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Long Hours, Sunburns, And Fly Balls: What It’s Like To Work Outside

Millions of Americans work outside, in agriculture and fishing, construction and shipping, and in the burgeoning outdoor hospitality industry. While it may seem dreamy to office workers the world over, people who work outside often face tougher conditions, from longer hours or seasonal work to how much their bodies can take. In this episode of Still Working, we talk with a minor league baseball playera dairy farmer, and a City of Pittsburgh lifeguard. Each of their workplaces carries a whiff of nostalgia: the glory of a summer ballgame, the steadfastness of the small American farmer, the sweet relief of the pool on a scorcher of a summer day. But they’re also challenging places to work.

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Jonathan Schwind struggles with others’ questions of when he’ll reach the major leagues; Paige Friedline has woken up before dawn for most of her working life and worries about the future market for dairy products; and Alexxis Turner is responsible for the safety of hundreds of people. 

"There are days that this is a hard job, and there are days that this is not the worst job in the world, and there are days when I'd rather be anywhere but here." —Paige Friedline, herd manager, Walnutdale Farms

In Long Hours, Sunburns, And Fly Balls: What It’s Like To Work Outside, they explain how they spend most of every day out in the elements for their jobs, vulnerable to the weather, dependent on their bodies, and surrounded by unpredictable colleagues—children learning to swim can be just as ornery as dairy cows.

Still Working is our podcast about how work shapes who we are and how we see the world.

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA's development and transportation reporter. She previously worked for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide reporting initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania's cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh's lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.