MAXIM magazine has published an article about the type of manual blue collar work that cubicle workers may daydream about and for those of you still interested in finding work as a crab fisherman, read what Capt. Sig of the F/V Northwestern has to say and think about if it’s really for you…
Thanks to shows like Deadliest Catch that paint a vivid picture of what “a hard day’s work” really entails (hint: it doesn’t involve changing printer toner), the age-old fantasy of ditching everyday life to take on a high-paying, high-risk short-term job has taken on a new life. “Before the show there were seasons where we had light crews,” says Sig Hansen, captain of the featured crab-fishing vessel, Northwestern. “Now we’ve got guys camping out on the beach for a chance to prove themselves.” Here, a closer look at the backbreaking gigs making some corporate types feel less dead on the inside.
1. Seasonal Wildland Firefighter
Forest fires generally translate to burning-hot cash, and your 20-person crew will ship out to a flareup at a moment’s notice. But watch out: Even after 14 straight 16-hour days, “You have to adjust to an environment that changes at a moment’s notice,” says Larry Grorud, VP of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Risks: Smoke, gases, chainsaw mishaps
Pay: $14/hour to $90,ooo/year
2. Security Specialist
A stint in the military isn’t must-have experience for those willing to take a bullet for international businessmen with thick wallets. “Most private security providers give their own training,” says Pete Metzger of executive search firm CTPartners. “But know that in war zones, there’s a 50 percent chance you’ll be shot at.”
Risks: Bullets, bombs, and Blackwater types
Pay: Up to $120,000/year
3. Oil-Rig Worker
There are two ways to earn a title like roustabout or roughneck: get a job on an offshore oil rig or kill a man with your bare hands. The work is tough, and one misstep on a slippery grate will send you plummeting headlong into the sea. Then again, some grueling oil-rig jobs include luxury downtime. Land ho, bitches.
Risks: Ear damage, explosions, lonelines
4. Commercial Fisherman
“We tell them to leave their brains at the dock,” says Hansen of the newly bearded city slickers tiptoeing north hoping to maneuver 700-pound crab pots into the freezing waters of the north Pacific. “All we want is someone who can go with the flow, work 36-hour shifts, and occasionally do three straight days without sleep.” Injuries are common, so newbies hang around dock bars in coastal Alaska, Washington, and Maine for open spots and up to eight percent of a good week’s $300,000 haul.
Risks: Broken feet, smashed hands, severed fingers, crushed dreams
Pay: As much as $20,000/week