Working for a Living

Much of my writing comes from the huge variety of jobs I’ve held in my lifetime up to this point.

My job history began at the tender age of 5 when my mother started her own business. As a child, I was paid to clear snow from sidewalks and driveways in the winter and mowing yards in the summer. I never received an allowance from my parents. They thought feeding, clothing, and sheltering me was enough payment for chores.

By the time I was thirteen, I had moved on to babysitting. I never got paid for babysitting my own sister since that fell in line with chores, but I did get paid for babysitting other people’s children.

When I was fifteen, I got a job washing dishes at my best friend’s grandmother’s restaurant. It was hard work but I got paid regularly.

I have also had the following jobs along the way in no particular order:

Busser, waitress, preschool teacher, US census employee, librarian, tax preparer, office manager, controller, executive administrator, accountant, author, mother, wife, secretary, accounts payable clerk, fraud accountant, accounts payable supervisor, purchaser, asset manager, auditor, bookkeeper, graphic artist, editor, tutor, apartment manager, cashier, Avon rep, answering service operator, fast food crew member, sandwich artist, credit counselor, and public notary.

I’m sure there were more titles along the way, but you get the idea. I’ve worked hard my whole life, often working two jobs at a time. It gets on my nerves to hear people say what jobs they refuse to do like they are too good to flip burgers or stand at a drive through window. There are always worse jobs out there.

So what’s the worst job you ever had?


83 Comments on “Working for a Living”

  1. Vicki says:

    When I was sixteen a girlfriend of mine talked me into working as a telephone solicitor. I had to read from a script. It was awful! It took only seconds for people to slam the phone on me, or sometimes they would call me horrible names.
    The office manager was a total creep. He would pace back and forth behind us telling us to dial the phones faster. I’m sure he’s done time for running a child pornography ring. Last I heard he had been paroled and is now living in Thailand!!!
    That job only lasted two weeks….

    The next runner up would be a two week job as a gift wrapper for a department store. I was so bad at making bows they fired me!

    • OK, I can’t imagine you being a telephone solicitor. I’m surprised you lasted 2 weeks! You’re just too nice to have that kind of job.

      As for the gift wrapping, I would actually thing that as creative and artistic as you are that it would have been an excellent job for you!

      • Vicki says:

        LOL, that’s why I had to quit…I went home crying everynight! As for the bows…gosh, I was all thumbs!
        Thank you for your sweet compliment hun…right back at ya! Hugs!

    • I don’t feel so bad now. I lasted three weeks as a telephone solicitor. The worst job I ever had though was that as a package sorter. It wasn’t sorting packages that was bad, it was the company I worked for. Working 6-7 hours without a break in a building with no air-conditioning or heat. The bathrooms were trashed and rarely maintained. The management was borderline-abusive in the way they yelled at employees. The company went under soon after I left.

    • zeusiswatching says:

      Telefundraiser for a major political party. I needed a paying job badly, the place was hiring. I ended up getting a real job with these guys after about 18 months, but until that real job came along it was hard begging for $25 donations and getting screamed at by dozens of old people.

  2. Ivan says:

    For a sec I thought I was at Crabby’s Old Fart blog!:P

    The worst job I remember having was in a production line at Bosch. Doing the same repetitive move for 8 or sometimes 12 hours straight was so inhuman. I felt like I was a robot.

    Ivan

    • I love Don! I agree with him on almost everthing. I’m a crabby young fart.

      That job would make me crazy. I swear, if I have to stand or sit still for too long, my brain will short out!

  3. Cutting Meat in a Butcher Shop. Cutting some foreign meat that had a huge clump of rat hair in it. Lasted two weeks.

    Did you get paid for your job as a “wife”?

  4. Being an ex-physician (note I can do ‘american english if required) I saw some fairly gruesome sights which I will not inflict on good readers over their breakfast / coffe break / luncheon / afternoon tea/ evening meal/ nightcap break.

    BUT, if you would care to read about old memories rekindled by our special senses, may I distract you to;

    http://hambocentral.blogspot.com/2009/04/power-of-special-senses.html#comments

    dave

  5. The worst job I ever had was interning as a drug mule for Pablo. It was during his younger days and he was a fiery boss. It was a stressful position because I had so much responsibility and really didn’t want to let anyone down. But I made it through and ended up staying with the company until my Mr. Escobar’s tragic death. It was either that or the Pa turnpike gig… http://zodiblog.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/general-public-disgrace/

    Great blog topic Claire!

  6. tannerleah says:

    It would seem you have had a bit of a challenge holding down a steady job. How do you even start to fit all of that on a resume?

    The worst job I ever had was being a jockey. Standing on some guys front lawn holding a lantern, with really tight pants on, sucked. Sure, I looked good but the pay just wasn’t right.

