Your Worst Job Ever

Continuing in the spirit of Devil Bosses and Devil Employees, let's hear about the worst job you ever had or the craziest thing a boss ever asked you to do.

My worst job: I spent one entire summer in college alone in a small room with a huge mound of black charred documents and a copier machine. There had been a fire in one of the biology labs and my job was to photocopy what was left of the crispy remains in the hopes that some of the research could be salvaged. By the end I'd turned the pile into several neat stacks of white paper. I was allowed a small radio and 30 minutes to eat lunch. The longest summer of my life.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  July 28, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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When my husband was 16, he got a job working at a restauarant. Every night at closing, he had to go into the dumpster to 'stomp down' the trash so that they could fit more trash into it.

Posted by: wls | July 28, 2006 8:23 AM

My first job was in a long term care facility. I worked in what was then called the Respiratory Therapy department. My job was to wash out the glass bottles they used to suction secretions - by hand. Back in 1972 I made $100 per week - alot of money back then.

Posted by: Silver Spring | July 28, 2006 8:27 AM

My worst job ever was at a summer internship at the Small Business Administration in DC. I was excited to work for the government - thinking I was going to be doing something important - but they had nothing for me to do. As a matter of fact, very few people were actually working - most were sitting around talking all day and taking smoking breaks. When I complained to my dad he said "Our Federal Tax dollars at work!"

Posted by: cmac | July 28, 2006 8:42 AM

i paid my way through college by being a manager at a fast food place. it really wasn't that bad, except for those customers who treat fast food workers like dirt. well, as training for management, we had to spend a saturday taking apart a broiler, cleaning it, and putting it back together. i spent 9 hours scrubbing grease off of metal. by the end, i had grease head to toe. looking back on it now, though, i don't regret the job because it got me through college, and now i know i can do absolutely anything.

Posted by: katie | July 28, 2006 8:48 AM

WLS, I "stomp down the trash" at our house several times a week. My wife throws a pizza box and a empty milk carton in the trash then tells me its full.

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 28, 2006 8:55 AM

I worked at a college restaurant as a cook for a few months...let's just say that the health inspector would not have been too pleased. I was the only person in the kitchen that wore a hat or hairnet, the only one that wore pants (everyone else wore shorts), the only one that seemed to wash my hands on a regular basis...and this was all because I thought that's what you were supposed to do at a restaurant. One time, we got a new refrigerator/prep station, and when we moved the old one out, an army of cockroaches fled from underneath. Another time I came in to find raccoon tracks made in grease all over the kitchen...never did find that raccoon...

Posted by: burghpunk | July 28, 2006 8:58 AM

Back when I was in the Foreign Service, we seriously had a White HOuse advance person come to the embassy and suggest that the current president should visit Chernobyl and make a speech. (I guess it was an anniversary -- so many years since the exposion.) What he didn't seem to get was that while he and the pres would be spending at most 1.5 hours in Chernobyl, the embassy people who planned the event could easily be logging several days there -- each. At that point, my wife and I were trying to get pregnant, and she just about went through the roof when she heard they were planning on sending people of childbearing age to Chernobyl. Luckily, someone talked him out of the event -- but that for me was the last straw. There are some things I'll do for my country, but spending several days in a nuclear disaster area and risking future generations isni't one of them.

Posted by: Here's One | July 28, 2006 8:58 AM

I work in the food stands at Capital Centre for a summer. You'd get a call to come in, stand in a crowd, then management would decide how many of us would get to work that night. The Union finally fixed that one, Go Teamsters! My fellow employees were a mix of college students, people with other jobs looking for extra money, and folks who seriously could be employed any where else. I worked with high people and marginally functional folks who didn't seem to realize that you can't suck on ice then drop it in someone's drink. Management, though, was the real problem. Popcorn was pops weeks and weeks ahead and kept in vacuum packed bales in a storage room. Boy, did the mice like getting into those. We couldn't throw out a bale regardless. You'd have to pour the popcorn into the "popping machine" (a heat lamp, really) and shake it really hard so that the mouse turds would fall through the grate in the bottom. Hotdogs that didn't sell would be held (in their bun, in those silver bags) night after night until they DID sell. Some nights, we'd have to wipe green and white fuzz off the weiners and rewrap them. The worst, though, was the night of a Judas Priest concert. There was a lightning storm and power went out in half the concession stands. My manager left me in a dark stand with the grating over the front sales area down all but a couple of inches with a cash box with several thousand dollars in it. Oh, and he handed me a broom with which to "guard" the cash. As I sat there in the dark, I watched through the space under the grating as man was selling packets of drugs. I was terrified. Finally, my manager came back and insisted that I wrap up the thousands of dollars and shove it down my pants. I had to walk through the crowded concourse and deliver the money to the office. Oh, I got about $20-$30 per night for this, depending on how long the event went. There was also the boxing event I worked one of those pushcart beer stands and about every third keg was bad and I thought the angry men "returning" the beer were going to take a swing at me. I quit because they wanted me to work until 2am the night before I had an 8am Chemistry final. Bad, bad, bad job.

Posted by: Terry | July 28, 2006 9:00 AM

Oops, typo. In my item above, I meant to say that some of my fellow workers could NOT have been employed anywhere else. Sorry.

Posted by: Terry | July 28, 2006 9:04 AM

I worked as a supervisory paralegal in a gigantic law firm downtown. When they hired me, they assured me that they were very "family friendly." However, after I started working there, I realized that it was "family friendly" in the sense that all the attorneys had stay-at-home wives to take care of the children and house-holds. Yeah, and they were paid enough to afford hired-help to boot.

I was a single mother of a toddler, and was under tremendous pressure. I stuck it out for almost a year, but had to quit when my body was developing chronic stress symptoms - TMJ, heart palpitations, etc. I left the firm with bags under my eyes, a mangled jaw and a huge chip on my shoulder.

The debate between Leslie and Hirschman got me thinking about how my own predicament played out. Hirschman was blaming the women for staying home and thereby enabling the husbands to work long hours, which ups the ante and expectations for everyone else in the work-place.

Many jobs are still structured that way. Of course it's blind and simplistic to blame SAHM's. But single working moms who are educated and professional - but not paid enough to afford outside help - are getting thrown under the free-market bus.

Posted by: pinkcollarmom | July 28, 2006 9:06 AM

One of my summer jobs in high school was as a telemarketer, selling accidental death insurance (!). Not only was the work itself miserable and soul-sucking (responses ranging from rejection to outright foul-mouthed hostility -- for four or eight hours straight), it was also an incredibly depressing atmosphere. In my area, telemarketing was just about the highest-paying job you could get if you had no high school diploma and no other job training, so in addition to the kids like me earning summer cash there were also people who were doing this as a career because it was the best way to support their families. Most of the employees hated it there, because of the work and the very demeaning management practices. Turnover was incredible -- by the time I left to go back to school I was the only person left from my training class. The only reason I stayed as long as I did was because my mom had told me I would hate it and quit within a week. Well, them's fightin' words!

They also had a really fascist dress code, which I found ridiculous, but that didn't even rank in the top 5 reasons I hated this job. This was the job that really hit home for me that I needed to go to college -- the pizza joint and fast-food jobs I held were heaven by comparison!

Posted by: Aimily | July 28, 2006 9:10 AM

I was working for a small nanotechnology SBIR (small business innovation research) company. I won't even get into the company's questionable ethics on billing the SBIR contracts or handling patents. But here is the incident that resulted in a walkout.

My mother has MS (chronic stage) and my father was put into the hospital, so I had to fly out of state to take care of my mother. The company only had 50 people so FMLA did not apply and no company policy existed on emergency leave/vacation. The company had to submit proposals for upcoming SBIR awards. I had finished entering all the budgets for the proposals. The only remaining tasks were for the scientists to upload their parts and submit them. All the scientist were able to do it on their own except one. She insisted that I help her from out of state, which I was on my vacation time (not paid). But I agreed to help her because she was not very bright - despite the PhD. She waited until the very last 15 minutes to send me email to *click the submit button* -she managed to upload it. But since I was on the West Coast, I did not get the email in time to click the submit button and her proposal was not submitted. When I returned, the president of the company was furious and asked me to apologize to her for the failed submission and FOR "WASTING HER TIME". Hmm, wasting her time?! I was working while using my *vacation* time, which was spent not lounging on a beach but taking care of someone very ill. In the end, all she had to do was click the submit button, which was easier than sending me email to do it.

It was the only job I ever quit without giving notice. I just walked out.

Posted by: my worst job ever | July 28, 2006 9:10 AM

My worst job ever was at an Ice Cream factory in Laurel MD. My first day I was told to stand by the popsicle stick machine and make sure the sticks made it into the popsicle molds, and load the sticks into the machine that injected them into the molds. I was also told I could only take a break when someone came to relieve me, which being the new guy, no one knew to relieve me until my lunch time (which by the way was 20 minutes) had passed. The superviser, a small loud Philipino lady was bitter and short with everyone, said it was my fault and I should make friends so I could get a break! I worked my shift with no break and went home tired and hungry. The next day, I was assigned to the box sealing area, where I would manually apply glue to the full boxes of ice cream sandwiches. During this time as I was gluing away, my superviser infomed me I would not be paid for the 20 minutes I missed yesterday because it was my "mistake" not to make friends to relieve me, so she would help me out. The shift started at 6:30 am, when my relief came at 12:40, I went to the prking lot, got in my car, and never went back.

Posted by: Easy ep | July 28, 2006 9:34 AM

Summer job in college: Leech sorter. I'd pull leeches off fish heads and sort into three piles - medium, large, jumbo.

The pay was OK, though...

Posted by: Bob L. | July 28, 2006 9:37 AM

I'm not going to recount my jobs where the smells were tough to take.

But in my high school and early college years I had a few skilled but working-class jobs. Growing up in a socially liberal household, it was really taxing on me when I was surrounded by men who spoke of women in a demeaning fashion all day and every day. It never ever let up, and obviously as the young (and much smaller guy), I wasn't in any place to say anything.

Posted by: Boffo | July 28, 2006 9:37 AM

I used to live in West Philly and didn't have a job, per se, but my landlord, in exchange for rent, had me varnish old pieces of found floorboard and other scraps of wood in the basement of a house he owned down the street. There was one window and a fan, but I had to leave every ten minutes or so in order to avoid passing out from the heat and the fumes.

Posted by: Obu Pilababu | July 28, 2006 9:37 AM

Wow, mine pales in comparison to everyone else's! I think Terry's takes the cake. My worst job was a summer internship with a stipend that I found from a flyer posted in my department at college. I was carless and it was out of the president's house which was about a 10-15 minute walk for me. By the time I got home from the semester though, they'd moved the office (no one told me anything) about 15 miles away . . . I had to ride with the president every day in his little 5-speed Miata (that man loved to drive it hard), with his huge shaggy dog in the back, playing horrible Zig Zigler sales-motivation tapes, working from like 8-8:30 am to whenever he was going to go home. (5:30? 6:30? It was near impossible to make plans for the evening) The people I worked with were nice enough (I got introduced to Van Morrison and Michelle Shocked there), and the workload wasn't too bad -- trolling the Internet for facts to put in a database, learning how to use page-layout software, some copyediting. But the days were long and pretty thankless, and my boss was less than kind, definitely insensitive. I've never been a seafood person, and when he hosted an end-of-summer party at his house that I dragged my boyfriend to, there was a whole lobster on everyone's plate (all 20 of them); I was so mortified. And they wouldn't give me the stipend til the end -- $1000 for 10 rough weeks. Needless to say I gave them negative comments in my "exit interview" which totally puzzled them. And yet, I'm the schmo wage slave now, and my former boss is now a famous hotshot marketing guru. :(

Posted by: NY lurker | July 28, 2006 9:38 AM

I worked in the the "cafe" located in the front of a Bigbox-Mart during the summer before I started college. There were maggots in the (always open) condiment jars that our manager would not allow us to throw out, lest we be wasteful. The meat used on the subs was old and of such poor quality that I had to hold my breath while making subs to avoid the stench. There were ants all through the Icee machine. Once an open box of corndogs fell on the sticky floor, and the manager had us pick them up off the floor and put them back in the freezer. And of course, most people didn't wear gloves or wash their hands.

I apologize to anyone I served who got food poisoning...

Posted by: Maggot-Mart | July 28, 2006 9:40 AM

I was a Lifeguard in College, and on my first day my boss informed me that part of the job was cleaning the deep end. This entailed scowering the bottom of the 16 foot diving well by hand for hair balls. (clumps of hair the size of a soft ball that are matted together with dead skin and oils making an almost solid mass) I would float a kick board into the well and go dive bombing for the black clumps, gather them all together and toss.

Sooooo gross!

