Jill Heinerth: Introduction
My name is Jill Heinerth and I’m an exploration diver.
I do a lot of different things in the underwater world. I still teach technical diving, things like cave diving or rebreather diving or very specialized photography and videography programs for people. So there’s the teaching component. I do a lot of writing, so in the last year I released three books on technical aspects of diving. I write for magazines, I shoot photography assignments for magazines, I do independent films, I sometimes work as a cinematographer for other production companies, television productions. Sometimes I’m involved in safety or technical aspects of Hollywood or television projects. I also do work for law firms on investigating accidents that happen to people specifically in rebreathers or other technical aspects of diving.
Blazing a Trail
I think that people breaking out into the job market today are probably going to feel much the same way, that they have to blaze their own trail, create their own path, make their own niche out of a hybrid of experiences because it’s extraordinarily competitive. And so I think that if I wanted to tell someone how to prepare for what I would do, I would say get as much education as you can formally so that you understand how to work hard and how to think critically; then jump on every opportunity you can to apprentice with somebody who knows a little bit more than you do; and then don’t be afraid to leap and volunteer and work hard to learn a new skill set because although you might not think that you’re qualified, that’s how you get your chops, is by jumping in, volunteering, and learning something new.
Requirements of Jill’s Job
I travel a lot. In fact, I’ve been traveling since I left my Canadian home, boy, I guess, more than 20 years ago now. It’s all been part of the adventure of what I do. I’ve been to Antarctica inside of icebergs, I’ve dived inside of lava tubes in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, I’ve been deep under the jungle of Mexico and other Central American countries, I’ve been out to Siberia and dived in caves where we had to kick the ice off the surface before getting in. So I’ve been very fortunate to travel, travel the world.
I would say, conservatively, I probably work 80 hours a week. And I don’t regret any of that. That’s a lot less laborious than working 40 hours a week in a cubicle for somebody else. I’m doing my passion and I put every waking hour into what I do. I get to jump right on my email in the morning, but I’m sitting in my pajamas, relaxing in my home office, doing my work. So, I don’t begrudge the hours that I put into my efforts, they’re all full of joy.