    • TL, most of the time, I’ve worked two jobs or I’ve been promoted through several positions within one company. Those are the positions I’ve held over 20 years, so it isn’t that bad.

      A jockey? You mean a glorified yard gnome don’t you?

  7. George says:

    I guess I’m one of those picky people you’re talking about.🙂 None of the jobs I’ve held have been overly terrible. I’ve worked as a bagger, managed video stores and seafood restaurants, and worked as a graphic artist for many years.

    I suppose the most trying job was the video store management one. I was in control of nothing, but responsible for everything. I was more of a “hired scapegoat”, so that became mega-stressful.

  8. yorksnbeans says:

    I think my worse job was during one college summer break. I worked the second shift, something like 5pm – 11pm at a hosiery mill. My dad got me the job because he knew the owner. I hated it. It was dark and dreary and repetitive. I think I had to box socks or something like that. At least another girl I knew from high school worked along with me.

    This was a great post Claire! Now, I have to stop and think about all the different jobs I have done in my life. My parents raised me very similar to yours. No allowance, just a nice life that required doing some chores to make me understand that you have to work to earn or receive things and not just expect them.

    • Bean, You’re so good at picking up on the hidden messages. Yes, I grew up working for everything I wanted and I still do. I never expect anything to be handed to me, but so many people do.

  9. spikeace says:

    Going by the responses, theere is no bad job – only bad supervisors… Its true!

  10. cupofmondays says:

    I think the one that comes to mind was being a maid at age 14 which lasted almost a week. More of a sanitary reason. Since I couldn’t clean up vomit or used personal products, which were usually shoved under the pillows and not just condoms either.

    • EEeeewwwwwww. No 14 year old needs to know or see that. Hell, no 40 year old needs to know or see that. I’m with you on that one. That’s a crappy job. I still can’t clean up vomit. My husband has to do it for me. I don’t do well with blood either, but I will hug and kiss them and make it all better. As long as they aren’t vomiting or smelling like vomit.

  11. madrozie says:

    Pretty cool post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts.

    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

  12. The worst job I ever had was “sexpert.”

    I obtained it after a rigorous two-week online course. They glossed over a lot of information, most of which would have warned me away. Sure, I left with my inkjetted diploma and visions of refereeing orgies dancing in my head, but soon after discovered it was all “parallel parking” and “golden showers.”

    In addition to having to learn German to generate any sort of income, I was subjected to many, many questions about what items would fit in where without a late-night, sobering trip to the ER. I tried to hand out some advice like, “That’s not a good idea,” and “Good lord, if you attempt to show me that again, I’ll take out a restraining order,” but most people were too busy harassing farm animals or claiming to be Wiccan to hear a word I said.

    Of course, this all says nothing about the tax headaches of being self-employed…

  13. G says:

    Worst job I ever had was the week I spent working in a seafood restaurant.

    I don’t like handling food for other people to begin with, and against my better judgement, I took this job.

    Second worst was working at Kids R Us for a month. That was a stupidity on my part as well, considering they only gave me 8 hours a week and all did was make the area look presentable.

  14. I’m currently working at my first ever paid job (excluding the school managed work experiences)… I work at a shop that sells bags, scarves, piercings and other stuff. I simply sit at the counter and take money from people and give them their due change. And when things are quiet, I sit, eat, read and day-dream.

    … And i get paid for all that. I love it.😀

  15. duncanr says:

    I never liked the taste of meat as a child and found it almost impossible to swallow any put in my mouth. Fortunately, we always had dogs in the house who were willing accomplices in concealing from my parents that I had not eaten the meat put down in front of me.

    I was also uncomfortable with the idea that those pretty lambs in the field or those cows and pigs might one day end up on my dinner plate. As a consequence I kinda drifted into being a vegetarian.

    You can probably guess where this is leading !!!

    The worst job I ever had (and I’ve had a lot of jobs) was working for one of my uncles. I was in my late teens and had walked out of one job because I was bored. He heard I was looking for work and offered me a job in his shop. Only problem – it was a butcher’s shop !!!

    I wasn’t too keen on the idea but I needed the money – and I had a crush on my cousin Vivian who worked in the shop.😳 So I dithered for a bit then said I’d give it a go.

    It was bloody awful. I hated it. The sight and smell of blood, and handling those dead animals and parts thereof just turned my stomach. Not even the lure of getting into Viv’s knickers was enough to make we stay. I left after 1.1/2 days – more determined than ever to follow a vegetarian diet!!!

  16. Bill Reed says:

    I have worked many different kinds of jobs, but every time I try to decide that one was the worst some good memory comes forward except, that is, one. it was my first job and I really can’t remember anything good about. I was sixteen and I was working in a Kentucky Fried Chicken. It seemed every one, but me, hung out together. Just crappy work!

    • OH yes, those wonderful teenage jobs. I think I’ve worked in almost every fast food restaurant there is. I never lasted long. I’d find another job right away, but those were easy jobs to get when I was young.