Posted by: LifeGuard | July 28, 2006 9:42 AM

Wow! It's nowhere close to lunch time and I've lost all inclination to eat! I think I now understand my mom's desire to live in a farming community where she can see all of her food from field to table.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | July 28, 2006 9:45 AM

Two jobs:
The first, a part time job at a very small non-profit, where the manager would constantly remind me and everyone else that he was a "one man" operation. It wasn't too bad, except he would walk around muttering about needing to get himself a girlfriend. He smoked constantly. He also insisted on editing my nicely written thank you letters to add his gramatically incorrect trash.

I then took a full time job at another non-profit (non-profit = no money, bad pay). Although the organization was well respected, the morale inside was so poor, hardly anyone stayed longer than a year. We were expected to do much more than our job description, but at review time, were told we were lowly office workers, not important to the organization. My supervisor once told me I was not in the consideration for one promotion, as it entailed long hours, and I was doing the "mommy thing". When I finally submitted my resignation, I was called a "b@#$%"

Respect is one element that is not negotionable.

Posted by: Red | July 28, 2006 9:46 AM

Is there a prize for worst job?

One summer during my college years, I took a job at a methadone clinic. I believe the official title was "Urine Drop Monitor". By law, someone had to observe all of the patients at the clinic as they provided their weekly urine sample to prove that they were taking only their prescribed medication.
I got to stand in the powder-room sized bathroom with each female patient to insure that no samples were being smuggled in from another (cleaner) source.

By the end of the summer, I had learned that there are a finite number of places that one can avert one's eyes in a small bathroom.

Posted by: baikinange | July 28, 2006 9:53 AM

I worked for just less than a year as a police dispatcher in Montgomery County, MD. Talk about stress -- I was still 'on probation' during the training period and I worked 3 different shifts with 3 different trainers and naturally each trainer told me the other two trainers were teaching me incorrectly. Then dealing with screaming, hysterical callers complaining about stray cats under their porch, shootings, traffic accidents, missing children, nervous nellies, rush hour traffic jams. We spent half the shift taking calls on 911; then the other half dispatching calls to police officers out on the streets, sometimes 14 to 17 officers to handle at one time and each thought he was the only one.

The co-workers were a mixed bag of nasty experienced dispatchers who didn't like new people coming in, so we had a lot of friction there between the newbies and the veterans. Pure hell. I would not recommend anyone taking on this job. It makes Air Traffic Control jobs look like a day at the beach.

Posted by: Childless by Choice | July 28, 2006 9:57 AM

"But single working moms who are educated and professional - but not paid enough to afford outside help - are getting thrown under the free-market bus."

I hear you. It never ceases to amaze me that women like you can really, truly do it all--being mom and dad, work, take care of the house, etc. The rest of us who are married are just whiney. At my last job, the married mothers would often be late, complain about their hours (which were good) and all other sorts of things. And the secretaries and other single mother workers would get up early take 2 buses, etc., never complain and show up on time. I have great respect for single moms.

As one of my friends has said--sometimes you need to walk in someone else's shoes.

Posted by: working mother | July 28, 2006 9:57 AM

My worst job was in high school. I was working in a local florist shop making those mass produced bouquets you buy at grocery stores. While the work was interesting and kind of fun, my coworkers were not so much. We worked in the basement of the store, and talked while we worked. One of their favorite conversations was discussing in minute detail how they planned to turn the basement into a brothel/strip club/S&M chamber. As a young high school girl, you can only take so much of listening to this sort of thing before utterly losing it. I left within several months. In reality, I liked the job, but I couldn't stand the people.

Posted by: 215 | July 28, 2006 9:58 AM

[Is there a prize for worst job?]

Yes, there is. It gets rewarded to heros. It's called The congressional Medal of Honor. Some have been lucky enough to recieve it while they are still alive.

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 28, 2006 10:00 AM

The craziest thing a boss ever asked me to do? Administer her fertility shots while her husband was out of town. I declined.

Posted by: Perplexed | July 28, 2006 10:04 AM

I've been pretty lucky with precareer jobs--camp counselor, working in retail, but my husband has worked some really icky places. My favorite story is when he was a stock boy for an appliance store one summer. He walked into the storeroom one day where a group of stockboys were sitting around, uh, pleasuring themselves to see who would..uh...be first.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 10:10 AM

To Fo4: Hear! Hear!

Posted by: Just Sayin' | July 28, 2006 10:11 AM

After returning from Vietnam I had to process incoming draftees,look them in the eye knowing within six months half of them would be dead or mutilated.

Posted by: R C Chisolm | July 28, 2006 10:18 AM

Working in a coffeehouse seems like a glamorous job until you realize you are standing between addicts and their first "hit" of the day. People who haven't had their first cup of coffee are not the nicest customers.

Posted by: Caffeine Free | July 28, 2006 10:24 AM

My first job was when I was 15 and it was for a cookie company. My job title was Utility. My job description was to do anything they told me. They told me to clean every blessed thing in the store, but do not touch the cash register. The best part of my job was to scrape the cookie dough machine from the floor up and then clean the still burning oven that baked the cookies. I was fired three weeks later because I didn't do the job well enough.

Posted by: 20+ jobs so far | July 28, 2006 10:25 AM

Wow, I'm glad I never had to remove leeches from fish heads!

I had a summer job in college which was delivering auto parts to local mechanics and yacht clubs. Well, it was a fun job but I hated driving the pickup truck with a giant NAPA hat on top. I felt like I was in the "weiner mobile". The worst thing was that I had a choice of two t-shirts to wear: One said "Check Out My Parts" and the other said "All the Right Parts in All the Right Places". It gave every mechanic a reason to make comments about my boobs. But it paid well!

Posted by: Lily | July 28, 2006 10:25 AM

I worked at Giant the summer I was 16. It was truly awful. I was in a refrigerated back room chopping fruit and vegetables all day for the salad bar. I had to be at work at 5 am every day (occasionally 4) with 30 minutes for lunch, standing all day. I got paid minimum wage and had to join the union (which took some of that measly check). It was the longest and worst summer of my life, but I do now have a FAR greater appreciation for people who do that type of unpleasant labor and am never rude in my interactions with them. Also, I will never eat at a salad bar.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 10:29 AM

i took an unconventional route into teaching 6th grade "language arts" at a reconstitution-eligible school in baltimore city via a program geared to get professionals in other areas to move into teaching. i lasted 4 months (start of the school year to xmas break). i had 5 classes ranging in size from 28 (the smallest class) to 35 (the largest). being a new teacher is hard work in and of itself, but this was a nightmare (for me). 1 to 3 kids either arrived new or left every week. we had parent-teacher conferences at every "work break" (a nonclass period where teachers could get work done) and we were supposed to teach to tests (i would literally go over almost identical test questions on the board the day before the test, and only about 1/3 of the students would pass). one of my normally "good" kids got up one day in the middle of class, walked around to the other side of a group of desks very calmly, and suddenly punched another student in the face--then sat back down (he was off his meds that day). the paperwork was never ending and the children were challenging, but it was the system that broke me (so much paperwork and so much focus on bureaucratic and political hoops that did not help the children). one child stole $100+ in field trip money from an envelope on my desk and trips to the office, phone calls home, and other "punishments" did nothing to help me create a disciplined learning environment. my proudest moment, was finding my name scrawled on a desk... something like "mr. [my name] is a d*ck." ironically, the students actually liked me quite a bit, as did the administration, but my one true friend--the small mouse who would scurry to hide each morning when i arrived and flipped on the lights--was poisoned and greeted me paws up, stiff, and cold one fall day. alas, i left with a whole new respect for teachers.

Posted by: failed teacher | July 28, 2006 10:29 AM

My first job out of law school was at a small firm in DC. I should have known something was wrong when I went in on my first day and found out I would be sharing a literal CLOSET for an office- with a paralegal. But it got worse- I was told to wear jeans the next day so I could put together my own desk to go in the closet. It was space was so small, we had to put the desk together inside the closet one at a time, because it wouldn't have fit going in the door and only one of us could work in there eat a time.

Posted by: Alias Attorney | July 28, 2006 10:30 AM

Although I loved working with the horses (I used to show hunters and jumpers), my worst job was cleaning up on week-ends - the mess left by the lazy barn hands. To cut down on my board costs, I would muck out the stalls and feed and take care of the horses on the week-ends. Mucking out the stalls wasn't that bad unless the regular guys did a lousy job all week. Let me tell you, cleaning up impacted horse manure, urine and saw dust is hard work. But that wasn't the worst. The worst thing was that I would completely clean out their water & feed buckets on the week-ends and we had a couple of horses who never quite finished their feed, only to find out that not only had I scooped out their old feed but also hundreds of maggots - with my hands. I will never ever forget that! After that day, I always used a stick.

Posted by: the horse lady | July 28, 2006 10:32 AM

Worst jobs I never got-
I had served in the air force and had it on my resume. An interviewer had flunked out of the air force academy and hated me on sight then-so I didn't get the job at a famous 3-letter corp.
At another interview I had the job, but the interviewer gave me a piece of paper to read-I took off my regular glasses and put on my bifoculs to read it--I was out the door in 5 minutes because the previous network guy had changed everything to large fonts and then their software didn't work!
At many other corps I was interviewed because I was a veteran; but was then told no positions were available--the company gets credit, though, with the stupid US labor dept for interviewing a vet!! For a high security position I was interviewed by the "security" manager ( who looked exactly like a John wayne sidekick in the movies ). Even though I recognized him; I didn't want to ruin the interview by letting on, so I played the interview straight. Since I didn't "recognize" the guy from the movies; they thought I was a deep cover soviet plant and didn't hire me!!!

Posted by: resumesubmitter | July 28, 2006 10:35 AM

I worked a summer at a swine genetics farm. The manure flowed from each of the 16 hog houses to the lagoon through a 100 yard long 32 inch cement pipe. Each pipe had to be cleaned once a month. My job was to lay on a car creeper with a 1 ½ inch fire hose and scoot down the pipe and rise it out.

Posted by: JW | July 28, 2006 10:35 AM

I've been lucky in my jobs, but my husband has not. The first was working for a pizza place in Fairfax, where his shift manager stole his credit card tips. When he confronted the owner of the restaurant with the evidence, he was fired.

The second was a professional job, with lots of recent college graduates. They were mostly English majors, desparate for a job. The boss would yell "SHADDAP!" if someone sneezed, and generally berated everyone. My husband was eventually fired when he declined to show up for a "mandatory work weekend."

Posted by: Ms L | July 28, 2006 10:35 AM

Alias Attorney, who is the "we" who put your desk together? Hope you thanked that person for being good company in your misery.

Posted by: nova worker | July 28, 2006 10:36 AM

I volunteered in the Hansen's Disease (leprosy) wing of an Ecuadorian hospital a few years back. Being what you'd imagine - staff in the other parts of the hospital weren't running to help us out. Actually, the door to the wing had only recently been opened after being locked for years. (The only way in/out was from the street.) We had to clean out the patients' dark, poorly ventilated rooms, before painting them. (They had NEVER been cleaned before.) I reached my hand into one patient's dresser packed with soiled clothing (gloves? what gloves?) to have cockroaches crawl on me. We ended up doing this for the 40 or so patients.

Posted by: JPC | July 28, 2006 10:37 AM

To JW

I bow to you as having the worst job and I sympathize for any mental trauma you suffered as a result.

Posted by: 20+ jobs so far | July 28, 2006 10:43 AM

My wife had the worst job I have ever heard of- we live in Seattle, and she took a 6 month job on a project where her duty was taking the rectal temperature of hibernating grizzly bears. In the winter (of course), in Alaska.

Posted by: nova expat | July 28, 2006 10:47 AM

My Dad's job after he came back from WWII wasn't the best, either. He worked in a meatpacking plant in Baltimore in the freezer locker. He hung carcasses of slaughtered animals in cold storage until it could be cut up and packaged. He told us of watching the cattle going through the shute to be stunned, then killed. He hated the kosher room where a Rabbi would slit the throat of cattle while it hung upside down to drain the blood. These animals were fully conscious and did a lot of struggling after their throat was slit. Then he saw somebody get their finger cut off in the meat slicer. Dad never ate hot dogs or lunch meat.

Posted by: Childless by Choice again..... | July 28, 2006 10:49 AM

My worst jobs weren't the ones that you'd expect -- I actually liked my job at a cowboy-themed fast food restaurant when I was a teenager. I loved working at a chain drugstore (even when the manager was sexually harassing the teenage female employees), and had a great time working at a department store. The worst job was working at a place that I liked for two women who were miserable in their own lives and made everyone else miserable. One co-worker was going through a divorce and there would be whole days when I couldn't go into our shared office because she and her husband were fighting in there. I hated that job with a passion, even though it was what I'd been trained for. I left and took a job that pays less and requires more hours, but I'm so much happier in general.

