Best Job - Worst Job


My best job was probably when I worked in military contracting. The industry itself was rather hideous, but I enjoyed the pressure and deadline atmosphere and was pretty good at getting proposals to come together and get them out the door before Uncle Sam’s deadline.

My worst job was “Receiving Girl” at a dry cleaners. Oh, the horror. Going through sweaty, filthy suits that had been worn by a low-level salesman who sat in his car 18 hours a day was grossening. I’d find used kleenex, matchbooks with the number of the “Town Pump” scribbled on them, condoms, etc., in the pockets. It was hot. The work was boring. It didn’t last long.

Howzabout you?

Best job: Video store. I’ve owrked at 2 video stores and I loved both experiences. The atmosphere was laid back and low stress. We could watch movies all day long. The customers didn’t hassle us much. Whenever I need a job on the weekends to make some end meet, I apply at the local video store. Too bad they don’t pay well.

Worst job: Sandwich shop (Subway-like). The job itself wasn’t bad until I was assigned to clean the grease trap. It was the most horrifying experience of my life. I should have gotten hazard pay. I should have quit right there. Just thinking of it 8 years later makes me want to retch.

Ya know, I’ve heard that about the grease trap.

When I was in the fast food biz, they always made the guys do it, so I never experienced it first-hand. But if you ever mentioned it, the guys would go pale.

Best job:

My current one. I’m a NASA engineer. Unlike other civil service jobs I had, NASA doesn’t presume their employees to be idiots.

Worst job:

I was a porter (cleanup guy) at a Hardee’s while in college. On a good day it sucked. I’d come home covered in dirt and grease, and I couldn’t mop the floors fast enough to satisfy the manager.

Best job: current one. Special Events Coordinator at a small campus of a state university. Planning parties, playing with gadgets, surfing the 'net. flexible hours, great boss, no pressure. Money’s good, benefits are great.

Worst Job: sweatshop laborer. My cousin owns one, and my dad thought that a summer working there would build character (to quote: ‘This is why you’re going to college, boy’). They are called sweatshops for a reason, people.

Best Job:

Believe it or not, working part-time delivering truckloads of mulch, plants and landscaping materials for a local greenhouse. I’d show up each day, get a list of deliveries, and off I’d go with little or no supervision. It was completely mindless, but it was good exercise, I got to mess around with a Bobcat, and there was something oddly pleasurable about driving up to some stranger’s house when they weren’t even home and dumping 10 cubic yards of mulch in their driveway. But the best was delivering plants, because people were always, always happy and excited to see me. “Oh, boy, the arbor vitae are here!” I felt like Johnny Appleseed or something.

Worst Job:

Being out on some godforsaken wellsite in the ass end of nowhere for weeks at a time, covered in drilling mud and trying to monitor a well while half the equipment wasn’t working and spares were non-existent was no picnic. But I’ve known people who had much worse.

Best Job: Computer Lab Assistant.
In college (the first time), I worked in one of the computer labs. This would ordinarily be a bad thing, but this lab was on the top floor of one of the buildings, only had 24 computers, and only about 15 people (outside the people who worked in the department) even knew it existed. The most difficult thing I had to do was put more paper in the printer and help the professors work the scanner. But since they were highly educated, after two or three explanations, they tended to figure it out. Or they made the grad student assistants that worked in the department do it for them. I spent most of my time surfing the Web, talking with the other Lab Assistants, and studying. It was only minimum wage, but it was the easiest/best job ever and I was so, so upset when the Feds cancelled my work study because I made too much money (because I was getting Work-Study!).

Worst Job: Retail Drone
It had its upsides and I loved most of my co-drones, but the idiot managers, insane customers, and being on my feet for 8 hours at a stretch wore me down. And Christmas still makes me shudder while Christmas Music triggers a Pavlovian Urge To Kill response.

Best job-

The one I have now. I test printers for a major manufacturer. I only work Monday through Friday in the daytime (no nights or weekends), I don’t deal with rude and exceptionally stupid customers, I can wear my regular clothes to work-- no stuffy uniforms or suits, and most of the people I work with are cool. I can also read SDMB and listen to MP3s while I run my tests.

Worst job-

Fast food manager. I hated the widely varying hours, which never allowed me to establish a good, healthy sleep pattern, plus I usually had to work weekends and holidays (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, thank God we were closed those days). I was paid salary, which meant I usually worked more hours than I was paid for. Half the crew was unreliable and they didn’t give a shit about their jobs and the turnover rate was very high, so we were always hiring new people and we were often short-staffed. Because of this, many of the customers were rude, expecting and demanding better service then what we could provide, given our limitations. The work itself was shitty, having to stand on my feet most of the day dealing with hot grease and other unpleasantness throughout the day. I hope to never go back to that hellhole again.

