Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Five, Back on the Chain Gang

Last week, I was all positive and happy, a regular Mary Poppins, about work. This week, we will take a look at the darker side. I'd like to add that most of these jobs were held in my teens and early twenties when I was just looking to make some cash, so if it seems like I've held a lot of jobs, keep that in mind....

Five Worst Jobs I've Ever Held

1. Car Wash Attendant

I was fifteen and this was my first job. My boyfriend at the time got me in here. My job was to towel off cars as they came out of the "touchless" car wash. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, this was in Michigan. In the middle of winter. I convinced the owner it would be a good idea to wear gloves, but he still wouldn't let us wear winter coats. We had these flimsy windbreakers with the car wash logo on the front. I used to wear every sweatshirt I had under that thing. My gloves would often freeze to the towels I was using. I would get ice crystals in my hair from the mist as is it froze coming out of the car wash. I quit.

2. Shirt Laundry, Body Presser

I started this job in the summer. It was incredibly hot. My job as body presser was to operate a machine that pressed shirts. It had two mannequin forms that would slide in and out of a giant steam press. While one was being pressed, I had to take a shirt off the form that was out, hang it up, put another shirt on, button two buttons, and hit the clamp all before the shirt being pressed was done and came out. The forms all had metal tops where the shirt collars would sit, and those little buggers got incredibly hot. I still have burn scars on my wrists from brushing that scorching metal. I actually got pretty good, and fast. But the building had no heat, and as winter came, moving from the moist heat of the press to the back of the store where there was no heat set me up for some sinus infections. I'd call in sick, then come back, and get sick again. I finally got pneumonia, and was fired.

3. Recycling plant, "Bottle Sorter"

I got this job from a temp agency, not the same one that assigned me to K-Mart. K-Mart came after this. I was told the job would be "sorting clean bottles for recycling". I was lied to. When I got there, I was handed a shovel, ear plugs, a hard hat, goggle and work gloves. I got to shovel up labels that fell out of the machine that pulled the labels off of the bottles. Now, in my mind, it would make more sense to come up with a more efficient machine that didn't rain labels and water on all those working below. But I suppose it was cheaper to hire someone at eight dollars and hour to slog through two-inch deep water while filling a wheelbarrow every half hour. I did eventually get a turn sorting bottles, which were NOT clean. The things people will put in glass and plastic bottles is beyond me. The hours were also crappy, we worked a twelve hour shift for three days, then were were off for two days. I made it through one three day cycle, and at the end of day three I turned in my gear and quit. I was told it would be considered job abandonment and that I wouldn't get paid, I told them to take it up with the EEOC.

4. Victoria's Secret, sales clerk

Last week I told you I worked for Frederick's of Hollywood, this job is why. I was sixteen, and it seemed kind of cool to work at the mall. But I was appalled at the training. We were told to only actively help women who looked like they had money, and who were obviously the same size as our products. We were actually trained to look for high-end handbags and shoes. Now, perhaps this is not a company-wide policy, but it certainly was of my manager. I got rapped several times for helping women, who in my manager's words, looked like "trailer-trash". Never mind the fact that I got them to buy something, I was "wasting my good time" on people who wouldn't become regular customers. It violated my sense of justice to have to make bigger women feel less pretty because we wouldn't carry something in their size. I quit after just two weeks.

5. Administrative assistant, for a Christian Clothing Company

I won't reveal the name of this company, but they were located in Tuscaloosa, AL. They are now out of business. I got hired on as a customer service representative. I was looking for steady work after being dumped in Alabama by my then boyfriend, and this looked promising. It was close to where I lived, and the people seemed nice. They were, by all accounts, evangelicals. The company made t-shirts to be used as witnessing tools. Some were even kind of clever. I was eventually promoted to be the assistant of one of the VP's. It was a small company, and my boss seemed really nice at first. I was still getting religious tracts telling me I was going to hell because I was attending an Episcopal church, but I just put it down to job risk, and I was also making more money. Eventually, though, I realized my boss who espoused "Christian virtues" was apparently carrying on with the company president. And she was very unstable. She'd frequently sit in her office closet and cry. She once threw a vase at me. And then had me do her son's homework for him. And then couldn't understand why I was part of a mass exodus from the company.

Okay, those are my five. I'll be giving out awards tomorrow! Have a great weekend, y'all!


The Rotten Correspondent said...

Okay, here goes.

#1. Waitress. Both at a dinner house and a mexican restaurant. I hate being told what to do by rude, drunk people and all the bosses were either *dating* the waitresses or trying to. Ugh.