Posted by: Alexandria, VA | July 28, 2006 10:54 AM

Worst (summer) job ever...

I worked in the yogurt plant of a large dairy and my main job was "puller" which meant that I moved pallets of fresh...still warm and very liquid...yogurt from the production floor to the incubator (ambient temperature a sultry 115-120 degrees) and from the incubator to the cooler (ambient temperature 38-42 degrees).

I tried different clothing combinations, but I quickly decided that I could get through the day if I simply wore a T-shirt all day and skipped the heavy parka for my time in the cooler. Needless to say, I had a miserable cold that summer. In addition, you could count on a pallet of yogurt spilling or exploding a few times per week which meant that I was covered in warm milk. The milk dried on my clothes and often flaked off while driving home, getting ground into my car's upholstery and carpeting. Picking up my girlfriend in a car that smelled like spoiled milk was never pleasant and I have an aversion to yogurt 25 years later.

Posted by: Lester Burnham | July 28, 2006 11:03 AM

I was pretty lucky with my summer jobs, but have a few stories about one supervisor which I (hope) show that times have changed. I worked summers in a law firm in the early to mid-80's. Over the four summers I worked there my duties varied from messenger, to secretary, to assistant librarian, to receptionist. I had the same supervisor for all jobs - she supervised all support staff. When I was receptionist she requested that I report every support staff person I saw coming in late (I didn't). When she saw someone come in late, even when it snowed, she was known to ask around to find out who was in her (the support staff was mostly women) car pool so she could write them up also. One time I wore a pink sweater to work. She complimented me on what I was wearing, telling me it made me "look like a receptionist."

But overall the job was great. Much better than waiting tables. My husband had a pretty bad job for a few weeks while working his way through college. He worked at a convenience store. He quit after being held up at gunpoint twice.

Sidenote. My Dad, who's retired now, marvels sometimes about how I work and raise two kids. He once remarked, in a somewhat regretful voice, about the dirty looks he used to give his Secretary, who had two kids, when she got into the office late. The post by the paralegal at the "family friendly" firm made me think of that. Sometimes things do change.

Posted by: Sam | July 28, 2006 11:06 AM

I was pretty lucky with my summer jobs, but have a few stories about one supervisor which I (hope) show that times have changed. I worked summers in a law firm in the early to mid-80's. Over the four summers I worked there my duties varied from messenger, to secretary, to assistant librarian, to receptionist. I had the same supervisor for all jobs - she supervised all support staff. When I was receptionist she requested that I report every support staff person I saw coming in late (I didn't). When she saw someone come in late, even when it snowed, she was known to ask around to find out who was in her (the support staff was mostly women) car pool so she could write them up also. One time I wore a pink sweater to work. She complimented me on what I was wearing, telling me it made me "look like a receptionist."

But overall the job was great. Much better than waiting tables. My husband had a pretty bad job for a few weeks while working his way through college. He worked at a convenience store. He quit after being held up at gunpoint twice.

Sidenote. My Dad, who's retired now, marvels sometimes about how I work and raise two kids. He once remarked, in a somewhat regretful voice, about the dirty looks he used to give his Secretary, who had two kids, when she got into the office late. The post by the paralegal at the "family friendly" firm made me think of that. Sometimes things do change.

Posted by: Sam | July 28, 2006 11:06 AM

I worked in a chicken egg processing plant for one day during the summer when I was in high school. My job was to place eggs into large holders (64 eggs each) and then put the holders into large boxes. I did not have gloves and ended up losing the skin on half the knuckles on my hands. Also, if you have experienced a chicken farm on a hot July day then you know how wonderful the smell is. I can still remember the details even though it has been 25 years.

Posted by: Chris R | July 28, 2006 11:06 AM

I was pretty lucky with my summer jobs, but have a few stories about one supervisor which I (hope) show that times have changed. I worked summers in a law firm in the early to mid-80's. Over the four summers I worked there my duties varied from messenger, to secretary, to assistant librarian, to receptionist. I had the same supervisor for all jobs - she supervised all support staff. When I was receptionist she requested that I report every support staff person I saw coming in late (I didn't). When she saw someone come in late, even when it snowed, she was known to ask around to find out who was in her (the support staff was mostly women) car pool so she could write them up also. One time I wore a pink sweater to work. She complimented me on what I was wearing, telling me it made me "look like a receptionist."

But overall the job was great. Much better than waiting tables. My husband had a pretty bad job for a few weeks while working his way through college. He worked at a convenience store. He quit after being held up at gunpoint twice.

Sidenote. My Dad, who's retired now, marvels sometimes about how I work and raise two kids. He once remarked, in a somewhat regretful voice, about the dirty looks he used to give his Secretary, who had two kids, when she got into the office late. The post by the paralegal at the "family friendly" firm made me think of that. Sometimes things do change.

Posted by: Sam | July 28, 2006 11:06 AM

At the time, my summer job in 1982 working for a plumbing contractor on new residential construction seemed to be perfect since I was outside and making $7.25/hour. Looking back, however, with my experience as a professional firefighter with knowledge of hazardous environments and trench collapes this was one of the dumbest and most dangerous things I could have done.

Most weeks I spent laying sewer pipe from the house to the street at a depth of 3 feet to 15 feet below grade. The trench was the width of the scoop on the backhoe sitting above me. I cannot believe that I never heard of someone getting trapped under tons of dirt and wonder how OSHA would react to seeing this. Back then, though, this was not an important issue.

I get chills just thinking about it!

Posted by: JStein | July 28, 2006 11:11 AM

My worst job ever was after I should have known better but I was helping out a friend. She managed an A&W Root Beer drive-in and I was the A&W Root Bear second shift after a very sweaty teenaged boy had been doing it for probably 8 hours. I'm pretty sure all I was paid was minimum wage.

Posted by: Bobbie Bowen | July 28, 2006 11:18 AM

When I was in college in the early 80's, I used to do temporary Manpower jobs during breaks. One winter break, Manpower set me and a buddy up with a job in the People's Drug Store warehouse, in Alexandria. This was where they packed up those plastic cartons that you see them unloading at, now, CVS. In the warehouse, there was a whole system of tracks with rollers, upon which, theoretically, the crates would roll and be filled with merchandise, and, eventually, roll outside to be loaded into trucks.

Except all the rollers didn't work. Which wasn't a big problem except for on the rollers that were about 20-30 feet off the ground, and nobody could reach the crates to give them a push. So that's why they hired the Manpower guys. My friend was a little shakey about heights, but I thought it would be kind of cool (and I had insurance), so I spent a couple of weeks climbing and swinging from track to track, pushing stalled cartons along the assembly line. The regular employees told us pretty early on that the reason they hired Manpower people to do this was that none of the regular employees would.

I actually thought it was kind of fun...

Posted by: mike | July 28, 2006 11:19 AM

I've had two "worst jobs". The first was actually just one duty I had to perform for part of my first year at what I still consider to be the best job I've ever had -working as a park ranger at Assateague Island NS during college. Twice a week or so I had to work a late shift and drive a "honey wagon" around cleaning out all of the bath houses and port-a-pottys. That left me with some smells I wish I could forget...

The second was working the night shift just out of college at a refrigerated meat warehouse loading grocery store trucks. Like sorting mail must be, it is never-ending and un-rewarding - the faster you work, the more work gets piled on. Not to mention the main warehouse was kept just above freezing, and the freezer where all the frozen meats were stored was kept at 0 degrees - it only took about a minute for any exposed skin to start to hurt. You could never get warm in that place no matter how many layers you wore.

Ah well, along with working as a mover during college, these jobs taught me a lot about what I can do and taught me humility. I think every kid, especially those going to college, should have to work a manual labor job at some point - that helps wipe away any sense of entitlement real quick.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | July 28, 2006 11:26 AM

starting to think Father of 4 and my husband are the same person...at least once a week I get yelled at for putting a milk carton and pizza box in the trash and calling it "full"

Posted by: Leslie | July 28, 2006 11:28 AM

Terry and Maggot-Mart- Obviously "The Jungle" still exists in some places. I'll never eat anything at Cap Ctr. or a big-box cafeteria after reading those!

My first job was at a horse-racing track, sweeping up losing tickets and cigarette butts from the floor. I had to wear a dorky orange vest (not fun for a teenager) and breathe tobacco smoke thick enough to cut with a knife (I'm a die-hard non-smoker and somewhat allergic to the smoke). As soon as I got an area clean, people would walk through and throw more junk on the ground. I lasted a week or so, until I got work as an usher- also at the same racetrack, but all I had to do was stand around, in a much better-looking uniform!

Posted by: Gross! | July 28, 2006 11:29 AM

Department of Commerce.

I am a retired military officer. I've had a checkered medical past. On a day-to-day basis I am very healthy, but do require periodic, complex check-ups.

I started work at DOC about two weeks prior to one of those complex days of tests. I told my new boss of the forthcoming need for a day off, and asked if I could "work off" the hours by coming in early or leaving late instead of taking leave (having no regular or sick leave on the books). To my amazement he said "absolutely not."

I had just finished a military career. Everyone thinks the military is strict and unbending. But such a request in the military would have been routinely granted.

I learned, on my own, that the DOC offers CWS (Compressed Work Schedule--work your 80 hours in 9 days instead of 10, and get the 10th day off). I asked if I could take it. The boss blew up. He said he was required to allow me to do CWS if I wanted, but he railed against it, saying that the people who use it and come in an hour early each day play solitaire on their PCs or chat on the phone and do no work. He detested the program. Regardless, I took it.

At the DOC, work hours were 8:30am - 5:00pm. If you came in at 6am, those extra hours would not be credited toward the work days, nor would a departure at 7pm. Only the time worked between 8:30am and 5:00pm counted. Let's say an old college roommate was in town and you needed more than 30 minutes in order to have lunch with him or her, all time in excess of 30 minutes was counted as leave. If you needed to go home an hour early because of a sick child at school, you could not make up the time--the hour was counted as leave.

I lived for a few months under this repressive regime. Here I was a fairly-high-ranking retired military officer being treated in a way that I never treated my own most junior enlisted people.

In any case, a few months passed and I needed another day off for medical tests. The only date the Docs could accommodate was was Thursday, May 8. Friday, May 9 was my CWS day off.

You can guess the rest. I asked the boss if I could take the CWS day on Thursday and then work on Friday. The boss said "your CWS day occurs every fourteen days in sequence. You must maintain that sequence in perpetuity. You cannot ever change the sequence, and if you attempt to, your participation in the CWS program will be cancelled."

That did it. I quit on the spot.

Here I was, 50 years old, and being treated like a nine year old.

Evidently this boss was either:
(1) A jerk, or (2) Didn't want to be bothered with personnel matters so he never varied from the "book," or (3) Had been burned along the line by accommodating the special needs of Harry but not of Harriet, and he got hit by a lawsuit or EO charge from Harriet, and thereafter didn't ever want to make subjective personnel judgements.

Who knows? But, I was out of there in two weeks, and haven't looked back.

Posted by: W Hayes | July 28, 2006 11:29 AM

re: Arlington, VA and entitlement...

I agree 100% and felt back then that those jobs made me appreciate the fact that my parents were paying for me to attend a good private college. My oldest daughter, soon to be a college freshman, works for Fairfax County as a RecPac inclusion leader and will make more than $3K this summer. The work is clean and fun, but I am stunned by her friends who feel that we are "mean parents" for not allowing her to enjoy her summer. Sure, she would love to be spending weeks at the beach, in Europe or just hanging around, but that is not reality. We could afford it, but she has developed a lot of personal responsibility and respect for money from her part-time jobs over the past three years.

Posted by: Lester Burnham | July 28, 2006 11:36 AM

Wow, W Hayes.

I've gotta say I applaud you for giving notice and not just walking out of there on the spot. You showed way more class than I think I would have been able to muster.

What a jerk.

Posted by: Aimily | July 28, 2006 11:36 AM

Bad Job #1: High school summer job working at the Naval Shipyard in Virginia bolting and unbolting, assembling and disassembling antennas on the decks of naval vessels. You had to climb inside a 3 foot diameter steel tube to do this...in Virginia from June to August! That's when I decided to go to college.

Bad Job #2: I worked for a nonprofit where the female president of the org invited me to breakfast and lunch almost daily and would spend the entire time talking about her boyfriend who mistreated her. The same boss changed my flight and hotel reservations without me knowing so that we were on the same flight and staying in the same hotel for a business trip. She also invited me to go hot-tubbing while on this business trip! I quit, when after driving back with her from the West Coast on Sept. 12, 2001, she stopped speaking to me because I wanted to drive for 12 hours shifts to get home to my family. She insisted we drive for only 8 hours and would stop in various cities along the way for meals and TO TAKE PICTURES!

