Working in Black and White, Literally —With Penguins, Pianos, and Crosswords

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A Steinway piano restorer. A crossword-puzzle maker. A marine biologist working with penguins. What do they have in common? They all work in black and white, literally. And all three jobs are rendered in beautiful style in Life in Black and White, a series of documentaries featuring people who work in two colors, shared with our Video channel.

RESTORING A STEINWAY PIANO
"We get to a place inside the Steinway that nobody has seen since the factory. There's a tiny, beautifully hand-written signature from the guy who built that part of the piano 120 years ago. A German immigrant."


MAKING A CROSSWORLD PUZZLE
"I always slip in words to friends. Secret messages. Britney Spears can be anagrammed into Presbyterians and Presbyterians can be anagrammed into Best-in-Prayers."


WORKING WITH PENGUINS
"We've got one penguin couple that's been together for 15 years. Penguins' beak feels just like our fingernails. They get lower back pain. They bite very hard."


We at The Atlantic want to know more about working in America, too. We asked you to tell us what people don't get about your job, and we published the best responses as an encyclopedia: What You Don't Get About My Jobs: From A(rmy Soldier) to Z(ookeeper). Then we asked you to tell us what people don't get about the job search. We published your complete responses in Jobless in America: An Anthology of Testimonials About Unemployment. For our next feature, tell us what's the most annoying part of your job. Email us at aboutmyjob1@gmail.com.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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