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You Do WHAT for a Living? Jobs Your Guidance Counselor Never Told You About
July 01, 2012
Most of us have ordinary jobs. We go to an office, sell somebody something, defend someone, doctor them, advise them on how to manage their money or do their taxes, sell them insurance or teach people something.
But what about those really niche jobs, you know, the ones you didn’t hear about from your high school or college guidance counselor?
Like News Assignment Manager, or Crime Scene Clean Up Tech or more exotic still, Ghost Paranormalist?
Meet the experts who have these unusual and definitely out-of–the- ordinary professions.
Who You Gonna Call?
Greenville’s Ghost Tour Director Jason Profit defines himself as a Paranormalist. “The Paranormalist studies and harnesses a more complete understanding of the relationship between normal and paranormal.”
Profit says he remembers that as a child, he and his family lived in what he says was “a very haunted home here in Greenville County. Things would go missing, and re-appear later, unsettling sounds and growls emanated from within the house and physical attacks were coming against my mother and I. The Christian leaders in my mother’s life were telling her, ‘Janie, the Devil is trying to kill you and Jason.’” Profit says those experiences led him to embark on a 34 year journey of paranormal exploration, which in turn inspired him to create the Greenville Ghost Tour.
“Before telling ghost stories of our lovely town, folks knew me as a trusted local psychic and palm reader. As public interest grew I decided to start researching past tragedies and digging around for any current paranormal activity. With my lifelong knowledge of dealing with those who are haunted, I had an understanding of what to look for,” Profit says.
“Greenville is extremely haunted, “ adds Profit. “With nearly 10,000 deceased souls residing in Springwood Cemetery, how can we not have one or two roaming spirits? Underneath the shiny surface lies a history of violence and grizzly crimes, which rocked the nation. The largest lynching trial in the history of our nation took place right on Main Street. As recently as 2011 there was a shocking suicide at a church on the West End. These are the kinds of things that leave residual scars and open rifts to the paranormal.”
Profit divides ghosts into two categories. “There are basically two kinds of spirits (that) folks encounter. The first being the residual kind, which basically plays the same thing over and over. The intelligent haunt is another thing entirely. The intelligent haunt will move items, touch the living, try to communicate, sabotage things and generally make their presence known.” Profit cites as example the well-known, long-existing Greenville Army Store, where he says now deceased owner Harry Zaglin may “still be hanging around in the afterlife.” Profit goes into detail about this investigation with the owner’s son and current storeowner on his website,
The Greenville Ghost Tour costs $20 for adults and takes about an hour and a half to complete. “Sometimes clients come away with photographic evidence of sorts, anomalies, light orbs, in their photographs, “ Profit says. ‘The West End is downtown Greenville’s most haunted area.”
Who You Gonna Call? Part 2
There was a murder in a local hotel; a person was stabbed to death. After police and crime scene investigators are finished with their work, what happens to the mess that’s left behind, the black fingerprint residue that gets all over everything? The body fluids? The chemicals investigators use to determine gunshot and other trace patterns? Who cleans up this mess?
Highly specialized, certified, well-protected crime scene clean- up technicians with nerves of steel do, that’s who.
The granddaddy of crime scene clean up, or Bio Recovery Technician as they are known, is former Greenville County EMS director Kent Berg. Berg defined, then refined the difficult science of crime scene/trauma clean up. As a paramedic of many years, Berg noticed that families were too distraught to clean up after discovering a relative or friend dead. “I saw a need, families were traumatized, and incredibly – you wouldn’t think this, it’s satisfying work because you are helping families, sparing them from having to do what we do.”
Blood seeps into wood, concrete, drywall, other bodily fluids accumulate, body matter sticks to surfaces. “People don’t realize how complicated this work is, we’re not just going in with a rag to wipe things up. We have to have a knowledge of construction, plumbing, electrical systems, and so on.” Berg says one of the most important aspects of this job is the mental attitude technicians must maintain when dealing with human remains in all sorts of disturbing conditions.
“You have to de-stress, psychological counseling, just talking to each other is very important to be able to do this job.”
Bill Sowers, President of ServiceMaster in Spartanburg, also once worked as a technician and occasionally must still pull on the hazardous material suit and respirator mask required to do any such job. The technicians also go through a series of vaccinations for Hepatitis A, B, and C and other blood-borne infections.
“You’ve got to have the right frame of mind, “ says Sowers. “You have compassion for the family, of course, but you’ve got to be able to look at it as a job, to be able to go in there, clean up, get out of there and get it out of your mind. If it’s always there, it’s going to wreak havoc on your mind.”
Sowers has 12 technicians, but only four of them will work crime or trauma cleanup scenes. “Its not something that everyone wants to do, we let them volunteer and they get double pay for doing it, ”says Sowers.
And Now, the News
Have you ever wondered who decides what you see on TV nightly news? You ask yourself: Now, why did they decide to show that story? Meet The Decider. She is Kim Deal.
Deal is the Assignment Editor at WYFF-TV4, the Hearst-owned NBC affiliate that’s a pioneering TV station in South Carolina. Deal decides what you see on the nightly news. “My official title is actually Assignment Manager,” says Deal. “I jokingly say that means I tell people where to go, but there is truth in that. “
It means Kim Deal has her finger on the pulse of everything that happens, will happen in the near future, or has already happened in Greenville, Asheville, Spartanburg, Anderson – the coverage area of WYFF- TV4. It is the 35th largest ADI (Area of Dominant Influence) in the country. The second thing you can say about Deal is that she is the wizard behind the curtains that is the WYFF-TV4 News.
Deal is the poster child for the term multi-tasker. “I keep track of scheduled news events and breaking news, I pair up reporters and photojournalists for stories, and make sure they know where they need to be and when. I send out live trucks, the satellite truck and our helicopter, I answer phone calls from the public and I communicate with our crews when they’re out in the field. I arrange to send and receive videos from NBC News, and CNN and other stations around the state and country. I make out the work schedules.”
In other words, not a thing happens in the newsroom that isn’t orchestrated or organized by Kim Deal. Deal has been in the news business for 30 years and to say that she knows her stuff is an understatement.
In most newsrooms, the assignment manager sits on a raised circular dais in front or center of the newsroom, which gives the “Desk” – as the staff member who occupies it is called – the ability to literally oversee everything, to see where reporters and photographers are, what’s in the editing process.
Possibly the most important aspect of her high stress job is that Deal decides which stories get covered. Which are important, what news the public needs to know to survive a severe storm, fire threat, or a hostage situation.
“There are a lot of different factors that go into the decisions on which stories to cover. Sometimes it’s pretty simple. For example, a bank robbery with hostages doesn’t require great deliberation. On most days, the decisions aren’t as obvious. We try to figure out which story possibilities are of the greatest interest, which affect our viewers most, which ones people are talking about,” she says.
“One of the key requirements in assigning a non–breaking news story is the visual element. What video will we have to work with? What sound is available? Is it compelling? Is the story subject itself of interest to viewers? That said, I’m a sucker for any story that involves a dog.”
Deal says she is part of a well- run, highly cohesive team. “I am blessed to work with some of the most talented people in journalism. Because of my longevity in this market, I’m able to help provide context and background for certain stories that a reporter new to this market wouldn’t know.”
The Internet has had a huge impact on the news business, says Deal. “It’s critical that people closely examine the sources of their information. Bloggers provide another dimension of information, but do you know their motives? Is a blogger being paid to put a partisan spin on issues? Do you actually know who the person responsible for any given blog is? And how do you hold that person accountable for what he writes? In our case, we’re here at a brick and mortar address. We live in the communities that we cover, and you can reach us to ask any of those questions.”
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