Odd jobs are held even by the likes of Doug Burgum

Looking back at 1978

Doug Burgum scales a roof as a chimney sweep back in 1978.

Nearly everyone has held an odd job in their life. Reasons behind this may be to earn extra cash, pay bills, or to simply do something else for a change.

Some may have the nagging feeling of “How is this job actually going to help me with my future?” In all honesty, it may not have anything to do with your future, but that doesn’t have to stop you from having some fun with it.  

A perfect example is our fellow Governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum. According to a story ran in The Spectrum on February 17, 1978, he may have held the oddest job of them all, a chimney sweep.  

Back in 1978, Burgum was interviewed for The Spectrum after getting the job at Energy Center Inc. Out of comedic relief or complete seriousness, he states, “equipment that he needs for this job consists of his uniform, a standard black tux, white shirt and top hat, a variety of brushes, extensions and a vacuum cleaner.”  

Some people even asked me to sing songs from Mary Poppins.

Doug Burgum

Being a chimney sweep is not done without some risks.

“Burgum said the toughest job he had involved a large three-story house and his ladders would not reach the roof. He said he had to lasso a vent stack and then climb to the edge of the roof and scale a steeply pitched roof.” 

Doug Burgum’s role of a chimney sweep can all remind us that people, even ones that hold well-respected positions in our government begin somewhere. Even if the main goal is to make some extra cash in college.  

Next time you hang your head low for having yet, another odd job in hopes to not be an entirely broke college student. Just remember, there’s no need to be discouraged. The future is bright with a couple of odd jobs highlighting the way.  

This story was possible with the help from the NDSU Archives staff.

Leave a Reply