Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Need work? How about $16/hr to start?

A few weeks ago I read a post on The MonsterBlog regarding jobs considered to be at the bottom of the barrel. One of them, septic tank cleaner, came to mind over the weekend.

The next section is a bit of detail about septic tanks you may or may not be interested in reading. If you want the entire detail, follow the link. My overall point does not require knowing the details of septic systems.
Click to read the full detail...

For those reading from a non-rural area, modern septic tanks have a concrete tank below ground, covered by about 6" of soil.  All liquids
 are pumped off a 'sand mound' field, where layers of rock, sand, hay and other such natural filters literally purify the water before it eventually reaches the water table (and the process begins again). That's right...    

Natural decomposition takes care of much of what remains in the tank. Every 3-5 years (depending on family size) the upper tank needs to be pumped (failure to do so will result in a back up into the lowest point, usually the downstairs shower stall. That's right...).

Pumping the tank is not a task for the weekend handy-man, to say the least. A professional with a large tank truck will roll up, and after uncapping your upper tank, he (or she) will insert a large hose into the tank, and suck up anything not yet decomposed. The size of these tanks can vary, based on the size of the home/business; mine is rated at 1000 gallons.

This is certainly not a job for the faint of olfactory. For good measure, the cleaner will often empty what's sitting in the upper tank, inspect the tank pump, baffles, and other hardware.

In less than an hour, the vendor collects his payment and is off. He hauls the sewage to a municipality who will let him dump it into their sewer for a fee.

Last Friday was a work-at-home day for me, because I needed to home to receive my septic serviceman. While we stood over my open upper tank, we chatted about the stuff people usually chat about. Of course, I eventually asked 'how is business?'

As an aside: 'How is business' is one of those expressions that is meaningless, like 'How about this weather?'; what do I care how his business is? If he was near bankruptcy, would he tell me? Would I care?
He told me he would hire 2 people tomorrow if he could. He can't find anyone who wants to work 8-10 hours per day for $16/hour to start. His own name is on his trucks, so it is understandable why he wants only reliable people, but I found it amazing no one would have stepped up to the plate and accepted his office.

Yes, this job is not exactly glamorous. But the man has a shiny truck, and certainly did not look like he was starving. He wore work gloves, and while there is a very clear potential he could get dirty, those gloves and his clothes were not at all stained. $33K is not a laughable salary in these parts. Hell, it is more than I was making when I was in between career jobs a year ago. But it is honest work, and I've seen harder jobs, to be sure.

Don't tell me there are no jobs out there; there are plenty, but too many people are too proud to look for them.

And the next time you complain about your job, remember there are less-desirable things you could do instead of what you are doing now.

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