Bad Job #3: I had a boss tell me to keep a low profile and not "speak up so much." I'm a 6 ft tall black man with dreadlocks and was the only black man on staff. How do I keep a low profile exactly?

Posted by: Sek | July 28, 2006 11:39 AM

The first of my bad jobs was as a telemarketer. I sold baby picture packages to new mothers. Their information was sold to my company from hospitals. They didn't know that. They were too tired/stressed out. My manager walked around our desks to be sure we were actually calling. As I walked to the elevator after my first day of work, my boss met me and said, "you're coming back right?" I replied, "mmmm hmm." I lied.

The second bad job was in retail. It was during Christmas. I was supposed to get twenty-four hours of training, I got 4. I managed working with unhelpful and disgruntled co-workers just fine. However, the last straw was when I was asked to clean out the women's dressing room. A lady left a bloodied pair of jeans on top of a pile of clothes. When I told my co-worker, she told me to wash them off. I quit immediately.

So please everyone, WASH NEW CLOTHES BEFORE YOU WEAR THEM!

Posted by: Love_my_degree | July 28, 2006 11:44 AM

While waiting to go into the military after college, I worked as a roughneck on a workover oil rig in a rice field in South Louisiana. When the drill bit was changed, a strand of pipe would be pulled up, 90 feet at a time, then uncoupled, letting a flood of water and mud come on onto us. In addition, there was 90 degree plus temperature, 90 percent plus humidity, and at night, the lights on the rig attracted bugs and mosquitos, and bug spray would not stay on because of the sweat.

Great fun

Posted by: Lane Wharton | July 28, 2006 11:48 AM

My worst job was delivering papers for the Washington Post. (not that there is anything wrong with delivering papers for the Washington Post), but from the time I was 13 years old to 23, I got up every morning at 4:00 am, rode my bike to the route, put hundreds of pounds of papers on my back, defended myself against dogs, and gave my customers door-step delivery. I worked through thunderstorms, snowstorms, even a tornado. Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July, the paper went out 365 days a year. On the very rare occasion that I overslept, the entire neighborhood would know.

The worst thing about it, in order to get paid, I would have to go from door to door begging for money
Me: Knock, Knock! "I'm collecting from the Washington Post"
Them: "Could you come back later, I don't have any money"
Yeah, sure, I just saw the pizza delivery guy come buy and he left with a check. Not to mention a $5 tip for showing up once.

The worst customers were the old ladies who never worked a day in their life and decided to give their poodle a twenty minute obedience lesson while I waited outside in the freezing winter cold. At the same time they asked me why I wasn't wearing gloves, they asked for their 20 cents back on a $4.80 tab. I tell you what though, there's nothing like a rolled-up Washington Post newspaper to teach a pooch a little obedience.

The last customer on my route was old Mr Kriegy. He left his front door open so I could run upstairs and deliver his paper on his coffee table. He was about 90 years old, smoked filterless Camels, drank Vodka and orange juice in the morning while he did the crossword puzzle. It was my job to check on him every day because if he fell down or something, he was too weak to get up on his own. I picked him up several times.

One day, I heard Mr Kriegy's feeble voice coming from the bathroom. He had fallen 17 hours ago and laid in a pool of blood. It was the first time I ever dialed 911. The paramedics arrived, along with a few, very somber neighbors, and he was taken away as he thanked me profusely. I gave one of the paramedics a copy of the Post to take with him.

The next day I showed up at Mr Kriegy's house. The door was locked. I had just lost my favorite customer.

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 28, 2006 11:51 AM

I declare JPC the winner, hands down! ( no pun intended there).

Posted by: tlawrenceva | July 28, 2006 11:53 AM

Two come to mind (although nothing can top a human pipe pig, I think).

Freshman year of college work study: housekeeping duty, 7-12 AM, Sat. and Sun. A perfect match for the girl who would never get out of bed and hated cleaning with a passion (karma's a b*tch, ain't it? But boy did my mom enjoy it). The worst was cleaning the common areas of the dorms after the Sat. night parties (and frequently after having attended some parties myself) -- nothing like the smell of vomited beer when you're hung over. I really haven't drunk much since. . . .

Second is a one-time deal in an otherwise great job. I had to travel to a chemical plant in the south in the summer. Problem was that I was @ 2 mos. pregnant and in the throes of horrible, horrible morning sickness, so even getting there at 8:30 and surviving a day-long meeting was one of the most physically difficult things I've ever done (client didn't know about the pregnancy, and I wasn't ready to tell). It was about 104 that day, and the plant was making something that smelled exactly like dead, rotting fish. I had to tell them I had the flu and take a 45 minute bathroom break to lie down. I've gotten a fair bit of ribbing about that "flu" ever since.

Posted by: Laura | July 28, 2006 12:00 PM

I worked as a temp for an insurance company--filing claim folders. The lady I worked for was very nasty, and didn't like answering any of the questions I had about where things should be filed. So after that--I just filed and kept my mouth shut! I wonder if they're still searching for "lost" files.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 12:00 PM

I worked as a temp for an insurance company--filing claim folders. The lady I worked for was very nasty, and didn't like answering any of the questions I had about where things should be filed. So after that--I just filed and kept my mouth shut! I wonder if they're still searching for "lost" files.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 12:01 PM

Fo4 - I can completely sympathize with you. I also delivered papers for the Post.

At one time I had 4 walking routes with doorstep (or in-the-door) delivery. I also had a driving route at the same time. I only had to collect on one of my routes and it was my own neighborhood, so they knew I was going to camp out on their doorstep until they paid me.

Putting together the Sunday Post (3 sections) was a whole family operation that took over out living room. I used a small utility trailer to hold all of them come Sunday morning. Sundays were the one day I didn't do the walking since I was the only one who could back the car and trailer in and out of the dead end streets I delivered to. So, for Sundays, I "hired" my brothers to walk for me. Pay was good for them, when we got done I took them all to breakfast. Since they all ate like starving Marines, I don't think I ever broke even on that job!

Posted by: Just Sayin' | July 28, 2006 12:08 PM

"Hotdogs that didn't sell would be held (in their bun, in those silver bags) night after night until they DID sell. Some nights, we'd have to wipe green and white fuzz off the weiners and rewrap them."

BTW- that's the most horrific/hilarious/disturbing and GREATEST thing I ever read

Posted by: Beluga Bill | July 28, 2006 12:20 PM

Fo4 and Leslie, be thankful you're not married to me. If I find something in the trash that can be recycled, I find my husband and lecture him. Pizza boxes and a milk jug would earn him thirty tongue lashings! And not the good kind.

But he lectures me on how to stack the dishes in the washer, so we're even.

Posted by: Meesh | July 28, 2006 12:25 PM

I've worked a couple of times as a telemarketer between jobs in college. One that was really stressful was to call people to renew magazine subscriptions. My magazine was TV Guide and most of the people I called were elderly. Most were on fixed incomes and usually lonely meaning they wanted talk. One day I talked with a lonely gentleman who had recently lost his wife. He didn't want to renew because he just wasn't interested in TV anymore or much of anything. He went on to describe how lovely his wife was and how she suffered from some debilitating condition which he cared for her everyday. After telling me he wished for me to find somebody who I could share my life with and be loved like he and his wife did I had tears running down my face. He thanked me for talking with him and hung up. I will never forget that call or the other lonely people that I spent a few minutes with some of which could have starred in Grumpy Old Men. I didn't last long because I couldn't bring myself to "sell" to someone who didn't really need it. A lot of people I worked with didn't care about anything except their quotas and it made me ill to listen to their sales tactics. Maybe this guy was putting me on but most (especially older) people back in the 80's weren't quite that cynical with telemarketers yet.

Posted by: Dlyn | July 28, 2006 12:33 PM

Dishwasher at the Red Lobster in Huntington Beach, CA.

*Never could get the fish smell off of me - even after multiple showers and threw away my work clothes weekly.
*Worked until 2 am and blew up my high school education.
*The appearance of my boss caused me to stutter when he entered the room.
*Watched the cooks pull hushpuppies out of the garbage and re-fry them when the manager let customers in 30 min past the kitchen's closing.

Enough said?

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | July 28, 2006 12:35 PM

I'm skipping lunch today.

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 28, 2006 12:42 PM

Worst job for which I ever interviewed, but did not take:

I was looking for a summer/permanent job while in law school when I interviewed with the Dept of Justice, Torts Division. The background: The US Gov't has granted certain drug companies immunity from civil suits over their vaccines. Apparently, the drug companies will not produce the vaccines at prices low enough for widespread use unless they are guaranteed they won't be sued if something goes wrong. And some small percentage of the people who take these vaccines end up dying, being permanently disabled, or getting the disease the vaccine was supposed to prevent. Under the law, these people can't sue the drug company that produced the vaccine, but they can sue the government.

If hired, it would have been my job to talk to these people and low-ball them on a settlement. Basically, I would have to convince them that their son/daughter would not have amounted to that much anyway so why don't you take this nice check for $X and forget about suing for more.

I couldn't do it.

Posted by: Ugh | July 28, 2006 12:45 PM

I worked an entire summer in an aluminum extrusion plant in south Texas. They would make long rods of aluminum, 20 feet long and from 4 to 10 inches in diameter, in a furnace. The rods would then be cut to the right lengths, and put in extruding machines that would reheat the aluminum until it was soft and then force it through mandrels to form gutters and things like that. I worked at the saw where the aluminum logs were cut. The saw was about 20 yards from the open end of the furnace. There were dozens of heaters in the extruding machines. On the graveyard shift at 2AM, it was 130 degrees in there. In the day shift with the sun on the roof, it would get close to 150. The stink from all the fumes and oil was unbelievable. We worked a rotating shift, so every two weeks I'd go behind one shift. I'd work two weeks from 7AM-3PM, then I'd be off a day and next I'd rotate to the 11PM-7AM shift, then to the 3PM-11PM shift. I'd just be getting adjusted to the hours when the shift would rotate - it was like living in a permanent state of jet lag. The saw I worked on was cooled by 10-weight machine oil that got into everything. I had to use silverware to eat my lunch or else I'd get the oil from my hands on my food, even after washing up. Even so, the smell got into it so every lunch I ate that summer smelled and kind of tasted of scorched oil. The constant soaking of oil into the skin on my hands and forearms caused contact dermatitis that by the end of summer was so bad, some people actually thought I had leprosy. To hell with "honest work." I understand perfectly why Ozzie Osbourne said if he hadn't been successful in music, he would have become a criminal rather than go to work like his father. I don't blame him one damn bit.

Posted by: KH | July 28, 2006 12:47 PM

"Terry and Maggot-Mart- Obviously "The Jungle" still exists in some places. I'll never eat anything at Cap Ctr. or a big-box cafeteria after reading those!"

Cap Centre was torn down a few years ago and replaced with a shopping center. I have say, though, that I'm a little finicky even today about eating from any kind of concession stand.

One more Cap Centre story. My sister also worked in the food stands that summer. During a Michael Jackson concert, someone started hammering on the back door to the stand. Usually, this was a manager or someone looking to be let in. When they opened the door, a man (non-employee) rushed in and yelled "Ladies, avert your eyes!". Of course, they didn't. The guy dropped his pants and a DEAD MOUSE fell out of his pants. My sister said that the guy pulled up his pants and calmly walked out the backdoor, leaving the dead mouse laying on the floor. Also that summer, my sister's usually stand manager (a woman in her early 20's) had an unfortunate tendency to jump over the front counter and try to hit customers she didn't like. I don't know why she wasn't arrested.

Posted by: Terry | July 28, 2006 12:48 PM

Lane Wharton, I've heard horror stories about those. My dad was from south Louisiana and worked summers on oil rigs and with other oil-related businesses to put himself through college - he apparently spent one summer sandblasting the insides of pipes (which left him with some permanent hearing loss) and another as a cook's assistant. He doesn't talk about that one, but once made a cryptic comment about sexual harassment not being limited to women. I'm sure every time he thought about quitting college (he got a Ph.D.) those jobs were all it took to send him back to the books.

These stories make me feel lucky - my high school jobs were just clerical work (I replaced a temp who couldn't file) where the office manager was impressed that I was able to correctly copy purchase requisitions from a written form into the correct fields in a database, and she only explained it once. I even didn't mind the fact that my mom was my boss (she bought me lunch).

