I don’t know anyone except T and me who are watching America’s Toughest Jobs. It seems to be drawing pretty low audiences. But I’m enjoying it. It’s a tough competition, without the random luck or bunching that drives me crazy on The Amazing Race, and it’s mostly just about the ability to do the job, without a whole lot of relationship drama. (They’ve occasionally tried to make a story about why the contestants are doing this, but that’s been underwhelming.)
"Tough" jobs, in this context, mostly translates as physically demanding and/or dangerous. Certainly today’s episode, logging, was brutally physical. Since they’re putting untrained people into the jobs, they can’t require serious training, so no air traffic control here. And as much as I’d love to see these folks dealing with a room full of toddlers, it’s not going to happen.
Interestingly, two of the final five contestants are women. They’re very tough women, but they’re mostly not as strong as the men. Some of the men are complaining that the bosses are grading the women on a curve, but I don’t think that’s it — I think it’s that they’ve consistently shown hustle and good attitude, and the bosses give them credit for that.
The grand prize at the end will be the total annual salary of all the jobs they do. The main thing that’s struck me is how *little* most of these jobs pay. I don’t think any of the ones we’ve seen so far pay more than $45,000, and some of them (prospecting for gold) pay a lot less. Life lesson: go to college — you can make a lot more money for a lot less work. Or get a union job — although they didn’t say so, I’m sure the bridge maintenance work they did last week is unionized. And it’s the best paying job so far — and probably the least real danger (yes, you’re very high, but you’re always clipped in).
At the end of the show, they tell you what the contestant who got kicked off that week is doing now. Almost all of them have changed their jobs since being on the show. One of them did in fact get hired to drive a truck in Alaska. Another is working in a national park. So, I guess that’s another life lesson: there’s a lot of options out there, and you don’t have to do the obvious ones.
Anyone else watching?