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Just to remind everyone, here’s the list of jobs from yesterday that I found a bit odd:

  • Fisherman
  • Teacher
  • Ferry boat driver
  • Hydroelectric mechanic
  • Rancher/Rodeo organizer
  • Minister
  • Barber
  • Tribal chief
  • Cinematographer
  • Football coach
  • Peanut farmer
  • Boutique owner
  • Blackjack dealer
  • Bing Kong elder
  • Case manager at refugee agency
  • Barbeque owner
  • Manager at lunch meat manufacturer
  • Hotel worker, aspiring comic artist
  • Oil field worker
  • Airplane mechanic
  • Volunteer hotline operator for transgender peer support
  • Bakery operations manager
  • Border patrol agent
  • Wildlife biologist

Surprisingly, you guys figured out pretty quickly what was strange here. After circling around the answer a bit, commenter clawback got it: “Seems like office work is grossly underrepresented here.”

Now, if your goal is to take pretty pictures and produce interesting vignettes, it makes sense that you might skip right past all the office jobs. But this kind of thing happens a lot, especially in pieces about what “real people in the heartland” are thinking these days. And that’s where it’s really annoying. I’m too lazy to look this up, but I’d guess that something like a quarter to a third of the workforce is made up of urban and suburban office workers: accounting clerks, web designers, paralegals, tech writers, telemarketers, stock brokers, financial analysts, DMV clerks, copy editors, etc. To read all these stories about wildlife biologists and tribal chiefs and barbeque owners, you’d think that all these ordinary 9-to-5 jobs either didn’t exist or were beneath notice.

Anyway, I recommend the Times begin a new project: Exactly the same as the old one, but consisting solely of “documenting moments large and small, quiet and indelible” in the lives of suburban office workers. Any photographer can take a great picture of a fishing skiff at dawn, and any writer can create a moving portrait of a middle school football coach in a low-income neighborhood. Now do the same thing for folks who work under fluorescent lights in glass and steel office buildings and spend their free time hauling the kids to soccer practice and making dinner. That’s a little more challenging, isn’t it?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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