Posted by: SEP | July 28, 2006 12:48 PM

I worked for a while at a national coffee house chain, overall all it was a pretty fun job. The only trying part came from rude customers...I mean RUDE customers. I don't begrudge people their surly morning dispositions, but I don take issue when cups and credit cards are thrown through the window at me. One woman was so irate at her wait in the drive through line (due the the three cars ahead of her who ordered 5 drinks a piece) she came into the store and starting chewing out the manager. The manager was calm and apologetic, gave her her drink for free and a coupon for a free drink the next time around. This wasn't enough for her. "What about the people behind me, don't you owe THEM something?!" The manager assured the woman that these customers would also be compensated for the unusally long wait. After the manager walked away, the woman insisted another barista remake her drink.

Posted by: Barista | July 28, 2006 12:51 PM

As an alter server in the Catholic church, I would often serve at funerals. I was a very sensitve child who lost a few relatives right around the same time, and my parents were getting divorced. I cried non-stop during every funeral I served. Eventually the priest moved me to weddings.

I also worked at a barn full time for about 6 months. It was essentially baby-sitting--I fed them, took them out to play twice a day, and cleaned them and their stalls. I worked with expensive horses and priviledged owners who wanted everything done *exactly* right. Every horse needed something special, and if I forgot, there was hell to pay. To top it all off, some of the horses were really bad. These two would drag me all over the place when I tried to take them to the field. In the winter, I slid down an iced-over path at least 30 times. When it was time for medicine, it was my job to hold the horses heads while they received nasal shots. Needless to say, they were not pleased and often slammed me into the stall doors. I carried my cell phone everywhere I went in case I was too hurt to walk to the phone in the barn (I was the only person there from 8 to 8). Every day was like "How will I avoid a broken nose today?"

Posted by: Meesh | July 28, 2006 12:54 PM

Temp jobs are fantastic for generating wild stories. My personal worst had to be the summer I discovered I was allergic to sawdust... by temping at a sawmill. Strangest was the gig as the lone receptionist in the office of a power plant, as a one-day gig, and *all* of the management/office types were out of the office. The senior manager called in at about noon, and had to apologize profusely for forgetting that I was coming that day and taking an unscheduled vacation day, once he realized he was speaking with an 18-year-old temp, not his regular receptionist. The plant floor manager had to sign my time card for me.

FO4, I totally hear you on the joys of a paper route! And so does my Dad: after a girl in the next town over was abducted (and later discovered buried in her neighbor's yard), he joined my on my 4:00am wanderings.

Posted by: NYC | July 28, 2006 12:54 PM

I used to work at Target in VA. The job sucked, I worled long hours for little pay, but I didn't have to use my brain much so I guess it was fair pay. I want to apologize to some of the consumers that shopped there in the summer of '99 through '01. I admit that sometimes when a customer would ask me to check in the back for an item I would go back there spin srounf six times and come out with a sad expression and say " I'm sorry but we're all sold out, try again next week". I did that when it was almost time for me to get off. For all I know the product could of been there....Sorry guys.

Posted by: Hogboss | July 28, 2006 12:55 PM

I meant spin around six times.

Posted by: Hogboss | July 28, 2006 12:56 PM

1st (and worst) job. Corn de-tassler. Please don't laugh. In Nebraska the companies breeding hybrid corn would have de-tasslers go through each field, pulling the tassles so the corn pollen didn't spread. Of course I started on a day when the temperature went above 100, and, as I realized when my arms swelled and bumps appeared, I was allergic to corn pollen. The next day, hot as it was, I wore a long-sleeve shirt. After two weeks, when the company could cut the crew, I was one of the first to go - I was a slow de-tassler, it seems. I learned at an early (15) age that I was born to work behind a desk.

Posted by: steve | July 28, 2006 12:57 PM

"1st (and worst) job. Corn de-tassler. Please don't laugh."

My husband did this in Indiana as a teen and had horror stories about the cuts from the corn stalks and being covered with pollen. He also got to bale hay which is not much better. Say the least he didn't go into farming nor did a lot of his friends who were farm kids.

Posted by: In the Midwest | July 28, 2006 1:06 PM

So I thought. being a music teacher. a good job would be "assistant" in the mornins be cause I mostly teach aftenoons and evening.....NO NO

this old guy advertised for an "assistant" $10.00 per hour (in the 90's)

Well, you never saw so may Persin rugs, floor to ceiling, then he NEVER heard of DEORDERAND, need I say more? OK never again. -

Posted by: Arlington, VA | July 28, 2006 1:14 PM

When I was a teenager, I worked at a produce and plant nursery here in the area. Now it goes without saying that there's a lot of crap work that goes on at your local produce market, and at least at the nursery where I worked, being treated like a beat-up piece of wood was par for the course. Well anyway, for some time, this nursery had two trash dumpsters, but only one of them was under contract with a trash service and could be emptied. About 5 months in, my boss asked me to get into the other dumpster (which was filled to the brim with rotting produce trash and waste that had been in there for many months) and empty out the contents into the 'functioning' dumpster. About 3 hours in on a very hot summer day, after I had emptied about half of the dumpster, I started encountering rats; lots of them.

After about 15 minutes of fighting the rats halfway down the bowels of the dumpster, I walked off the job and quit. My boss was very upset that I had not completed the task and thought I was totally out of line.

Anybody wanna try and top this?

Posted by: A Male | July 28, 2006 1:16 PM

I worked for this "gourmet" restraunt as a waitress. I was really excited until I noticed the flys in the kitchen, the chef using his bare hands to put food on the plates, the (multiple) moldy heads of cheese in the display case, the coffee and tea that wouldn't be rebrewed for days at a time, and the spider webs on the espresso machine. The restraunt wasn't very busy, only three tables a night at most. The owner would always come over to speak with the customers. Afterwards he would tell me he was entitled to some of my tips and only give me part of the amounts that customers had left.

Posted by: Omaha | July 28, 2006 1:20 PM

ps Steve - where in Nebraska?

Posted by: Omaha | July 28, 2006 1:23 PM

I was working for a women who did contract work for the Department of Mental Health here in California. At first things were ok but since the job was based out of her home, the months went by and the jobs slowly morphed into me unloading and loading the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen. The day I woke up and realized I needed to get out was the day I was hunched over in the bathroom cleaning her dirty dogs in the bathtub.

Posted by: cali girl | July 28, 2006 1:37 PM

Holy Cow,
All of my bad jobs pale in comparison. I used to be a paralegal in a big firm, and my boss couldn't turn on his computer without my help. One morning, he came in, went into his office, and two minutes later came to tell me his computer was broken. I offered to look at it for me, but he said it would be too complicated for me and to call the IT people. So I did. They sent the IT manager because my boss had the reputation of being difficult. The IT manager went in and was out in a minute. I asked him what was wrong and it turns out the computer was not powered on. Another time, my boss lost a letter or memo or something that he needed for an important telecon. His desk was piled high with paper and he gave me a stack and told me to look for his document in it. The stack had briefs, letters, and insurance forms for his family. It also had a cut-out magazine promotional for a product called Erectaid which he had taken to his doctor and had filled in so that he could get a free sample from the company. It tried not to look at it, but it was too hard not too. Under the section that said purpose or reason (I forgot the exact wording) it said "for performance anxiety." I promptly shredded it because I could not stand the thought that he would find out that I knew about his problem. He paged me all the time, even when I was in the bathroom. He went through about 10 secretaries in the course of a year, and I did everything from research to answering the phone and transcribing his voicemail messages when he was between secretaries, which seemed to be all the time. But I have to say, that after a while, he kinda grew on me, and I learned a huge amount while I worked for him. The experience I got in that job served me well, although I don't miss the drama.

Posted by: Rockville | July 28, 2006 1:45 PM

IN Whichita Falls in the air force there is only 1 floor buffer and that is in the day room. If you get assigned to the floor crew in tech school Two "Waxers" will spread thick wax on the floor ahead of you ( view of a sled dog ) While, in your job as a "Rough-Buffer" you will shine the floor with a Towel.
My towel had so much wax in it it could stand up by itself. After you further shiners would shine the floor with other, less waxery towels. It worked out OK because I was eventually promoted to "Duster" when other people shipped out and all I did was run a clean towel over the floor and every ledge every morning. I also avoided the traditional "fully-clothed" shower for graduation by staying out late at the mid-night movie, leaving my 2nd floor window open a crack; then climbing up the fire escape, walking along the 2nd floor ledge and then into my room-without going through the rest of the barracks. ( I wonder what the punishment is for a broken leg?? ) My two room-mates never betrayed me. I also gold-bricked out of running a lawn mower by telling the sergeant it wouldn't start and , besides, I had never seen a mower before coming from CHicago!! I forgot to tell him CHicago was my place of enlistment and I used to cut 11/2 acres every 2 weeks at the farm!! HA HA!!

Posted by: rough-buffer | July 28, 2006 1:55 PM

My worst job ever: telemarketing in the summer during college. It involved trying to sign people with bad credit up for MBNA credit cards. I lasted two weeks, and then one day, I went out on my lunch break and just didn't go back!

Posted by: Maryland | July 28, 2006 1:58 PM

Delivering circulars door to door in the Georgia summer heat, for a nickel a piece.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 2:01 PM

My early job experiences were a strong incentive to do well in school and get a professional office job.

One summer I emptied trash rooms in college dorm buildings on weekends. The elevators in most buildings were being renovated, so I had to haul beer bottles and overflowing trash bags down stifling stair wells.

As a young teenager, my family cleaned the bingo hall each week in our Western PA town. People can be absolute pigs in public spaces! My exposure to the filth of others (cleaning ashtrays and restrooms) has made me more careful about how I treat public facilities. However, I have a low tolerance for those who create a mess, those who will not clean up after themselves, and businesses that don't keep clean facilities.

Fortunately, at a young age I learned that there is honor in all work--no job is "beneath me"--and that I have to find my own satisfaction in any job.

Posted by: DirtyJobGirl | July 28, 2006 2:06 PM

My worst job to this day was desk assistant for a local television news station. I am currently working a second job as a bartender, which I also hate, but not nearly as much as working in TV news. My hours were from 3:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (no lunch) and my duties were basically everything. I monitored police scanners, wrote news copy, delivered scripts for four separate morning shows, wrote and produced the segments that cut into "Good Morning America," watched other news stations to steal their stories, logged video, checked phone and e-mail messages and was also used as a whipping girl for snobby anchors that insisted I deliver their newspaper each day on top of my other duties. (Did I mention I was usually the only person in the newsroom at these times?) In spite of all this, I ended up leaving was because I was dissatisfied with the way local television covers the news. Today, I can happily say I write for a newspaper.

Posted by: Deborah M. Todd | July 28, 2006 2:07 PM

I worked at a university for a guy who who seemed pretty normal at the interview, but turned out to be, well, crazy.

From the first day, my coworkers kept telling me in hushed tones how my predecessor just walked out one day after the boss had her in tears. He'd apparently done this before. Within three months of starting, he just walked in one day and started yelling at the top of his lungs at me. The next day he came by and gave a breezy apology, acknowledging that I had not done what he'd accused me of.

The work could have been interesting, but ultimately, I realized that neither the work or the pay were enough to keep me working for this person. I quit but gave the two weeks. I later learned that he went through a series of walk-outs and people who quickly resigned from the same position.

Posted by: JCV | July 28, 2006 2:08 PM

defense contractor - men are chauvinistic pigs and women are b!t@#y or brainless or both.

Posted by: dcgirl | July 28, 2006 2:08 PM

To Laura and all pregnant women: I have new found respect for women who must work around food, stand for long hours or have to travel for work during the first trimester of pregnancy. Any of those jobs are truly the worst job for those three months. The nauseating smell of food and the incomprehensible exhaustion are stunning. You all deserve a round of applause for showing up every day!

Posted by: new found respect | July 28, 2006 2:15 PM

Best and worst job: Catering supervisor in college. My coworkers were great and I learned a lot about people, but everything else was horrible. 6.50/hr, 60 hr weeks, no benefits (because I was a student and therefore didn't qualify for full-time), often multiple 12-18hr days in a row and four bosses that contradicted each other and screwed up events. One summer, the operations manager, office manager, sales manager and the director left and I was put in charge of the $800,000/yr dept. At 19. While taking classes. Getting paid $8/hr.

Then, the work itself. Loading and unloading a truck full of food and dishes/trash and dirty dishes (in bowtie and cummerbund or a suit and heels) in Virginia summers/winters. Doing the dishes at 2:30am the night before class because it cost too much to keep a dishwasher there and if the dishes were left out they attracted rats and bugs and we got screamed at the next morning. 15 min breaks for dinner, if the chefs felt like leaving us something, otherwise we had to make it ourselves from whatever we could find.

The bridezillas, evil parents and grooms that disputed bar bills (if you don't want to pay, DON'T HAVE AN OPEN BAR!) and everything else on the contract that they had signed. DJs that thought it was okay to sexually harrass me or my staff or tell my staff what to do. Kitchen staff that stole from the liquor room. Management that decided to cut labor down to 10% and then threatened to fire us over events that went badly because they were understaffed.

