Real People Stories

Great Scot!

UPDATED 05/08/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/08/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Mailman. Undertaker. Insurance agent. Gas jockey. Cop. Seamus McSporran has been all these things and more. But don't get the idea he can't hold a job. In fact, he has trouble refusing one. On the tiny Scottish island of Gigha (pop. 110), where McSporran, 62, has lived all his life—and which he plans on leaving when he retires this year—he has held as many as 16 jobs at a time. "I was often the only person willing or able," he says, "and the list seemed to grow longer and longer."

McSporran got an early start on building his résumé, helping out at the island's post office/general store when he was only 5. When the proprietor retired in 1965, McSporran was there to step in. "Mr. Wilkinson, who owned the shop, had already combined quite a few roles," he says, "so it seemed logical that I would take them all over." It helps that many of McSporran's jobs aren't exactly full-time; in 29 years as special constable, for instance, he has never had to make an arrest. It also helps that his wife, Margaret, 59, pitches in. "If I am called away," he explains, "she is always there to take control of everything else."

Now that Seamus has put the post office/store on the market, the McSporrans, who have two grown children, are looking forward to a well-earned retirement on the mainland. "Sleep," he says, "is my only hobby." Of course, without all those jobs, he'll have time to cultivate another avocation or two...or three...or four....

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