Archives for posts with tag: interesting jobs


In a day’s work, a brewer performs many tasks: weighing, pouring, recording, stirring, raking, lifting, fork-lifting, squatting, climbing, washing, mopping ….

But by far, the best task of all is tasting. Really. Drinking beer while on the clock is not only a perk of the job, but a necessary and important duty.

Ultimately, all beers are judged by their taste. That’s why brewers consult gauges, test strips and other objective tools to ensure their end product has the right chemical characteristics that will make it taste a certain way. But twenty-first century technology cannot alone earn brewers’ trust. It still comes down to the good ol’ fashioned human olfactory system to make what amount to crucial business decisions. Is this IPA too hoppy? Is there enough nutmeg in the pumpkin ale? Is this batch of the flagship lager consistent with all the previous ones? It’s the tongue that speaks the truth.

And it’s a myth that swallowing is prohibited when tasting beer. Brewers sip their product for the full effect. And from the primo, extra-fermented test batches, they get the flushed cheeks to prove it.

After all, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do when you’re a taste maker.


Thanks to Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist, Brian Fines and the great people at Cape Ann Brewing Company. Find them at:




Amit Ram reluctantly agreed to become a brewer. His friend had to talk him into it. Amit thought the idea of spending lots of time, energy and money to buy a home brewing kit was ill-advised: it was much cheaper and easier to just go buy a six-pack, he thought.

But he relented. And one batch, one competition, and one first-place prize later, Amit found himself on a plane leaving Tel-Aviv, headed to the United States where he’d find work as an apprentice at a brewery, eventually becoming a full-fledged brewer.

It’s the camaraderie that touched him, he said. To him, the brewing community is unique and is what makes him rise at dawn each morning, don his knee-high rubber boots and get wrist-deep in slimy spent yeast that looks like … well, see for yourself what it looks like.

For Amit, becoming a brewer required an impressive geographical and physical commitment. But he seems to sincerely love what he does for a living, so continues to do what it takes to be a taste maker.


Thanks to Amit Ram and the great people at Cape Ann Brewing Company. Find them at:



Beer is great. It’s thirst quenching, bubbly, warming, features complex tastes, and is just generally enjoyable to drink. Oh, and it also makes your brain release endorphins, which mute pain and turn up pleasure.

Of course, too much of it can kill you. But in moderation, it’s pretty awesome. In fact, behind soda and bottled water, it’s Americans’ third-favorite drink. We’re talking over 5.5 billion gallons of beer made by Americans, sold to Americans in 2011.

Beer’s popular and in high demand, so a growing number of amateur brewers are borrowing some start-up capital and opening their own breweries. They don’t have the automated network of tanks and hoses that the Anheuser-Busch’s of the world have and their product is less consistent because of it. And yet, craft brewers, as they call themselves, do brisk business. The proof is in the growth: as of the beginning of the year, craft brewers enjoyed two consecutive years of 15% increases in sales. This market encouraged the opening of 250 new breweries in 2011 alone.

It’s rewarding work being a taste maker.


Thanks to Brian Fines and the great people at Cape Ann Brewing Company. Find them at:



Like many other professionals, haunted house actors (who call themselves haunters) are constantly negotiating the balance between customer expectations and their own standards for their work. Haunters continuously make snap readings of haunted house guests’ body language, determining how much of a scare they are really willing to handle.

And the correct word is “willing,” not “able.” Often, haunters encounter skeptical guests who don’t want to play along. Other times, guests have allowed their fear to overcome their rational minds, turning their excitement into hysteria.

Just like in most other customer service jobs, the haunters’ catering to their guests’ expectations is exhausting and often frustrating. So while most haunters will tell you the job is intrinsically rewarding, they’ll also admit to taking pleasure in giving someone a healthy fright every now and then. After all, they are experts in scare tactics.

Thanks to the candid haunters and the great people at Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum in Salem. Find them at:



Halloween in Salem, Mass. is New England’s Mardi Gras. People dress up, party in the streets, and partake in crazy ritual behavior. While there’s no beads-for-peeps exchange in Salem, there is a seasonally unique quid pro quo: actors get paid to scare the bejeezus out of people, while their victims derive great pleasure out of the experience.

Normally it’s one-sided fun. But during the month of October, dozens of haunted house attractions around the region dust off their animatronic manikins, call in their best Freddy Kruger impersonators and rake in the dough. Enthusiastic guests stack up deep in lines, waiting to venture inside the labyrinthine house interiors and run screaming away from actors pretending to eat their brains.

The actors, however, call themselves “haunters.” They work in the “haunt industry.” To them scaring people is an artform. It takes dedication, skill, and ceaseless energy to induce the perfect adrenaline rush and ebullient nervous laughter from their guests. Above all else, it takes scare tactics.



When Aren Salmela gets behind the wheel of his steel-caged golf cart at his after school job at a local driving range, he is under siege: golf balls driven off the turf matts are often aimed at his rumbling cart. Like many other custodial jobs, Aren’s duties consist of picking up discarded items and cleaning up after customers. Yet, what other custodians are subject to patrons’ attempted physical assaults?

Aren say’s he’s never even come close to being injured on his job and that he doesn’t sweat it when he takes a liner to the cage. But should his acceptance of driving range culture be taken for granted? Maybe aiming for the man pushing the picker is harmless target practice. Or maybe it’s unnecessary harassment of a guy just trying to do his job.

Either way, Aren’s cage is getting rattled.

Thanks to Aren, Matt, and the folks at Sun’N Air Golf Center in Danvers, Mass. Find them at: