24 Hours: A Day in the Working Life

Series produced by Bending Borders

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Twelve workers who might otherwise go unnoticed – a deli waitress, bus driver, metal scrapper, longshoreman and bathroom attendant, to name a few – take us inside their places of work to show us what they do, why they do it and what it takes to get through a shift.

A lot of kids imagine growing up to be astronauts, doctors, basketball stars or firefighters. But often these dream jobs require money, education or coaching that most people never get. So, then, there are jobs most people don’t even think about: the night guard in the impound lot, the exotic dancer on the breakfast shift, the mother who cares for other people’s children. Someone does them. And we don't even think about those people, either.

In this one-hour special for Labor Day, we explore their worlds. One day, 12 very different jobs, in the workers’ own words – words we might otherwise never hear.

Each of these non-narrated audio stories was produced by a graduate student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in partnership with Homelands Productions and Bending Borders. "24 Hours; A Day in the Working Life" is available as a one-hour special for public radio or as a collection of individual stories.

Image: Photograph by Flickr user demented_dame, edit by Rosalie Murphy Hide full description

A lot of kids imagine growing up to be astronauts, doctors, basketball stars or firefighters. But often these dream jobs require money, education or coaching that most people never get. So, then, there are jobs most people don’t even think about: the night guard in the impound lot, the exotic dancer on the breakfast shift, the mother who cares for other people’s children. Someone does them. And we don't even think about those people, either.In this one-hour special for Labor Day, we explore their worlds. One day, 12 very different jobs, in the workers’ own words – words we might otherwise never hear.Each of these non-narrated audio stories was produced by a graduate student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in partnership with Homelands Productions and Bending... Show full description


12 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Eric Jones works as a custodian at LA's New Hope Baptist Church., Credit: Jerome Campbell
In this special report, twelve workers who might otherwise go unnoticed – including a stripper, deli waitress, bus driver, metal scrapper and bathr...

Bought by KQED, KFAI, KSFR, Spokane Public Radio, WGBH Radio Boston and more


  • Added: Jul 28, 2014
  • Length: 51:59
  • Purchases: 24
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Rich Sutton is an overnight security guard at a car impound lot in Los Angeles.

  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:53
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Behind drawn shades in a brightly lit room downtown, dispatchers for the Los Angeles Police Department answer 9-1-1 calls and send officers to thei...

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio


  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:46
  • Purchases: 1
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In car-choked LA, riding the bus is a sign that you can’t afford your own wheels. But Joshua Salazar's overnight routes are often full of people be...

  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:58
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As dawn breaks, birds serenade Eric Jones, who crosses a church parking lot in his baggy jeans, jangling an oversized key ring. The plastic wheels ...

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio


  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 04:18
  • Purchases: 1
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A stripper nicknamed "Venus" dances during the breakfast shift in Downtown Los Angeles.

  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:27
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Eva fled to the U.S. from El Salvador’s civil war more than 20 years ago. Since then, she’s cared for 11 kids – and mastered emotional calculus of ...

  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 02:59
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Amy Brooks serves Jewish favorites (matzoh ball soup, pastrami, you name it) in a historic LA deli.

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio


  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:59
  • Purchases: 1
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At USA Recycling in East LA, a two-story yellow crane smashes cars, refrigerators and stoves into neat piles of wreckage all day. The mistress of t...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio


  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:17
  • Purchases: 1
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Every day, Teodoro Cuevas dresses in his black flared pants with silver buttons down the side. He sits against a tree across from the bustling sub...

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio


  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:11
  • Purchases: 1
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Willie Sanchez sells flowers in bulk in downtown LA.

  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 01:58
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Frank Ponce de Leon is a longshoreman at the Port of Los Angeles.

  • Added: Jul 29, 2014
  • Length: 03:02