On the other hand, I learned how to bartend before I was 21, was in a management position before graduating from college (even though I didn't get *paid* for the position) and can work for/with just about anyone without losing it. 1 year working in the service industry should be a mandatory requirement for everyone. There'd be a whole lot less rude, spoiled people out there.

Posted by: food service slave | July 28, 2006 2:22 PM

First bad job occurred @ 16..I worked for a fast food chain. One summer day the manager made me and another teenage employee climb into a dumpster to retrieve semi-frozen hamburger patties that had been dropped on the floor by another employee and thrown away. The manager's justification was "don't you know how much those things cost"? At the time a box of patties was worth more than what I made on minimum wage in a week. You haven't lived until you've stood knee-deep in garbage while wearing a uniform with your name on it, retrieving rapidly spoiling meat in 100 degree heat to sell to unsuspecting customers...when they say fast food companies are out to kill us, they're more right than they know.

Posted by: JS | July 28, 2006 2:30 PM

I'm not sure which was worse, so I'll put both crappy jobs: summer during college I worked for a navy base policy department where they didn't have enough work for me. One of the things they did find was for me to take every business-sensitive document from old projects and shred it (not just for my office but the entire building). I spent every day for 3 months standing in front of a huge industrial shredder feeding paper in, and I was always covered in microscopic paper fiber that got in my eyes, on clothes, in hair, etc. When they cancelled the student contractor program I got a job as a cashier at a busy gas station/truck stop/gift shop. The knicknacks often didn't have price tags on them and sometimes I or a coworker would have to make one up. I also had to use the lotto machine, and no one would fill out their cards correctly, expecting that I would just be able to read their chicken-scratch writing and put in the correct numbers. Whe I asked what the numbers were they got angry at me. Luckily some of the tickets were refundable--other times I ended up with an unwanted lotto entry.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 2:31 PM

I was 17 and worked as a babysitter in East Hampton. It was a very wealthy NY family with a gorgeous place and 2 adorable little kids. So of course even though it was a "family vacation" they had to take a babysitter. I spent the entire summer playing with their kids and the only time the parents did anything with the kids was to do some token thing or take them to the yacht club for show and tell or whatever. It was horrible. I felt so bad for those kids. They were really messed up emotionally.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 2:35 PM

Re: Terry's story, sounds like the outline for a new Stephen King novel, The Concession Horror. Nice reading right after lunch.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 2:47 PM

Worst job ever was definitely telemarketer at the Franklin Mint. All day long you had to try and convince people who had bought the Princess Diana doll wearing some gown to buy the other five Princess Diana dolls, or you had to convince people who'd bought a John Deere pocketknife to buy the other six John Deere pocketknives. They had these two plastic dragons for sale that retailed for $200, these things definitely weren't worth more than four or five bucks. Felt terrible trying to shake people down for this junk.

Posted by: Tom | July 28, 2006 3:16 PM

After reading all these comments, I'm basically just going to have to stop eating forever.

My worst job wasn't even that bad as a job - it was some of the customers I had to deal with. It was a high school job, I was working in a photo shop, the pay was decent (I was making over minimum wage in my first job, plus commissions on camera sales). It was all well and good, except for some of the other kids from my high school coming over to "buy" stuff when I was at the counter.

"Buy," to them, was "have me give them some film or disposable camera for free."

I didn't, for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn't getting paid to help people steal. Second, I wasn't going to risk getting fired over a six dollar roll of film. Third, all the kids who were coming in to ask me to help them steal stuff were the very same kids who would mock and tease me during the school day - I was, and am, a complete nerd, and I have never tried to hide that. Why on God's green earth these morons thought they could torment me during school and then get all chummy when I was at work, I have no idea. Of course, it just increased the amount of teasing I got during school.

The consolation, however, is that out of the players in this little show, I'm the only one who stayed out of jail, I'm the only one to graduate college, and I'm making more money than any of them doing a job I actually love (last time I heard, the biggest offender was working retail - a field that I would not wish on my greatest enemy, but if he happens to work in that field anyway, I might snicker a little bit).

Still, though, hands down worst job mentioned so far is RC Chisolm's, mentioned way upthread. Looking at kids you know have a solid chance of being maimed or killed beats poop, gross animals, bad customers, and bad bosses any day, hands down.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 3:21 PM

When I was in high school, I was a solicitor for Sears credit cards. We had huge phone books and print outs and just made hundreds of calls. It was all girls, stuck in a basement room, so we made phone calls, got yelled at by people, ate lots of fattening snacks, and all got a bit chubby.

Posted by: harley | July 28, 2006 3:29 PM

I worked for a record store one summer and one Christmas. My coworkers were all right, as were my managers, but I could not stand the customers. I was paid to help customers find CDs and to put more CDs on the shelves, but amazingly enough I spent a whole lot of time babysitting kids under 8 whose parents were nowhere to be found, picking up used tissues and cleaning up big old loogies that people had spit on the floor, throwing away trash, keeping kids away from the porn section, keeping little babies from gumming on the CDs . . . once I had to stop a kid who had taken some candy from the front display and was eating it as he and his mother wandered around the store. The kid's mother looked at me like I was from another planet when I told her that you have to buy the candy FIRST before you can eat it. Never again.

Posted by: Huggy | July 28, 2006 3:47 PM

My worst job is another one that pales by comparison, but here goes. When I was in college in Williamsburg, I worked in one of the colonial shops there. This involved: (a) standing on my feet for hours and hours; (b) long stretches with nothing to do in off-seasons; (c) wearing 18th-century dresses that were unimaginably hot in the summertime and that caused people to believe it was OK to make fun of me, or to talk about me as if I WEREN'T STANDING RIGHT THERE; and (d) answering the same questions over and over and over and over and over.

It was tedious, but definitely compared to some of what I have read today, it was a day at the beach. And definitely, I am never again eating any food I don't cook myself!

Worst job I never took: Prostitute. Really. You have to understand that I was a farm girl from Virginia, the only daughter in a family with five sons, and was basically very sheltered. (Though of course I thought I was super-sophisticated -- in truth, I was about as street smart as Queen Elizabeth.) So I saw an ad in the newspaper (yes, you under-30 people, that's the way people used to look for work, in the dead-tree version of the paper)labelled "Escort." I pictured myself at the front of the Tourmobile, talking into the microphone about all the magnificent sites of the big city I had just moved to and fallen in love with.

Once the guy on the phone explained that, no, what this job is in fact all about is having sex with strangers, I politely thanked him for his time and told the story to my boyfriend -- who laughed until beer snorted from his nose.

Posted by: annie | July 28, 2006 3:57 PM

What the hell was Richard Gere doing harrassing concession employees at the old Capital Center?

Posted by: Beluga Bill | July 28, 2006 3:59 PM

Never really had an awful job. Usually OK jobs with annoying people. The messiest, ickiest, things I ever had to contend with were kids. Changed some extremely ovrloaded diapers and cleaned up after some sick kids. The mess was toxic - I was waiting for the EPA to arrive ;).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 4:10 PM

I used to build cubicles for Herman Miller, and at the end of each day we drove into the middle of a landfill to dispose of trash accumulated from new office equipment.

This was in the North Carolina summer sun and the smell was unbearable.

Posted by: Catalyst | July 28, 2006 4:11 PM

My favorite worst job thus far is the woman who complained that her insensitive boss served her lobster and. If that's fiction, it's inspired, and even better if it's true.

My most uncomfortable job was picking berries in 90 degree heat. Lots of bending, lots of bugs, abysmal pay. But I think I'd take that over the McDonald's I worked at when they were still trying to pretend that they were a real restaurant and made female employees wear our hair up and pantyhose with our skirted outfits (no pants available). I got poison ivy very badly one weekend and had an ulcered leg. It hurt to walk at all, and putting pantyhose on the oozing flesh was all kinds of fun. Even after I explained the situation and showed my leg, I was told it was pantyhose or not working.

I stayed that day (and more days) because I needed the money, but I didn't forget.

Having a really horrid job is a good experience. Makes you determined to never go there again if you can avoid it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 4:33 PM

As with many, my worst experience was better than most of these. All other fish fryers who had those purple "freckles" and "birthmarks" from the spattering grease all over their arms, raise their hands. I had clothes that were so caked in grease that all they were good for was that job. And the usual in disgusting kitchen stories of fast food joints translates to my not eating in any "seafood" based fast food restaurants anymore.

And as a former paperboy for the Pittsburgh Press, I can sympathise with all those stories. We were an upper middle class neighborhood and basically the wealthier the homeowner, the more spoiled, entitled and cheaper (tip-wise) they were. From my experiences, I always tip well, since I've been there and I know what the rest of my neighbors are probably like--CHEAP!

Posted by: Ah teenage fast food jobs | July 28, 2006 4:40 PM

Although I no longer live in the midwest, I also spent a week detassling corn. It was hot and humid, I was thirteen years old and had to wear long sleeved pants and shirts to avoid getting sliced by the corn. It paid 5 dollars an hour. My dad would drop me off at a local high school to pick up the bus, we would drive an hour to the field, then start work. One day it started to storm, with thunder and lightning but no rain, and the crew boss (a woman with an extrememly hairy face) said if anyone refused to work they would be fired. Some did. I would fall asleep around 7 p.m, as soon as I got home, showered and ate dinner. I have had lots of jobs where I have been seriously sexually harassed, but nothing as horrible as some of these people!

I also worked in food service, and I never saw any of the things people here talk about. That is probably why the restaurant went out of business! There was this Nigerian guy who did prep in the back and had everyone convinced he was acutally a doctor in his home country, with documents to prove it. This was before we knew that you could get anything in Nigeria.

Posted by: one more from the midwest | July 28, 2006 4:46 PM

summers when i was in college (in dc), i went back home and worked in a lint factory with no air conditioning, on third shift. a 12-hour shift. we had 10 min breaks every 2 hours. 20 minutes for lunch. and what's sad is that people still do this every day in north carolina, and it's a good job.

there was a cotton mill close by. all the lint that was gathered once the cotton was spun was shipped off to the lint factory, where it is glued together to make the shoddy that goes underneath the carpet in your cars.

aside from sweating all day, you had to work on the assembly line counting out pieces that came down the belt. your ears, nose, belly button, and lungs were filled with lint every day.

Posted by: m | July 28, 2006 4:50 PM

I worked at a dog groomers my senior year of high school. I was the dog washer. Now I love dogs dearly (I have two), but washing them is no fun. I developed an allergic reaction from the shampoo they used...and worst of all, I was the one who has to squeeze the anal glands. That %&*# went everywhere, my hair, my face, my hands.....

Posted by: Lover of dogs, not lover of washing dogs | July 28, 2006 4:51 PM

In 1974, I worked at a welding factory in East Alabama. It was a hot, smelly, low-paying job. One day I was working with a hand-held grinder (grinding through steel) when a fork-lift hit me and knocked me off my feet. The grinder hit me in the shoulder. I was knocked out but had a death-grip on the trigger so it was still running. Luckily my shirt clogged the grinder and kept it from spinning. When I awoke, I looked up to see I was surrounded by several concerned-looking coworkers. They were saying things like "He's not going to make it." I felt shook up but I didn't feel much pain. A coworker drove me to a doctor that the factory kept on retainer. During the drive the coworker (who made sure he would get paid for driving me) told me to not look in the mirror. So of course I looked in the mirror at my bloody wound. It looked pretty bad, though I still felt no pain (thank you blessed shock). The butcher, uh I mean doctor poured about a pint of alcohol into my wound at which point I suddenly felt a great deal of pain and I shouted "Where did you go to medical school?" He replied "Mercer, now sit down and shut up." He sewed up my wound, I took off work for a week or so (without pay of course) and went back to work on a Tuesday. The Friday of that week they told me I had to work on Saturday since I'd missed Monday. I didn't go to work there on Saturday or ever again. Looking back (1) I probably should have sued but I was 19 and naive and (2) if the grinder had hit an artery or my throat I probably would have died. Oh well, at least I have a cool scar now, plus that job gave me incentive to go back to college. Before I graduated, I had various jobs but nothing too bad: pizza delivery, library assistant, construction and so on.

Now I am a computer analyst at a major university. It's hard to believe I ever had that welding factory job.

Posted by: Dave From Alabama | July 28, 2006 4:58 PM

Not nearly as bad as what I've read so far, but I still need to vent...worked for a pretty well-known and well regarded doctor back in college, my only duties were to do whatever I was told (lug 30 pounds of medical files for three blocks to his office because he can't be bothered? Sure! Reorganize 10 filing cabinets worth of medical records because no one's ever heard of doing anything electronically? I'd love to!) all the while, he'd refer to me as "that girl." At least he got my gender right.

