Love your job and “you have arrived”


The Golden Gate Bridge is under attack. Corrosive salt air, roadway contaminants, age, UV rays—all these things are trying to turn the majestic span into a pitted skeleton.

Luckily the bridge has a powerful ally: an elite squad of painters, numbering just a few dozen. These busy operatives scurry up, down, and around the span on a never-ending quest to keep it protected and looking sharp.

The job has its ups and downs. There’s the swinging through the sky, the whale-watching, and the wielding of badass tools reminiscent of alien torture implements. Less nice, there’s a weird kind of marine vertigo and regular exposure to suicides. But Chad Allan sounds like he’d prefer nothing else…

But being a painter also involves sublime beauty—hovering above the fog line, with the towers jutting up like periscopes on a hidden airship, or spying dolphins, orcas, and the occasional whale gliding silently below. For Allan, much of the pleasure comes from the work itself, and the pride of maintaining one of the most renowned bridges in the world.

“To be a Golden Gate Bridge painter,” he says, “you have arrived.”

Don’t miss John Metcalfe’s full story and interview of Chad Allan: The Fascinating, Never-ending Job of Painting the Golden Gate Bridge


  • Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels.
  • Photo: – Gateway to the World – David S. Boyer, California, 1955. An intrepid workman toils at the Sisyphean task of keeping the Golden Gate Bridge covered in a protective coat of orange paint. The National Geographic Society.


  1. Takes ‘loving your job’ to new heights…sorry, it’s early…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great story, like the picture shows, “The Dream Team”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have traveled across the GG Bridge thousands of times, and always wondered what it would be like to be up there, working, painting, watching the sway of the bridge as the whales waved. Lovely, lovely explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    What a view …. every day!!


  5. Thanks. Sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sheesh! I hope he’s got more of a harness on than that rope around his ankle. If he fell he’d be dangling by one foot for a while before someone could get him down. Not good because that beautiful view would then be upside down.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Whoa, sounds pretty dangerous – especially the vertigo.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. they are modern cowboys

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “regular exposure to suicides.” I can imagine the painters witnessing a jump from their positions high above, too far away to make a difference, too close to forget.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. All work is worthy. It provides a purpose for the person doing it, and instills in that person a sense of worth. A job should not be expected to give value to the person. It is the person who gives value to the job.
    Cleaning a toilet can be a noble task, provided it is cleaned by an noble person.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love your life love your job.

    Liked by 1 person

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