  17. BTW, Rosie the lass in the blogpost piccy is a fine looking woman!

  18. Donald Mills says:

    An interesting career you’ve had there Claire. Well done.

    In my view, there’s no such thing as a bad job. Just bad attitudes.

    All the best

    Don

  19. Bob Trusty says:

    Wowsers! what a lot of jobs! and so varied as well!

    It all leads to the wonderful person that you are claire, so no matter how good or bad they were, they make the great person of you now!

    As for what my worst job? i have only been an actor! But i dont think ive really had a worst job in acting as all of them create my career.

    But i do love the picture of Rosie The Riveter!

    Keep at it, Claire!

    Bob

    • Hello there young Bob! I think it would be wonderful if Acting is the only career you ever have and it makes you wealthy and famous.

      As for my career history, I genuinely appreciate your kind words. I tend to be a “jack of all trades” and I don’t do well tied into one thing for a long time. I get bored so I have to find a lot of things to do.

  20. Gryphon says:

    I was a Corrections Officer in a city jail when I was 22. That was the worst.

    BTW, you said you were once a “controller.” I don’t think that counts. Isn’t being a controller genetic based on gender identity? 😉

  21. Actually, the singing telegram deliverer was not the worst. In the early 80s, I quit a job once after a day and a half – walked out at lunch and didn’t go back. The supervisor tracked me down at my house to get me to return the badge, which scared me even more.

    I was training to be a telephone operator; ironic now that I work in a call center, although I don’t take the calls.

    • I worked as a telephone operator at an answering service. That was interesting and it was pre-computer. I’m thinking that jobs a lot easier now. The supervisor tracking you down at home is scary. What job was that?

  22. Selling feathers for ink wells or “Glory Hole Technician” at the ‘Rusty Nail Tavern’ off of old highway 54, behind the church.

  23. nursemyra says:

    Having to cook for two miniature schnauzers….. that was a totally weird job. and I had to sleep with them too in case they got lonely.

    One of my first posts was about being a dog nanny for an obscenely wealthy German woman. I had to make breakfast for her and the dogs. They ate Osso Bucco and she had Bloody Marys

  24. Pat Bertram says:

    As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as a good job. A job is a job. If it’s fun, then it’s not a job — it’s fun. They key (which I have yet to master) is to get paid for having fun.

  25. I don’t see candle stick maker on your list?? I was CEO of an international Fortune 500 chemical company once…that was a weird job.

    • FJ…

      …I

      Well

      Can I borrow some money?

      I want to start making candlesticks.

      And while I’m doing that, you can tell me why you’re no longer the CEO of an international fortune 500 chemical company.

  26. Me thinks CC had better get back to this post before it suffers the same fate as Sickdays; the reader’s revolt!

  27. frigginloon says:

    I was a nanny in England. Blahahahahahaaha. It was Christmas and I had just arrived in London from living in Japan for 2 years and someone suggested I should put my name down on a nanny registry. I didn’t want to be a friggin nanny! So anywho the phone rang and this posh voice asked me if I was interested in looking after three kids. I said not really (and she laughed). She then asked if I had any experience looking after children and I said Nah (and she laughed again).She then asked if I cooked (after I stopped laughing, she laughed). I was thinking it was all going to plan and she would realize I was a Friggin Loon and hang up but ooooh no, she then says you sound like fun, you’ve got the job.Needless to say, I spent a week getting pissed, never saw the children once and spent most of my time socializing with her guests. I even got her mother to do the dishes after she saw how pathetic I was at doing them.🙂 And you want to know the funny part? After my time was up with her, one of her guests asked if I could look after their kids blahhahahahaa I said nah!

  28. Lynn says:

    wow, you’ve had a lof of jobs claire…i’ve had only 3 real jobs and i liked the all equally. my favorite job was raising my son…that was cool! another job i had was very rewarding as well. i teach elderly and disabled folks (in their homes) how to use the computer via adaptive technology. it did not pay well monetarily but i was overpaid in appreciation…. usually i walked away with home made dishtowels and cookies. if i did a great job i walked out with some expired frozen cheeses….(smile) …wouldn’t trade my work experience for anything though. thank goodness my husband makes enough money for the both of us.

    • Lynn, Your experiences are much more rewarding than mine. I work for a paycheck and very often is is not rewarding at all.

      I’ve been working constantly for over 20 years and a lot of the time I had two jobs. I also tend to get promoted quickly and move up. For example, I’ve worked at my current employer for 4 years, but I’ve had about 5 jobs because I keep getting promoted and new duties. I just wish the pay would increase as fast as my duties do!

  29. mgciis says:

    school answering machine is a great concept..wow its great..but i think here in India it will not be realistic …i think so…surf http://www.gethiredhelp.com/ to know about the telephone answering service.


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