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Slate's Working


Slate interviews Americans about their jobs.

Slate interviews Americans about their jobs.
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Slate interviews Americans about their jobs.




How Does the Owner of Katz’s Deli Work?

This week on Working, Jordan sits down with Jake Dell who is the latest member of his family to take over New York’s famed Katz’s Deli. When you own a restaurant that has been beloved since 1888, your work is never done. Jake tells us about what goes into making sure their pastrami always tastes amazing, how the business has and hasn’t changed in 130 years ago and just how often people reenact the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from When Harry Met Sally. Go to...


How Does a Tattoo Artist Work?

This week, Jordan talks with Victor J. Webster of Brooklyn’s East River Tattoo, who specializes in striking, large-scale pieces of body art inspired by Polynesian traditions. Victor discusses why working in black ink is trickier than you think, how tattoo machines actually work, his techniques for coaching clients through pain, and how he strives to draw inspiration from foreign cultures without simply appropriating them. While you’re listening, check out his work on Instagram. Learn more...


How Does an A Professional Wrestler Work?

This week, Jordan talks with pro-wrestler Bull James, a longtime pro-wrestler and former WWE personality who now performs on the independent circuit while working as the head trainer at New York Wrestling connection. Bull (real name: James Smith) tells Jordan about his path into the ring, about the “punk rock” business of independent wrestling, how he orchestrates a match, and how he handles getting hit with a spiked baseball bat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...


How Does a Child Life Specialist Work?

Chances are, you don’t know much about Jami Barretta’s job. But you really should. Jami is a Child Life Specialist at the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. Which means she is in charge of the education and emotional well being of patients whose ages range from toddlers to teenagers. She and her colleagues work with the young patients and their families to help them cope with the stress and confusion of a hospital stay. In this episode, Jami explains how play can be an...


How Does a Music Supervisor Work?

If you really love the music in a film from the last 25 years, there’s a good chance Randall Poster was responsible for that. This week, Jordan speaks to the veteran music supervisor who has worked with Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Richard Linklater, Harmony Korine and plenty of other directors you love. Randall tells about collaborating with some of the world’s best auteurs, hunting down obscure recordings in India, and delicately convincing directors that, sometimes, their favorite...


Working Presents: Better Life Lab

Today, we're coming to you with something special — the inaugural episode of Better Life Lab, the new podcast from Slate and New America. Better Life Lab looks at the challenges to work-life balance, and how we can change as a culture. Subscribe to Better Life Lab via: Apple Podcasts Overcast Spotify Stitcher Google Play Or wherever you get your shows. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


How Does a New York City Archaeologist Work?

What does it mean to be an archaeologist in one of the world’s biggest cities? In this episode, Jordan talks to Alyssa Loorya, an archaeologist whose job it is to find out exactly what’s buried under New York City. Along with her Brooklyn-based firm, Chrysalis Archaeology, Alyssa uncovers all kinds of amazing cultural resources as a consultant on construction sites in the city’s many historic districts. From a 19th-century beer hall on the Bowery to the old alms house buried under City...


How Does an Art Auctioneer Work?

This week, Jordan takes a trip to the New York office of Sotheby’s, the world’s oldest and largest international auction house, to interview Helena Newman. Helena is the Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and Co-head of Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide and also happens to be the auctioneer who recently sold the firm’s most expensive painting to date: a 1917 Modigliani that went for $157.2 million. Helena tells us how she finds and sells some of the most expensive art in the world and what...


How Does an Urban Winemaker Work?

Working is back with a new season and a new host, Slate’s economics correspondent Jordan Weissmann. In his first episode, Jordan talks to Christopher Nicolson, head winemaker at Red Hook Winery, a unique operation in the heart of Brooklyn that produces wine from grapes grown across New York State. As the man who oversees all the winery’s production, Christopher is in charge of making and bottling his own creations, while also producing wines for two consulting vintners from California. As...


Working Classics: How Does a Drag Queen Work?

