What do you do for a living?
That seems like such an easy question, right? Most of the time it is. For instance when that question is posed and the answers are “I am a teacher”, “I am an insurance salesman”, “I am a lawyer”, “I am a waitress” anyone listening has a fairly good idea of what that particular person does to earn a living.
This doesn’t ever seem to be the case when someone asks me what I do…at least now. Ahhh, the days when I could just say “middle school science teacher” and everyone knew EXACTLY what I did….those were the days!! Now, when someone asks, first I get puzzled looks like, “what does a liquid waste pumper do?” And then, as I explain my industry their puzzled faces turn into icky, disgusted, and contorted looks. Oh, the faces people can make when you describe your profession. It’s a hoot, I tell ya.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been called “the septic gal” and now recently, “the poop lady.” I can’t help but laugh in thinking that in all the years I taught middle schoolers, the worst nickname I had was “Cubes” (Kids thought that calling me Cubes was funny since my last name was Kubik. What I would kill for that name now!) In fact, I had a networking friend tell me the other day she was in a meeting and somehow my name came up. When someone asked who I was she replied, “You know, the girl who pumps poop – the poop lady!” and then apparently with this clarification, the person knew EXACTLY who I was. Isn’t that just thrilling?
But here’s the main problem with my industry – people simply don’t know that it exists or that it’s a necessary service for some people. If you are reading this post and have never lived in the country, it has probably never even crossed your mind to think about where all the water (from your dishwasher, washing machine, shower and even your toilet) in your house would go if you lived outside the city limits, right? Heck, even some people who LIVE in the country don’t completely understand it….I know, I’ve talked with them on the phone! Also, if you’ve never owned a restaurant, then you probably didn’t know that even in town there are devices, called grease traps, that collect the grease from running into the city sewers. Think about what grease does in your kitchen sink. If this stuff got into the city sewer pipes (in extreme amounts like what a restaurant would produce) it would be bad! My husband has been in this business for almost 10 years and we’re still getting calls about liquid waste removal needs we haven’t heard about before. But, as stated before, it’s not a recognized industry to the masses because people don’t realize it is a needed service.
Seeing how my industry is a lesser known one, I decided to do some research to find out who else feels my “nobody knows what I do” pain. You know a little misery-loves-company-expedition. And I found some pretty interesting fields. Here are a few:
- Unexploded ordinance technician: These guys work with explosives and help make sure they REMAIN unexploded until their fired. They deal with the safety of handling explosives and their firing devices. (When I found this career, I immediately thought of pretty much every boy in middle school. Their dream job does exist they just don’t know it is out there! Ha!)
- Paper towel sniffers: Evidently, paper towel companies hire people to smell their paper towels to make sure they don’t smell funny when people use them. (This job actually pays $19,000- $52,000 a year!) Who knew?
- Golf ball divers: I must admit that though I don’t think about all the lonely golf balls at the bottom of the ponds, it makes sense that someone might go and retrieve them…Adam Sandler did in Happy Gilmore…why not make a profession out of it? Save the environment. Dive for golf balls.
- Urine farming: Yes, you read that correctly….urine farming. There are special farmers who raise deer, collect their urine and then sell it to hunters for hunting scent. This is a $44 million industry. (Talking about this job around networkers might be worse than what I do already. “Hi. My name is Jaime and I collect deer pee.” I feel like I need to start a support group for us poop and pee collectors. I’d call it Liquid Waste Anonymous. I am now on step four of the program, moving towards acceptance…)
Again, I joke because I do believe what my husband and I do is a good business that people need. But you have to understand how telling others what you do is a little bit more of a challenge from our perspective. So today, if you have one of those easily explained jobs – be proud! Be happy! When people ask you that common question be thankful you can state it without further explaining it!! And then, in a rare moment if a liquid waste pumper comes into your life….be kind and maybe just ask them about the weather.