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Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel television show “Dirty Jobs” was on the cover of Fast Company in February of 2008 and it was an article that stays with me. For the uninitiated, Dirty Jobs features exactly what its title implies: Rowe heads into sewers, works particularly icky farming jobs, rescues wildlife, crawls into unimaginable holes, all to document the jobs we think no one in his or her right mind would enjoy doing.

In fact, in his five steady years on this rewardingly dirty job, Rowe has discovered he has a passion for showcasing these way-behind-and-sometimes- underneath-the-scenes men and women and the often intense pride they take in their accomplishments. Author Ellen McGirt wrote that Rowe’s “real curiosity about and respect for his subjects telegraphs a powerful message: There’s dignity in hard work, expertise in unexpected places, and deep satisfaction in tackling and finishing a tough job.”

Crowdsourcing is a big deal these days, with people using their online social networks to gather information and even collect start-up capital. With the labor pool overflowing due to the unemployment rate, it’s more difficult and time-consuming to recruit during the recession because there are far too many candidates, unqualified candidates may be spamming their applications and your own HR department may be understaffed. With all of those things taken into consideration, could crowdsourcing your hiring process make things easier?

Virtual Instruments of San Jose, Calif., says this approach has worked for it so far. The provider of IT infrastructure optimization platforms has been coping with substantial growth over the last year or so – so much growth, in fact, that it has had difficulty keeping up. Rather than turn the hiring process over to an external recruiting firm or taxing its HR department, CEO John Thompson explains in our Spring issue that the company has instituted an internal referral program.

Have you ever heard of the town of Ira, Vt? I hadn’t – until I read a story about its town treasurer who had embezzled money. The town’s entire annual budget is only $212,000. Only 447 people live there. It doesn’t even have a post office or a school.

But Don Hewitt wrote himself checks from funds for the cemetery. He noted his and others’ property taxes as having been paid and then kept the money. Things like that add up: Over a period of 32 years, Hewitt allegedly pocketed more than $400,000.

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