Hot job: Ice sculptor, Cold job: Welder
As much of the nation broils, here are some jobs to envy - and others to shun.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The heat wave baking much of the country this week might make you stop for a minute and think about your job.
You might wish, for example, that you could switch places with the ice-cream man. Or maybe you're thankful your job isn't smelting steel, or working in front of those pizza ovens.
Given the current weather, CNNMoney.com took a look at some cool jobs - and some hot ones, though those may only seem appealing if you're already looking ahead to next winter's first blizzard.
Ice sculptor. During a scorching heat wave, you may wish you could work in a freezer to stay cool.
Janson Iwakami, owner of Amazing Ice in Renton, Wash., does exactly that when he creates his ice sculptures for area businesses and parties. Even if it's warm outside, when he's sculpting he dresses like he's going skiing, complete with parka and gloves. Then, when it comes time to transport his creations, he puts them in insulated boxes so they don't melt.
If you don't see yourself becoming an ice artist, just attending a party that features one of Iwakami's sculptures could be a nice way to stay chilled. For special events, Amazing Ice offers "full-size ice bars" that can weigh up to 1,500 pounds, allowing the bartender to serve drinks straight off the ice. Refreshing, no?
Mr. Softee. When people are practically melting on the streets, what better job than to sell them ice cream?
Peter, the owner of the ice cream truck parked at 57th Street and Broadway in midtown Manhattan, enjoys this enviable work. Although he needs to keep one window open to serve customers, his air-conditioned truck is a comfortable spot for dishing out cones.
"If [the truck] wasn't air conditioned, I wouldn't work," said Peter, who declined to give his last name to this reporter.
He takes his truck to Manhattan around 11:30 a.m. each day, then at night heads over to Queens where he drives up and down local streets playing the classic Mr. Softee jingle to lure ice-cream seekers.
The hot weather can be a blessing for a seasonal business like his (he sells from March to October). After paying a royalty to the company, he gets to keep a cool 25 percent of the profits from ice-cream sales.
Researcher in the Arctic. When the thermometer reads 105, being on a glacier may seem inviting.
Scientists who go into the field to study climate change and other arctic issues may work when temperatures are as low as 50 degrees below zero, says Marie Gilbert, a spokeswoman at the University of Alaska, which sponsors some of these scientific expeditions.
In the winter, researchers layer on synthetic underwear, clothing made of down or synthetic down, and for those who can afford it, musk-ox wool. Even when conditions are harshest, though, she says researchers stay warm inside their insulated tents with a small arctic oven and a good sleeping bag.
In the summer, researchers wear shorts, T-shirts, and bunny boots (described by Gilbert as resembling shoes worn by Ronald McDonald). But staying in touch isn't easy when you're in remote regions of Alaska: Cellphone service there is spotty at best, and researchers might not be heard from for months at a time.
Kebab vendor. Hani Mahmoud sells pretzels, refreshments, and shish kebabs on Central Park South in New York City's Columbus Circle.
On Wednesday, when it was a sweltering 103 degrees outside, Mahmoud was standing over his cart's steaming hot grill - with his only apparent relief from the heat a Slushee he was drinking.
"I don't like it when it's hot," he said. "It's not good."
But despite the heat, his bigger concern seemed to be that he wasn't getting enough customers. Summer is when he makes most of his sales, particularly on 75- to 80-degree days, and when it's too hot, rainy or - in wintertime, snowy or icy - he worries if he'll make enough to pay his rent.
Welder. Complaining that it's 110 degrees in the shade? Try being a welder - they often have to get as close as three inches away from flames that can be more than 2,900 degrees Celsius.
But even though it can get steamy out there, welders need to wear jackets with long sleeves made with fire-resistant cloth, so they don't get burned if a stray spark hits their skin, says Dennis Williams of Weiler Welding, which sells supplies to welders in the Dayton, Ohio, area.
"Everyone's got a fan," says Michael Gruenthaner, who owns Fred's Welding in Buffalo, N.Y., where it hit 90 degrees yesterday. "We just had a safety meeting this morning to make sure that all of our guys are aware of the risk of heatstroke and such. If you need a break, you take a break.... If you get lightheaded, you take a break."
Firefighter. Asked how firefighters stay cool in this weather, William Mutter Jr., a firefighter in Delmar, Del., explained: "You don't."
They have to wear heavy protective gear, and between that and the heat, the job becomes more exhausting and requires more manpower.
At the Delmar Volunteer Fire Department, where Mutter works, firefighters usually wear special suits that are lighter than more traditional gear - and make the work somewhat cooler. On the other hand, each of them needs to carry additional air packs so they can breathe when fighting a blaze.
"Usually we take two bottles and would be fine," said Mutter. "Now, we can barely get through one bottle before needing to take a rest."
Delmar firefighters also carry small fans that they pour ice cold water into to spritz on their faces. They carry coolers with beverages like Gatorade and water.
And when they can, the firefighters head to the fire station's backyard, where they have a hose hooked up to a huge fan that sprays water - which they run through from time to time during the day, just like when they were kids.
Keisha Lamothe contributed to this report