On the final episode of Working Classics, Jacob Brogan talks to New York drag queen, and now Rupaul's Drag Race contestant, Miz Cracker about how she conceives of her shows and outfits, the significance of makeup, drag lore, the place of drag and RuPaul's Drag Race in gay culture, and battling robot Hitler. In Slate Plus, Miz Cracker discusses her favorite songs to lip-sync to. Check out Miz Cracker at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Working Classics: How Does the Writer of Batman Work?

In Working Classics, Jacob Brogan revisits some of his favorite episodes from his time hosting the show. In this episode, Jacob sits down with Tom King, the current writer of Batman to discuss his process, how he came to the industry, the mythology of the character, and more. In Slate Plus, Slate staffers ask their burning Batman questions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Working Classics: How Does a Barbecue Chef Work?

For this episode, we visited Slows Bar B-Q to talk with its chef, Mike Metevia. Prior to coming to Slows a decade ago, Metevia had worked in other sectors of the restaurant industry and with other cuisines, but he’d always been a barbecue guy in his private life. “I just like starting fires,” he tells us. Then in a Slate Plus extra, Metevia offers some tips on how to barbecue better at home. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus segments and interview transcripts from Working, plus other great...


Working Classics: How Does an Aquarium Veterinarian work?

Leigh Clayton takes care of the health of 1,500 animals in Baltimore's National Aquarium. She explains how you can tell when a fish is sick, and everything that goes into keeping them healthy. She also tells us about how the National Aquarium connects to and educates about local species, and shares some tips for home aquarium care. In a Slate Plus Extra, she talks about caring for Jacob Brogan's favorite animals: octopuses. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus segments and interview...


Working Classics: How Does an Immigration Lawyer Work?

Nithya Nathan-Pineau is Program Director of CAIR Coalition's Detained Children's Program. She spoke with Jacob Brogan about helping children understand their legal situation, and her work helping making arguments that kids facing deportation deserve asylum under American law. In a Slate Plus Extra, Nathan-Pineau discusses her program's relationship with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and how that might change under the new presidential administration. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus...


Working Classics: How Does an Abortion Provider Work?

In this classic episode of Working, Jacob Brogan talks to Diane Horvath-Cosper, an abortion provider, about her job and the future of abortion post-Trump. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Working Classics: How Does a Director of Presidential Correspondence Work?

In Working: Classics, we're revisiting some of our favorite episodes from past arcs of the show. There's no workplace that looms larger in Washington, D.C. than the White House. Hundreds of employees work within its walls, but most of us don't know much about what really goes on there. We're talking to Fiona Reeves, the Director of Presidential Correspondence. Every day Reeves and her staff sort through thousands of letters and emails that President Obama receives from his constituents....


Working Classics: How Does a Bartender Work?

Chantal Tseng has been working as a bartender for 16 years, and has been designing her own cocktails for almost as long. She now operates out of the Reading Room at Petworth Citizen, a small, book-lined bar within a larger Washington, D.C. restaurant. Each week, she develops a new menu of drinks inspired by her recent reading, building experiences around the work of authors such as Graham Greene, Italo Calvino, and Ryunosuke Akutagawa. And in a Slate Plus extra, Tseng reads Lewis...


Working Animals: How Does a Show Jumping Horse Work?

On the final episode of our season about Working Animals, Jacob Brogan sits down with Shauna Alexander to talk about Skywalker, the show jumping horse. They discuss the lives of sporting horses generally, how these animals train for their jobs, the diversity of equestrian sport and much more. This is Jacob Brogan's last episode as the host of Working. We'll have a month of Jacob's favorite shows from his tenure as host, and then a new host will take the chair after that. From Jacob and...


Working Animals: How Does Fiona the Hippo Work?

As part of our continuing series about animals with jobs Jacob Brogan sits down with Wendy Rice of the Cincinnati Zoo to talk about Fiona the Hippo and how she helps Fiona in her job as ambassador of the Cincinnati Zoo, and all of hippo-kind. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Working: How Does Neil Gaiman Work?

We're taking a break from our season about working animals for a special episode. Jacob Brogan sits down with Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman comics, American Gods, Good Omens, and most recently a book called Norse Mythology. They discuss Gaiman's work routine, creative influences, perfectionism, the weirdness of the Norse gods and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit