book of job
Okay, CODE WORD. Too tired for a regular blog, so let's do a meme. Other people always have five questions, today will be two.
1. What is the worst job you've ever had?
2. What is the worst job you've ever seen someone else have?
I'll go first:
1. Worst job I ever had was delivering pizzas for Gumby's in Chapel Hill, NC during the summer of 1990. Driving pies is the single most lonely goddamn experience of your entire life, especially in the pre-iPod era when you were sick of all your mix tapes.
Your car ages in dog years, basically exploding by the third month - stops and starts all day long, worse than a Manhattan taxi because you keep on having to turn the engine over. Add in a parking ticket every other day, and buying a new car after 12 months, and it's a job where you actually lose money.
Oh, and that fantasy about some girls in the dorm fucking the pizza guy? Let me tell you this: not that I desired female contact, but the "pizza guy" is barely humanoid to these people. You are in an untouchable caste so far down the ladder of desirability that you stink of don't-touch-me. This job made my stint as a dishwasher in Norfolk, VA seem like a birthday party.
2. a) Worst job I've seen around here? That would have to be roof-tarrer. Or whatever they call themselves. In the mid-summer, when it's already pushing 100 degrees, these guys have to pour 200-degree tar on the tops of Manhattan roofs without any shade. In order to spread it out evenly, they use these long-hair yarn mops, a tool last seen cleaning up barf in the basement of the YMCA.
This lasts all day - unless of course it rains, in which case they have to do it all over again. The tar, by the way, has to be fume-rampant carcinogen, and the workers can bathe themselves in iodine and still not get the smell out of their skin. They stick with this job through the worst weather North America has to offer, and they can't wear shorts or T-shirts for fear of getting scalded. And since it needs to be above 50 degrees for the tar to set, they're out of a job for half the year.
2. b) Coke whore. But I thought that was obvious.
Posted by Ian Williams at June 22, 2005 10:01 PM
1. Oh, CL, you wuz *rich.* $3.35/hr., Yogurt Express, also 1989. I know there'll be other people to trump us, though. And that wasn't my worst job: telemarketing was. Fortunately, it was before star-69, so I could call back and say, "Fuck you!" to the breathtakingly rude people, and then hang up, because I was a wussie, and because I went home crying every other night and passive aggression was the only way I could make myself go back to work. And I needed to, because it was the best-paying job in town. I actually didn't get fired until my supervisor found my call-back envelope (used to keep track of people who weren't home), which was covered in very tidy chalkboard-style repetitions of "I hate this fucking job." I wasn't hostile with telemarketers for at least ten years afterward. But do cut them off right away, or they'll keep going for the "second no," and sometimes even the third; the script requires them to. And it isn't more merciful to listen to part or all of the spiel--it just gives them false hope.
2. Any job that asks you to routinely clean up someone else's effluvium: school janitor, nurse, dogwalker, cat caretaker, housekeeper, bathroom attendant, etc., etc. Makes me gag to even think about.
1. OH GOD, WHERE DO I BEGIN?????? Since graduating law school in 1993, my life has been all about one hideous legal position after another. Prior to law school, my "worst" job was the summer I spent working in a Lorus Watch factory, placing price tags in watch boxes all day/every day. Naive me . . . I thought that boring = bad. No, my dear, a bad job is one in which you are subjected to dehumanizing conditions and spirit-killing bosses all day and you do it because you have to support a family and pay the bills.
I have a tie for worst job. First worst job was my first associate job out of law school. I worked for a plaintiff's attorney (think personal injury, car accidents, etc.) who was pure evil. He expected associates to work 80 hour weeks. He was cruel and unethical and miserable. He was always screaming at everyone, and I am not kidding when I say that someone, whether it be a lawyer, a secretary, a client, was crying EVERY DAY at that job. He loaded us down with work, and I was always paranoid that I was committing malpractice. He was a millionaire many times over, and he treated us all like slave labor. I did not know what I was doing, and there was no "on the job training". It was so stressful that I lost 30 pounds in the 9 months I was there. I hated it so much that I would go into my car and cry every day during lunch hour. When lunch hour was over, I would go back into the office and continue working. Why did I stay, you ask? Because I needed the money! And I was getting married that year! And we had school loans! And the law market was so bad that it took 6 months to find that job! It was degrading and miserable, and when I finally found a new job, the happiest day of my life up to that point was my last day there.
Oh, here is a bit of irony -- that was in 1993-94. I hoped never to see the Man again. Since that time, he married a trophy wife, had two little boys, and guess who's son will be attending my daughter's private school next year. You guessed it! The Horrible Attorney!!! I swear that if I see him at a PTA meeting, I will slash his Mercedes tires in the parking lot and key the car.
Are you still reading? If so, my second worst job was at the Big-Time Baltimore Law Firm in 2000. Again, it was dominated by soul-less money- grubbing partners. This time, we were expected to work 100 hours a week! You ask: Laurie, do you ever learn? Apparently not. I was lured to this firm under false pretenses that they were family-friendly and would respect my wishes for a normal 9-5 work week, given the fact that I had a new baby. Wrong. The only people who succeeded there were men who had stay-at-home wives who could take care of all the family issues, freeing the men to work at the firm 24/7 (and never actually see their families), and single women who were not "burdened" with child care issues and the like. That place really had no heart. When I took time off work to take my beloved beagle to the vet neurologist for that same brain thing that Chopes has, I was ridiculed and the partner demanded that I come to work. I refused. When my co-worker was pregnant and in the middle of an ob/gyn appointment, feet in stirrups on the examining table and all, the partner called her at the doctor's office and demanded to talk to her about an "important question" regarding a case. There were no boundaries and no respect for employees. We were all cogs in the money-making wheel of the firm. Why did I stay? I am not sure. Again, we needed the salary, and I was always too busy and stressed out to search for another job. In the end, I was fired, and it was a relief.
Are you still reading? My answer to number 2. would have to be any kind of hospital work. When Helen was born, and the nurses were helping me push, and there was blood and placenta and poop everywhere and I was crying and wailing and screaming and my husband looked like a deer caught in the headlights, I remember thinking, "I would not want to be here if I was not either the mother, father, or baby." Nice image, huh? Another job I would not want is that of a police officer. Every time I watch "COPS", I think to myself "who needs that kind of stress to bring home a paycheck? Yuck!"
Hey. I kind of feel good about my Insurance Job. The worst that I can say is that it is dull and I am in a cubicle farm. Not so bad! I have come a long way!
Oh, and for the record, I lived off Gumby's pizza at Chapel Hill and I always tipped the delivery folks. Sorry that it was so hideous for you.
But I used to love Gumby's cheese breadsticks, dammit. That and beer gets you your freshman 15 pretty quick.
1) My first thought was my first job, Athletic Attic (retail) for $3/hr back during h.s. & college breaks. Retail is so boring, and you're in this one little store for 8 hours on end. However, our mall was near an army base, and I've always dug miliary guys, so it was great for my social life and thus takes it out of contention.
My corporate cube job is nice and boring, but the pay works for me.
All in all, worst job ever had to be bartending at Bub's for 3 years before and during grad school (mid 90's). There was the fun factor, met some cool people, got to hang out and get paid, and I got to be a masterchamp at foosball. However, the negatives were too many: the regulars that hung out there during the day had some really sad stories and were pretty $@#@$%! up. Some would be there at 10a.m. every day to start drinking and stay all day. Of course, they rarely tipped, too. Some would bring their kids, give them a roll of quarters for video games, get hammered, then drive home with them. There were a lot of alcoholics who would just stay and talk about how great their life was 30 years ago. There were lots of fights to deal with when you have drunk people squeezed in a bar. [One final four, I think vs. Arizona, we had too many people in there, the fire marshall came, and we had to turn all tv's and sound off until a certain # left. Who's going to volunteer to just leave in the 2nd half of a final four game after being there all day??? We had to just push people out. Near death experience!) Also, lots of lightweights puking (which is why that place ALWAYS smelled!) That's when I played the "girl card" and made someone else take care of it. And we'd hire Peanut (anyone remember him?) to do our dirty work. The owner at one time was a very bitter woman who was either supernice or made your time there hell. Some of the other employees did or sold drugs in our walk-in cooler. One of them kept hitting on me and would always say (in response to me having a boyfriend) "its not cheating if you just lay there!" I would smell of beer and smoke at the end of every night. Of course, thanks to UNC football and bball, the pay could be very nice considering (50-80/hr), and it paid for the car my husband still drives, for grad school, and for a downpayment on a condo. Also, I always drank and ate for free pretty much everywhere in town, from Elaine's (gone) down to Hector's. AND, folks from Camp Lejune and Ft. Bragg always came to Chapel Hill for the weekend, did I mention my military fetish!?!?!? BUT, being around the dark side of things so long soured me for a while afterwards, gave me a lack of patience, and now I hate beer! (TG for stoli!).
2)George Bush's proctologist?
Beth, never fear...its great!
1A: A SHOE MODEL: A dated, sexist industry that mostly takes place in hotel rooms. But i loved my shoe modeling agent, morty, a crusty old guy with yellowing 1970's headshots on his decaying Broadway walls
1B: MOVIE EXTRA: In particular, on Ed Burns's "Don't Look Back." There is nothing more demoralizing for an actor. Especially when there are toxic smoke machines involved and you're not yet union-represented
2: Anything done outside in the blisteringly hot city summer heat, like construction
ian kudos for keeping up your blog with a newborn in the house--i'm very impressed
jamie block i remember running into you at kinkos's in the village in like, 1993 or something, and you looked so miserable and said something like "Yep, well, this is where I've ended up," or something oddly definitive for a 20-something to say...