#2. Personal attendent for an older family friend after he had a stroke. I was all alone in the house with him for 24 hour stretches and once had his wheelchair roll down a hill on me at Pepperdine (very hilly) where he went for riding therapy. I lasted a week.

#3. Copyediting and writing simple text for a wine journal. Evidently I never could tell butterscotch notes from oaky undertones.

#4. Selling Pampered Chef. I'm just not cut out for sales. Trust me on this.

#5. Writing a newsletter for my MILs Emblem Club. It was volunteer, and I was so bad I was still overpaid.

code of the day - ovhow. Oh wow?? with a bad zsa zsa accent?

Jen said...

Good heavens, y'all, did I suddenly develop blog BO and no one told me?

It got really quiet around here!

And RC, the codes just keep getting funnier. The current one here is :weuff. I guess that's the sound a French dog makes when it barks. "Weuff, weuff!"

The Rotten Correspondent said...

You're cracking me up!

If you've developed blog BO I have too. Very few comments today. Did people all of a sudden get a life or something???


russian code - jvpirfyc. (I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat)

my two cents said...

First, let me tell you both something about the codes. It takes me so long to post that after I type the first insane, and barely readable, becuase it is in a funny typeface code, I get an error message, a new code, and then when I type the second code, I always forget to re-type my password which has been cleared, and I have to do it all a THIRD time. Now the fact that I get anything posted is a testament to my dedication to your blogs!

It took me all day to post because...I WAS AT THE BEACH!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the day and don't feel a bit guilty.

Anyway, since neither of you have BO as far as I can tell, I'll post the following five not so fulfilling jobs I have held.

1. Hostess at a luncheonette--this was a summer job and I had worked in the kitchen, but they asked me if I wanted to try hostessing for my last week there, and I foolishly said yes. I was awful, the waitresses hated me, and I was ever so thankful for the end of that week.

2. The first job I had when I moved to LA was at the LA Children's Museum. I was pretty sure I had worked lined up for about six months after I got here, but in the meantime I took school reservations at the LACM. Boring took on a whole new meaning for me and the six months couldn't have ended soon enough. Luckily, the job I really wanted came through and I was able to move on!

3. Camp counselor--Despite the fact that I hated camp as a kid, my mother lined this up for me through a friend one summer when I was in college.

4. I worked very briefly at Rite-Aid when I was in high school. They had a crew of people who went around to the different stores and tried to set employees up in difficult situations to see how they would handle them. It is a long story, but despite the fact that I handled the situation COMPLETELY HONESTLY, I was interrogated in a back room for what seemed like forever, but was probably around 30 minutes. I was sixteen or seventeen, and quite shaken. I called the really nice manager (who hadn't been there that night) the next day to say I would no longer be coming in. Let's put it this way, I have been trusted with million and millions of dollars worth of art, treating someone as honest as I am in this way was quite an affront--still gets my blood boiling, and to this day I won't shop at Rite Aid.

5. I did a lot of babysitting as a teenager, some for really nice families, and then there were the not so great families--I would say th not so great families would be the last not so fun job.

Well, here goes: wskhfltd. Second try: xngkuhh (and this time I'll remember my password!) said...

Hey what's that smell?

The only crap job I had was when I had to sit inside a wall of a record store and spy on customers. I lasted three days.

I worked a graveyard shift while at school but I loved that.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Ahh Jen, I'm sorry.

You don't smell, except probably of flowers and chocolate and angel breath.

(Lets hope angels don't eat too many onions).

Right, 5 worst jobs I've ever had.

1. Administration Assistant for the Child Support Agency

I went for an admin' job and it turned out to be for the evil CSA. I didn't know till I started work.
Everyone hates the CSA over here as it does an unpleasant job in a very ineffective and unpleasant way.
I lasted 2 months then got a job in Kennels for £2 an hour which I loved.

2. Cinema Assistant.
I did the training, but left before the cinema opened as I didn't like the uniform...oh the vanity of youth

3. Bar Person.
In a dive of a bar next door to the local brewery.
Too many sexual comments, gropings and grumpy ignorant git customers in my opinion.

4. Babysitter for one of my teachers kids. (My mum was a teacher too so we knew the family.)
This kid was such a brat. He just sneered at me a lot and did whatever he wanted.
I got very busy all of a sudden and they had to find a new sitter.


Arghhh, Jen I'm struggling. I might have to make the next two up.

4. Cleaner of the Queen's dogs' toenails.
This was an awful job as they're all a bit snappy what with belonging to royalty and all that, and they often followed the horses and ended up with poop nails.

5. Shark dentist.
Say no more...

Code, bugjl. Like a cudgel but only used on ants??