But he was okay compared to his psycho assistant (I was her assistant) who, on September 11th 2001, wouldn't let any of us go home from the office until she realized that most of were crying too hard to function. I guess she figured "why pay people to cry? they need to cry on their own time." and finally sent us home.

My only consolation is that I was only there a few months and have a job now that I really appreciate.

Posted by: Worked for Doctor Crazypants | July 28, 2006 5:13 PM

Maggots? Questionable salad bars? Moldy cheese and moldy hot dogs? Dumpster hamburgers? What is this world coming to? Never eating out again.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 5:20 PM

I was an assistant for a large reorganization process in a large corporation. I actually had several bosses, since the reorg was spread over several departments. However, one boss decided I was basically her minion to do with however she pleased, ignoring the needs of my other bosses.

So I'm a week away from meeting a project deadline for one of my more reasonable bosses ("RB"). We already knew I wouldn't be able to finish said report until the actual day of deadline, because RB can't supply me with certain information until about 11 am of the day it's due, for which she has profusely apologized a million times. Because this is not a surprise, and this was a one-time thing, I was fine with the situation. There were many things I could do ahead of time and just punch this last data in, so I blocked that day off on my calendar and let everyone know that was going to be one of my "do not disturb" days (something insane boss ("IB") had instituted so she could ensure I'd be available to do her last minute work).

Things are progressing nicely, until IB calls.

There's a new little subgroup having its kickoff lunch meeting next week - the day of the deadline for RB. Even though the day is blocked off on my calendar, she has decided that I will be showing up at this meeting (still within our health care system, but on a campus about 10 miles away from my office) to take minutes, print them up, and hand them out on the way out the door.

This has *never* happened before...the usual MO for distributing minutes is either e-mail and/or interoffice mail.

I politely replied to her that I wasn't sure I could do it, because of the deadline for RB. I also ask whose laptop I will be borrowing, as I only have a desktop computer.

She replies that she doesn't care about RB's deadline and no, I would be expected to bring my computer. My DESKTOP computer. She then hangs up (probably for the best, because I would have been surprised enough to tell her what she could do with my computer...)

I hang up and immediately call RB (because IB said she didn't *need* to ask RB's permission to do this to me), and let her know what's going on. RB tries to pull strings, explaining my importance to her deadline, but no one is listening to her very reasonable request, so I'm stuck with this assignment.

Now where the meeting is taking place...I'm excellent friends with the support-staff network. I call one of the other admin assistants, explain what's going on, and he said he happened to have that hour free. Because I ran a lot of interference for him with this crowd, he said the least he could do was sit in, take the minutes on *his* laptop, run over to his desk in the *next room* print up the minutes and be there to hand them out, no problem.

So I call IB and explain what's going on, and she goes ballistic. How DARE I do that to her and who did I think I was? She asked for ME to be there, so that was how it was going to work. And she then added in a snide tone that she expected me to be in professional dress. This was an insult - most days I had no client contact and had asked for - *and received* - permission to dress neatly in jeans and comfortable shoes, since I frequently had to move heavy objects and fix other team members' computers, which was wreaking havoc on my wardrobe. But any day with client contact *always* resulted in me looking neat and professional...without any prodding from anyone.

Day arrives. In heels and a suit I am schlepping my computer (old-fashioned, heavy CRT monitor, desktop, mouse/keyboard - managed to get printer time from my friend) out to my car. I negotiate traffic. Force myself to keep a positive attitude, reminding myself the "catch more flies with honey than vinegar" tactic works better than being sullen.

When I get there, I immediately suffer snarky abuse from my boss for arriving "only" 45 minutes early, because since *she* didn't actually submit the room-set up forms (I'd asked her if she wanted me to do it a few days previously, she said she had it "under control"), I'm now expected to move all the tables and chairs around, while she "prepares herself" (by getting coffee and gossiping - I saw her with my own eyes).

I move the furniture, then set up my computer, sit quietly in the back and take minutes. I put them on a disk, run over to my friend's desk, print them out....and watch as 90% of the attendees look at them quizzically and THROW THEM AWAY after finding out they will be receiving the traditional follow-up e-mail. I refrained from screaming.

Reloaded my computer back into my car (no offer of help from boss), dragged all components back up to my office. Set them up by crawling under my desk, getting my nice clothes hopelessly wrinkled and dusty.

Boot up my computer and enter RB's data at lightning speed, running purely on adrenaline because I haven't eaten since breakfast (the food for IB's meeting "was not for [me]"). But now my computer won't accept my printer, or any network printer for that matter. And RB is scheduled to arrive in 15 minutes to pick up the report to bring it to her meeting. Despite all the technical tricks at my command, I can't resolve this problem.

Luckily, a good friend who is a technical whiz happened to come back to check on me and fixed the problem, while I managed to snarf down a Snickers. RB got her report, and I went home and kicked trashcans for a while.

The kicker was that about a week later, IB had the nerve to complain to the head of the reorg process that I was inflexible, unreliable and unhelpful because of this incident. I actually had to attend a "Come to Jesus" meeting (http://www.jargondatabase.com/Jargon.aspx?id=45) and just barely avoided getting an official negative report added to my HR file (the overall boss - who wasn't sympathetic enough to keep this nonsense from happening - was sympathetic at that time when she saw the e-mail thread I'd initiated to follow up/confirm on all my phone calls, showing that I wasn't lying as IB intimated I would do - don't get me started on that). I quit shortly thereafter.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 28, 2006 5:23 PM

When I was in high school in 1974, I took a job as an in-store bakery clean up boy at the local grocery. Working three days a week I would come in and confront three industrial sinks and two days of dirty cooking gear -- racks of doughnut trays dripping with icing and grease, giant mixing bowls and dough hooks dried to concrete, and worst of all, angel food cake pans with crusted on egg-white batter, with management telling me to work faster or we would be closed down for health code violations. Thank goodness I was able to move up to bag boy by summer!

Posted by: Bakery clean up boy | July 28, 2006 5:23 PM

The job was a good one but some weird behavior came from the boss. He spent months during the Clinton-Lewinsky business reading the conservative press and trying to find someone to gripe to about the President. Oh how he hated Clinton; he even indoctrinated his young child with this hatred. I was in the direct line of fire of his office and, being progressive, I was perfect for him as an ear for his hate. We could not get any work out of him during most of this period even though he had the responsibility for executing all contracts. I was frustrated to say the least and my colleagues did their best to avoid him during what they refer to as the "dark time." During this period his actions became more and more unprofessional. In the end, he didn't even recognize how his behavior impacted the office. I soon had to quit on another dispute but I see it in the light of being forced out because of political beliefs. He, of course would argue his position vehemently if he recognized this post.

Posted by: Major Pain | July 28, 2006 5:45 PM

I can't come close to what some have posted today (thank goodness!) but I have had a chuckle or two, and a shudder or two, in response. My worst, or least prudent, job was one summer between college semesters working for my grandfather who owned a cattle feedyard in Western Kansas. Use the imagination here for the types of work one needs to do, and the accompanying smell. I'm a vegetarian now. I'm still surprised our familial relationship survived the summer - and the political "debate" between the Kansas Republican (isn't that redundant?) and the Democrat-granddaughter. He wasn't surprised when I decided to go to law school instead of asking to be included in the "family business" ...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 5:46 PM

I had three funny/terrible jobs! The first was after my senior year in high school when I found a summer job working at a fruit stand at the side of the road. That year, we had temperatures regularly in the high 90s and I was working for 12 hours straight (no breaks) in the heat with no shade for 4 bucks an hour. The benefit was that I was paid cash and that the amount I made covered my book expenses for college the next year.
The second job was a work study job in college. I was a plate scraper. I had to take people's dirty plates and scrape all the leftover food into a trough called "The Pulper" before putting the plates in the dishwasher. The pulper would run a stream of water through the trough to wash the food down into the machine where it would be ground into a liquid pulp and then would be re-run through the trough. By the end of a 4 hour shift, you would have an orange food slick flowing through the trough and splashing up at you when you scraped the food in. The smell was...memorable.
Finally, one summer I worked developing photos. I think people thought a machine did the whole thing and no one would see what pictures they took. Of course, we had to examine each photo individually. I would always put the naughty pictures of mommy and daddy right on the top of the pile just to see the blush on their faces when they pulled out their prints.
Still, all of this was very character building and I learned that there is value to honest work.

Posted by: just commenting | July 28, 2006 5:52 PM

I had three funny/terrible jobs! The first was after my senior year in high school when I found a summer job working at a fruit stand at the side of the road. That year, we had temperatures regularly in the high 90s and I was working for 12 hours straight (no breaks) in the heat with no shade for 4 bucks an hour. The benefit was that I was paid cash and that the amount I made covered my book expenses for college the next year.
The second job was a work study job in college. I was a plate scraper. I had to take people's dirty plates and scrape all the leftover food into a trough called "The Pulper" before putting the plates in the dishwasher. The pulper would run a stream of water through the trough to wash the food down into the machine where it would be ground into a liquid pulp and then would be re-run through the trough. By the end of a 4 hour shift, you would have an orange food slick flowing through the trough and splashing up at you when you scraped the food in. The smell was...memorable.
Finally, one summer I worked developing photos. I think people thought a machine did the whole thing and no one would see what pictures they took. Of course, we had to examine each photo individually. I would always put the naughty pictures of mommy and daddy right on the top of the pile just to see the blush on their faces when they pulled out their prints.
Still, all of this was very character building and I learned that there is value to honest work.

Posted by: just commenting | July 28, 2006 5:52 PM

I spent two straight summers working outside selling sundries at small stand at a major area amusement park company. The weather was terribly hot, the customers were rude, the pay was crap, the bosses played favorites and had ridiculous rules (outside employees are only allowed to drink plain water with no lemons and absolutely no soda allowed) and bees were a constant presence since they were attracted to the scent of items being sold. After the second summer stint ended, I vowed to return to and complete college so that I would never have to work that type of job again, and I'm proud to say I completed my goal and have never looked back.

Posted by: ardandia | July 28, 2006 5:55 PM

My worst job was working as basically an unpaid farmhand for my dad while growing up. Once I was old enough to drive a tractor, every summer I was assigned to go mow, then rake, then help bale the hay in fields all over the area for other farmers (we got half the hay in payment).

One summer I was in the sun for so long mowing one field that both my arms developed enormous sunburn blisters all over them. I still wonder if I'm now more susceptible to skin cancer as a result. We also had to muck out the lower half of the barn in the summer (the cows ate there in the winter), so it smelled real good. Finally, slaughtering bulls and then cleaning the carcass prior to taking them to the meat packing house is definitely up there for a bad job!

Posted by: John | July 28, 2006 6:22 PM

I have to admit, the jobs mentioned that involve getting shot at or seeing others who are about to get shot at make just about everything else pale in comparison, except maybe the other jobs that endangered people's lives. It's a little surreal how easy it is to forget that we're in two wars, and forget what our soldiers and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are going through. Meanwhile, we continue living our "normal" lives, cleaning up after people and animals, selling gross food, dealing with difficult people, making questionable telemarketing sales pitches...

A close family member of mine is a medical resident, and I don't think any of them have written in, because all they do is work and sleep when they get a (rare) break. It's a little unnerving that people making life-and-death decisions are made to work those kinds of hours. But then they go on to be regular, very well-paid doctors, of course.

Posted by: Grossed-out racetrack sweeper | July 28, 2006 6:34 PM

My worst job ever was my first job. When I was 14 I made cotton candy at a picnic park on the banks of the Brandywine river. The pay was minimum wage ($5.15/hr) but the worst part was comming home covered in liquid sugar after sitting outside all day in 100+ degree heat.

Posted by: Chris | July 28, 2006 6:58 PM

I thought this blog was about balancing work and family. Geez Lelsie you are really pandering here.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 7:36 PM

This doesn't sound nearly as awful as much of what I read here, but most inane thing my boss has made me do is hunt through a massive stack of magazines for a single political cartoon featuring her because she wanted to secure the rights to reprint it. She had the original on the wall in her living room, but she could not remember what year it was given to her, and the date by the artist's signature said 199-scribble. It was in a weekly magazine. 52 weeks in a year. Could show up at any point during a whole decade. 520 magazines to look through, page by page.

Took me all of five hours in the periodical stacks at the library, plus an hour and a half of travel time. That probably doesn't sound too bad, but I was also writing and laying out and editing and photoshopping all the text and images in the entire book this was going to be published in, and it was nuts to spend all day hunting for one image among hundreds when I was on deadline. If this image were important in any way I'd understand, but she just thought it would be "cute". Cute!