My personal worst: working as a ???? at Wellspring in the Penguins cafe. Involved a large team of people daily not knowing what to do next, having to bus half of the 'self-busing' tables w/o tips, being called over by snotty peremptory customers who demanded to know what was in each item in the hot bar because of their many food allergies, making coffee drinks, refilling the eternally empty ice machine, tidying up the trashed salad bar, preparing eight thousand little plastic cups with butter and 5 different kinds of jam so that customers could pick up the neat little cup from the breakfast bar for their bagel...AAAAAAHHHHHHH...variety, yes; satisfaction, no. Nothing was ever quite done. All of the behatted, aproned Penguins staff constantly asking one another, "Have you [refilled the ice?] [made that coffee drink?] [bused the bar area?] [done jam?] [carried out those orders from the kitchen?]" followed by, "I think [Jon] [Nick] [Kristen] [Sara] is doing it...wait, no, they just went to get ice...I don't know."
General worst I think is collecting money at a toll booth--though I hear those people can get paid quite well. Specific worst (in case he doesn't write about it): my brother's job as a barkeep at Suds-n-Duds in the late 80s. He described the softball team that came in every week after the game TO DRINK AT A LAUNDROMAT--EVERY WEEK--and this one customer who came in every day and drank 90-cent PBRs, paying for each one with a dollar bill. When he'd put away nine of them, he'd have a line of nine dimes he'd received as change sitting on the bar in front of him. Slowly, using all ten fingers, he'd push the line of dimes toward my brother, saying, "And one for the road..." (never tipping Greg so much as one dime).
Worst job I had: 14-15 years old working at the Jumpyard in Charlotte, NC, which is a poor man's Chuck E Cheese. I was a party hostess, making $4.15 (below minimum wage), and told I would make it up in tips. Problem is, no one knows you're supposed to tip party hostesses.
Parties were 45 minutes long, and there was one in the same room each hour, giving me 15 minutes to shoo everyone out, clean up the room, in time for the next party. I was often yelled at for "rushing people out" by angry parents who didn't spring for two hours. As the face they saw, I also got yelled at for the kitchen's mistakes, yelled at for the baker's mistakes, yelled at for scheduling mistakes, and so forth.
They often kept me past legal hours, and when not hosting the parties, I had to supervise the kids in the whole climby part with these ill behaved little monsters who liked to jump on my head in the ball pit and so forth.
Oh yeah, and I hate kids, so that was doomed from the start.
Worst job I've seen... that's a tough one. I'd probably have to go with tarring roofs too. When I was in high school, they were tarring the roof of one of the buildings during school, and the fumes caused me to have headaches, a sore throat, and aching joints. Other students were having similar health problems, and we were all inside! I cannot even imagine what it must be like to be around that toxic crap in the burning heat as a career.
For emotional damage, I'd have to say any job involving the terminal ward in a hospital. YEESH.
I also spent the summer of 1990 delivering pizzas in Chapel Hill -- for Pizza Hut, to make ends meet while I did an unpaid internship at The Independent. Totally trashed my car, but I actually kind of enjoyed the job, and I actually delivered a pizza to Michael Jordan that summer, in some apartment complex on Airport Road. Led to a small item in the Independent's Front Porch section, and that clip proved to be a great conversation piece in later job interviews. So, thanks to Pizza Hut for that.
Worst job: returned mail/collections for a private ambulance company in Portland, OR. I got very familiar with the reverse phone directory, and I also had to phone people to confirm addresses, which invariably led to anger and/or confusion about the fact that their ambulance ride was going to cost them something...or they had to pay for the final ride of a now-deceased relative. On the bright side, I did win a radio in a raffle at the company picnic.
Close second: landscaping in New Jersey, where the term "muggy" must have been coined. How else to describe the summers?
Worst job for someone else: anything in a nursing home; those places pretty much creep me out.
My worst Job is the one I went to College for and got a BSN in, Nursing, Laurie when you talked about your labor, yeah, I would never do OB for just that reason. I thought I would be happy in the ICU, but guess what, it sucks!! I am so scared and stressed over missing one little thing and being sued for it, and I mean I may only get 2 patients and yes to those Med/Surg nurses out there, I did that too, and ICU is much harder, bet so can the other, anyways, I am tired of people treating me like I all I do is wipe their bums and give them pills, My God I actually know some things. But no, families will back you into corner and just drill you for info sometimes and demand to talk to someone at 11:00 at night when nothing has changed, but thier 3rd cousin removed has just gotten in from somewhere and wants to talk to the doctor. No way, your entire family already knows everything, talk to them first maybe. I just hope that if any of you are ever sick, so sick that you have to be the ICU or any part of the hospital, treat all the employees with some respect, because believe me, we rarely get any for the crap we put with