Strange Jobs

Window washers on Willis Tower
anthonylibrarian, via Flickr

Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma explore some of the strange jobs that people have around the world.


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

It is 2 in the morning. The wind is getting stronger and there is a chance that it will rain. Despite the weather, Al Gehrke sits 110 floors above the ground, 442 meters above the earth. You may be wondering what he is doing so far off the ground. If you asked him, he would say, ‘I am just doing my job!’

Voice 2 

Today’s Spotlight is on strange jobs. Around the world, work is an important part of life. But all jobs are not the same! Have you ever heard about these jobs?

Voice 1 

Al Gehrke has a very special job. One that not many people would want to have. He manages one of the tallest buildings in the world - the Willis Tower in Chicago. His team washes and changes the windows. The Willis Tower has 16,000 windows. Each window weighs over 90 kilos.

Voice 2 

Gehrke works with a team. They work from four in the afternoon until four in the morning. They clean 18 windows each night. Each window takes almost 30 minutes. Al Gehrke is not afraid of high places. He is a good man for the job.

Voice 1 

Mary Ann Scharenbroch-Gillum also has an unusual job. Instead of hanging high above the earth washing windows, she works under the water. Dolphins move through the deep ocean along with other large deep sea fish. They also live in aquariums around the world. In these places, people can go see the dolphins. Sometimes, people can also swim with the dolphins. Mary Ann trains the dolphins for shows. She also helps people to swim with the dolphins. She loves the dolphins. She told reporter Lindsey Bailey,

Voice 3 

“We never tell a dolphin what to do. We ask them respectfully. They decide to do that for us because of the relationship we have.”

Voice 2 

Besides washing windows high above the earth or swimming with big fish under the sea, there are other unusual jobs that you have probably never thought of people having. All over the world people have such jobs. For example, did you know that in China there are people who are paid to stand in line? If you are in a hurry and find yourself in a long line of people you could pay someone to wait in the line for you.

Voice 1 

That is strange! Here is another strange example: karaoke singers! A karaoke singer is someone who sings the songs of famous singers. The singer is able to follow the words of the songs because they appear on a computer in front of them. In Cyprus, karaoke singers are very popular. They sing to the people on holiday in their country. As the visitors travel around the island they can listen to the music of the karaoke singers.

Voice 2 

In Japan, many people benefit from another strange job. In the big cities, many people travel on underground trains. The trains become very full - so full that it is difficult for everyone to get on! The railway attendant helps everyone to find a space on the train. Then, before the doors close, the attendant pushes the last few people into the train! This forces everyone to find a space. In Japan, people call these attendants “railway pushers”. They make it possible for everyone to ride the train.

Voice 1 

There are also people who care for the wigs of actors in plays. A wig is used to change the look of an actor’s hair. It is not real hair, but it must be taken care of like it were real hair. There are other people who are called turkey pluckers. These people must take the feathers off of birds before they are eaten. Have you ever tried to catch a big bird? It must be a hard job!

Voice 2 

Some people think my job is strange. I am a radio producer. I put together the Spotlight programs that you listen to. I write the programs, choose the music, and put all of the voices together to create the show. I use a computer to put each part of the program in the right place. Sometimes I have to listen to the same small part over and over again to make sure that everything sounds right.

Voice 1 

Think of the jobs in your community? Are there people that have unusual jobs? Could your job be considered strange? Not everyone has such strange jobs. There are many different kinds of jobs in the world. From mothers, to teachers, to window washers, it is important to work hard in any job.

Voice 2 

In all jobs it is necessary to have special skills so that the work gets done well. Al Gerhke has a special skill. He is able to work high above the ground without being afraid. Turkey pluckers have the skill of being quick with their hands. Otherwise they would never be able to catch the birds. But, just having the skills does not always mean that the job is being well done. Some people can become lazy in their work. They begin to work slowly, or to make excuses for not doing a good job.

Voice 1 

Think of your community. Do you depend on the work of others to provide the things in life that you need? Do others depend on the work that you do? If a mother decided not to do her job, her children would not get what they needed. If a teacher stopped doing her job then there would be a lack of education in the community. If a farmer decided to go home early, there would not be enough food for all to eat. No matter what the job, it is important to do good work.

Voice 2 

The Christian Bible has good advice about work. It says, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart.’ This means to work hard, with spirit and energy. As you work this week, ask yourself if you are doing your best work. Are you working with your whole heart?

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Rebekah Schipper. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from  the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it on the internet at This program is called, ‘Strange Jobs’.

Voice 2 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


What do you do for a job? What do you want to do for a job? Why?


Avatar Spotlight
Rain Bows
said on August 30, 2012

Hello Spotlight,
Thanks to the producers and all who make possible this radio.
Surely we should all put the most effort in the job we do.
It was a nice program.
Sofía Miketta,

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 18, 2012

prophet Muhammad said Allah likes who ever do work to perfect his work

Luis Piedra's avatar
Luis Piedra
said on October 02, 2013

Excellent program.
Thanks Spotlight

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 03, 2013

Thanks whole Spotlight team for working to create these excellent programs. It is really wonderful to can learn about how many different, strange kinds of jobs exist around the world and how much effort, skills, enthusiasm people put into their doing!

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 20, 2014

There was something amazing me. The building has 16,000 windows, but they only can do clean 18 windows each night, is that true? Spend 12 hours only can do 18 windows? So do clean whole building’s windows may spend 3years? From the dolphins trainer said, very impressive is that dolphin doing the things by respect the trainer and their bond. At the end it is a good question. I’m not able to say I’m doing my job with all my heart. Sometimes, when the things are goes into a routine, repeating around. But I do thanks God, that he gives me a health body to do my job and earn the money.  Thanks Spotlight.

Avatar Spotlight
Mss Flamboyant
said on October 31, 2014

“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart” - impressing slogan We can get success with working hard, think carefully, take responsibility, and need some luckiness. Personally, we should work with all of our heart, try our best to make our dreams become true and we do not have to regret somethings which we did. Thank spotlight so much for many interesting programs.

Avatar Spotlight
said on November 13, 2014

A very good programm. Thank you, Spotlight!

JoaoVBR's avatar
said on March 20, 2015

It was a good program to listen. I would be afraid if I had to clean windows like the employees in the begin of the program, but I understand that they have the skills for it and like to feel adrenaline in work.
The end of the program was great with the biblical quote. One day I heard a similar sentence: “Get up everyday, love God and do your best. He will do the rest!” (Joyce Meyer)

Avatar Spotlight
said on July 21, 2016

When we are of tender age we are cared for, taught and educated to become good persons of family and community. When we are mature we have to work to support ourselves and our family. Each of us completes our work every day. Each of us completes our responsibilities and duties every day. Doing beautiful good thing brings us joy. Completing responsibility and duty brings us joy. Work helps us balance in life. Work helps us keep away from not good thing. We learn and train to get better every day. Life has difficulty, challenge and suffering. Each of us makes much effort to live a beautiful good life. We go to perfection.

Avatar Spotlight
said on July 22, 2016

Surely, only in a case if we perform our job with resolution, pleasure, with ‘‘all of our heart’’ as it has been mentioned in that article we can feel real satisfaction and pride too. In particular, when even other people health or life depend on our work then we have to try to do our job most perfectly with the biggest effort just as the strict responsibility!
Thanks Spotlight for another excellent topic!

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on July 24, 2016

In my country this a strange job not exsist in almost countries around the world. That’s job called “warier”, who person joys to melesia and fighting for it, for example, Alhuthi melesia in Yemen, isis, alqaeda, hezbullah in Lebanon and Boko haram in Negeria… etc.
God bless you