Posted by: Kea | July 28, 2006 7:42 PM

My worst job was a summer spent in a chicken hatchery. Fertilized eggs intended for hatching that had been laid on the ground were often infected with a bacterium that caused them to explode when removed from the incubator, usually showering me with a revolting, foul-smelling sulfurous blue liquid before I could tiptoe the tray to a dumpster. On the second floor, pullets to be sold were kept in broilers (stacked cages). There was no A/C. Windows where open in the middle of a Kansas summer, with fans placed about on the floor. Occasionally, when someone honked a horn in the street, all the pullets would rush to one side of the broiler, causing it to tip over. It was then my task to round up any escapees using a long metal hook to catch them by the leg. While I was thus occupied, an occasional inquisitive bird would peer thoughtfully into one of the large fans, then insert its head, and take flight, minus the head, across the room. Periodicallly, it was necessary to visit poultry raisers' farms to vaccinate their birds and worm them. After being herded through a V-shaped run and into long a chute, each bird was grabbed by the legs and extricated from the run through a small door. A patch of feathers was ripped from a future drumstick and vaccine was injected with a jab from a small pronged needle dipped in the vaccine. Worming was accomplished by forcing a large tablet down the birds throat with one's index finger. Neither procedure was welcomed by the birds.

Posted by: Ward | July 28, 2006 7:58 PM

Worst job ever was probably when I was a police officer in a Delta town in Mississippi. One hot, humid evening, my supervisor called me over the radio and told me to meet him behind a funeral home. I pulled up to see my supervisor and another officer standing at a large metal roll up door behind the funeral home along with a very somber looking funeral director. When I got out of the car, my boss told me the State Medical Examiner wanted to look at a body. The body was in the funeral home and was of an elderly man who had passed away a week ago but was only recently found, by the odor, by neighbors. Since decompositon was so advanced, the funeral home had packed him in ice and wrapped him in heavy plastic and then put him into a large wooden crate. Our job was to open the crate and take him out and put him on a stretcher for a trip to Jackson, Mississippi by private amublance for the autopsy. The second officer left when he heard what we were going to do. My boss asked me for a cigar, since he knew I always had a few on me, and we lit up. The funeral director handed us a crowbar and we opened the wood box. The ice had started to melt and the water was mixed with the deceased's fluids. As we opened the box, the poor guy fell out onto our shoes and the water and fluids washed over our shoes. The ambulance came about that time and we put on three pairs of gloves and picked the fellow up and loaded him for his last trip. When I got home that night, I threw my shoes an socks in the trash. The next morning, I could still "smell" the body. What a job

Posted by: keith | July 28, 2006 8:19 PM

"Not nearly as bad as what I've read so far, but I still need to vent..." Ditto, so here goes. Probably my worst job in anyone else's eyes (though I kind of liked it) was sorting through buckets of dead things from streams preserved in alcohol. I had to drain the alcohol from the bucket (into another bucket so that I could put it back into the original bucket when I was done), then rinse the contents out in a sieve while removing any rocks, leaves, or twigs, but making sure that I didn't toss any invertibrates. Then I spread the contents mixed with water in a pan maked with a grid of 100 boxes. I had to pull random numbers and then pick all of the invertibrates out of the coresponding grid and keep picking until I readed 100. It was monotonous and somewhat smelly (and for those of you who hate insects, just plain gross). That was 40 hours a week for about three months one summer.

My current job: When I started, I actually cared about my work. But sitting at a computer ALL DAY (really--none of my work is away from the computer and requireds constant thought) has turned me into a robot. After a while it became clear to me that this organization does not care about their non-professional employees. In fact, the professional/para-professional dichotomy is incredibly obvious: suits versus blue jeans, long business lunches versus one-half hour mandatory unpaid lunch breaks. I asked for a raise because months ago they said that I would be "moved up" (which I can honestly say that I deserved because I wasn't a robot yet and was actually taking work seriously), but after much pestering on my part, they told me no, they don't have the money, and it needs to go through a big review process that can take as long as three years!! Yet they have money to create an entirely new position that pays $75k where the person is going to spend half of his or her time in meetings. Not that the people who make $75k don't work hard, but everybody underestimates the work that my unit does and takes it totally for granted, even though the organization would flop without us. The supervisors don't even understand the jobs of the people under them, and no one can communicate. Is it really that hard to send everyone an email to update them on something? Oh, yeah, and did I mention the carpal tunnel that showed up after one and a half months on the job? Probably pretty typical office stuff, but being young and naive and in my first job, I was shocked. I'm looking elsewhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 8:22 PM

I used to be a journalist. My first real job as a reporter was for a wire service. Crappy hours, like 4 a.m. to noon, and I had no car, and the buses weren't running (the boss couldn't wait for me to get a car, so I had to hurry and take my turn on this shift so he and my coworkers could get their relief). I rode a bike to work until I could affor a car (the pay was also crappy). My first boss was an insulting jerk; he was promoted, and another jerk replaced him. He make insulting comments about affirmative action hires, picked his nose, his crotch and his rear, and would remove his shoes and tell me to let him know when the smell got too bad. My complaints to management were not taken seriously, so I suffered until I got another job.

Posted by: momof2 | July 28, 2006 9:46 PM

I worked for a temp agency in Tucson. One very early morning, I went to a warehouse where they were taking off old roofing material. Someone would use this big saw to cut off 5 inch thick pieces of two foot by two foot slabs that weighed about 40 to 50 pounds each. We had to carry them over to a dumpster. There was fiberglass inside this material so my arms itched like crazy - but I couldn't scratch it because that hurt. Taking a shower was also painful.

I went back the next day but fortunately there was no work that day and I decided not to do that anymore.

Posted by: Charlie M | July 28, 2006 10:57 PM

Sorted "empty" glass soda bottles at an old 7up bottling plant. Yep all sorts of things in them empties. Decomposing mice, June bugs, chewing tabacco spit and cigarette butts - yumm. I was 13 and only lasted a week.

Posted by: televisionary | July 29, 2006 12:45 AM

First summer job was in the back at a drycleaners sticking my hands into the cuffs and pockets of smelly dirty clothes while inhaling PERC all day for $1.65/hr. It was about 100 degrees, no AC and no ventilation except an open back door, and some of the clothes belonged to jockeys at the local racetrack. Phew. In the fall when school started, the owner still insisted I work 32 hrs a week and when I shyly suggested he hire a second "girl" and split the job in two, I was fired. Still, this was less mind numbing than the 120 degree, noisy factory where I spent all day putting little metal labels onto an antiquated machine, advancing a dial, and pulling a lever that stamped a serial number on them, one at a time. Or the air conditioned eerily quiet room where I prepped resistors and capacitors for later assembly into circuit boards by crimping the wires, again, one at a time; all the other workers were mentally handicapped and there was no conversation because they had to concentrate. After a week of utter silence I was thrilled when they moved me over to photocopying stacks of assembly diagrams, even though it made me sicker than a dog because it was back before plain paper copiers and I was allergic to the coating on the shiny paper.

Posted by: Coming of age in the 70s | July 29, 2006 12:22 PM

While working as a physician at National Naval Medical Center, one of my supervisors asked me to drain his infected chest implants.

Go Navy

Posted by: Navy Officer | July 31, 2006 9:04 AM

While working as a physician at National Naval Medical Center, one of my supervisors asked me to drain his infected chest implants.

Go Navy

Posted by: Navy Officer | July 31, 2006 9:04 AM

One of my worst was a job in a 20 degree below zero food freezer at a grocery store during a Winter Break... 3rd shift !! This was during the early 90's and I was dressing like a sort of cross between preppy and New Kids on the Block. My shoe's were such cheap plastic that one night they froze fully and disintegrated right then and there in the freezer... that was embarassing and summarized the whole experience.

Posted by: Rick | July 31, 2006 10:08 AM

I worked for a contractor for the Navy and had to put around 200 UPC codes on various spaces in multiple large warehouses. I was paid $4.50 per hour. The temp contract was supposed to take 2 days but it was going to take four which I alerted my agency. The client came over on Day 3, yelled at me for goofing off (He was unaware I was working in the other warehouse), took my stack of remaining UPC stickers, threw them in the trash and said, "You could have done that too and then this project would have been finished!" I received a bad rating from my client for not giving up and doing a half-assed job. I will never forget how dismissive he was of me and how much trouble he caused for me at my agency.

Posted by: Don | July 31, 2006 10:23 AM

worst job: i was on an assembly line at a mail order gift company. I had to stand and close 10x10 gift boxes of fruit all day. I thought I was going to lose my mind and only lasted one day!

Posted by: kathie | July 31, 2006 10:32 AM

My worst job was drumming for one of MUZAK's units. I especially hated gigs at dental offices. We musicians would have to arrive before the first patients and cram ourselves into closets. There was no room for the two cymbals that I'd normal bring together with my left foot to mark the off beats, so I'd click my teeth on beats two and four, sometimes for nine hours at a stretch. We couldn't alter the music in any way when a patient screamed. There were no bathroom or lunch breaks. I liked elevator gigs, because I enjoyed riding atop the passenger compartments. I was finally fired after I hollered at someone in the elevator, "Faster! Faster!"

Posted by: patrick k lackey | July 31, 2006 3:51 PM

This has nothing to do with worst jobs, but please tell someone at washingtonpost.com to put a comma between hello and patrickklackey. Why should the electronic part of the paper be ungrammatical? How much can a comma cost? One more day without a comma will throw me into a coma.

Posted by: patrick k lackey | July 31, 2006 4:01 PM

My worst job? That's easy. I'm an engineer and worked for a high tech company on instrumentation of optical fiber networks. My boss (I'm native Amercian) kept calling me "chief" and otherwise demeaned me. I was ordered to work 7 days a week. From December 1999 until April 2001, I was off a total of 8 days (and that included weekends and holidays). I filed a complaint with Human Resources. Naturally, it was a dog and pony pony show with my boss denying everything even though I had letters confirming everything from my fellow workers. In the end, I received a patent for my idea, was awarded the outstanding engineer of the year award, and was laid off the next day..... (honest). All of this by one of Amercia's largest and most respected companies. Of course, the CEO was a buddy of Vice President Cheney, and big boosters of the Bush run for the Presidency, too. And people want to know why we detest this White House....

Posted by: MikeB | July 31, 2006 7:49 PM

In responce to blog Posted by: Childless by Choice | July 28, 2006 09:57 AM WORST JOB EVER I am a COP in Montgomery County. I respect the dispatchers we have, and woulndt want their job, however there are some people who just can't handle a high stress job, and are not cut out for this type of work. I am guessing your one of them. Dispatchers are the first to deal with whatever call comes in and never knows what the outcome is. The Domestic where the dispatcher can hear a female or child being hit and screaming, then the police show up, and they have to hang up, never knowing anything after that, not even if the person is charged or if they go to jail. THAT is something that a person who can deal with the job has to go home with every night. You couldnt handle the job, so you ran with your head between your legs. Just be honest!! I know for a fact the people there are a tight knit group, and since you were not like them, meaning can handle the stress and good at the job you never could relate, it had nothing to do with you being a new person. You have to earn that right to be called a REAL POLICE dispatcher, you werent willing to do that so you ran like a little chicken. Dont bad mouth a group of people who do this job everyday with respect, and dignity and the strength to handle high volume calls and police officers like me yelling on the other end of the radio. Get a spine and just be honest with yourself. YOU can't cut it so you Quit!!

Posted by: COP IN MONT CO | August 1, 2006 4:52 PM

To MoCo cop: you are not intelligent or compassionate enough to be a cop. Why should you feel entitled to spew at someone because they aren't cut out for high-stress work? We're all different. That's not a bad thing, it's just a fact of life.

Posted by: Aghast | August 2, 2006 1:17 PM

To Aghast: You can feel what you like, however to say they dont like a job is one thing, to talk bad about the people they work with is WRONG!!! They just wanted to blame their inability to do the job on the people around them. They need to look at themself and take Responsibility for their actions, and inability to do the job. Don't disrespect the people who look out for me. The dispatcher might be the only thing between me and death. If they arent there when I am dealing with a subject that has a gun, knife or just high on something I may be alone. They stand between me and death at times. You need to step off unless you have done the job or worked with the people. That persons needs to step up to the plate and take a good look at themself, and know it wasnt the job, place or the people. It was them!!!

Posted by: COP IN MONT CO | August 4, 2006 3:58 PM

During a summer in college I worked as a security guard at the Wisconsin State Fair. My first post was to guard the carnival worker's trailer park and check ID's when they came back from the bar. My shift was 12AM - 7AM. I also spent a few nights guarding the Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puff Building. My supervisor instructed me to ensure nobody stole any cream puffs throughout the night.

Posted by: Marek | August 8, 2006 3:08 PM

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