McKnight, Ed Vezina and Alley Oop, wherefore art thou? We’re prepared to make you guys an offer you couldn’t have dreamed of in your time and for reasons that would blow your mind.

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