Best job (= current) -
Software developer. The work is challenging, mostly easy-to-work-with people, loose attitude about hours (as long as you put in a full day, they don’t much care what time you come and go), and there’s some free time to do what I’m doing now.

Second best job -
Hospital maintenance. I learned how to do all kinds of stuff: carpentry, painting, plumbing, some electrical. Too bad about the pay.

Worst job -
Environmental consulting. I did this for two companies. The first was okay, the second horrible. Nasty, nasty backstabbing people. Boring work. Field work drilling wells at reeking chemical factories peopled by assholes. Drillers who did things illegally and very dangerously. Wearing Tyvek in Louisiana in the summer. I’d live under a bridge before I did that shit again.

Second worst job -
Headhunter. Great people, but I had the wrong psychological makeup to do it.

My first job was in a sweatshop. Wasn’t so bad, really. It was a factory that made furniture for beauty shops. I learned how to drive a nail there, which is a lot more that I got out of the environmental gig.

Best Job- being a dishwasher at a very small restaurant. nobody talked to me, and it was fairly simple, and i could listen to headphones the whole time, and my bosses were great people.

Worst job- working at the main office of the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. Sure the pay was good, but there were lots of people that bothered me, and most of them seemed puppet like, and my bosses were very strange. At least i didn’t have to mess with customers.

Best job;
Where i am now, a Mac repair tech at Small Dog Electronics in Waitsfield, Vt, i get paid to take machines apart and put them together all day, we can bring our dogs to work, benefits are awesome, 100% health and dental, health insurace for up to 2 dogs, free beverages, a health club onsite, completely open hours, i can decide to come in and leave on my own personal schedule, no punching in or out (i’m on salary) we have cookouts in the summer for lunch, great employee discount, and a completely laid back, casual atmosphere

(in fact, i’m posting this on a G4 tower i’m refurbishing for the inventory)

SDE is on my short list of “best places i have ever worked”, on a scale of 1-10, SDE is a 20 :smiley:

Worst “job” (the memories still haunt me to this day);

a traveling photographer for wal-mart (specifically, american studios, a subcontractor with wally-world)

the job was pure hell, and thanks to that “job” i still feel uncomfortable around kids, never really cared originally, but now, showing me a kid is like holding up a cross wrapped in garlic to a vampire i’ll go out of my way to put as much distance between me and the kid as possible…

the job’s scarred me for life, i’m just starting to slowly recover, i’m surprised i never snapped and went postal

just some examples, when i was hired on, i was told i’d have a fixed territory that would not expand, lets say a 150 mile radius from home, any wally-worlds in that area were my responsibility

every week the territory got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, hell, i put 30,000 miles on my poor old Dodge Shadow in less than a year…

i had to get up early on the first day, leave from York, Maine to drive to some wally world off in the boonies of Massachusets, for example, set up the “studio”, which i carried with me in the trunk/back seat of the Shadow, on top of that, the studio had defective equipment, a tripod where only 2 legs worked properly, the backdrop support rack had to be secured with duct tape, the posing table had broken 2 times previously, even before they gave it to me (one time it actually collapsed while a kid was sitting on it, he fell off the back of the table and broke his arm ) every week i told the company the equipment was substandard and dangerous, they didn’t care

if i was too far to comute (99.9995% of the time) i had to stay in a motel, and since the per-diem was so minimal, most of the motels were run down, vermin infested sleazepits that didn’t even have basic cable, heck, i ended up buying a super nintendo to take with me, just so i’d have something to do after the shoot

they supposedly reimbursed me for gas, lodging and food, but it took almost a month to get the check, a month delay, meanwhile I was paying for food, gas, oil, and lodging out of my own pocket…

one time i had to call in sick, severe flu, headache, vomiting, fever, sore throat, i could barely talk, i was shedding virus like crazy, and the manager still wanted me to come in “just to take down names for later”, and tried to threaten to fire me if i didn’t.

my freind, who was listening in, said, quite loudly “You know, Russ, if they fire you for calling in sick, you could always take them to the labor board and sue them”…, the manager backed down right after that

another time, the muffler on my Shadow fell off, just behind the catylitic converter, the little bastard was LOUD, i tried to get time off to get the muffler replaced, management said “no”, i had to drive an entire week in that thing, i got to the point where i had to wear my shotgun-style “earmuff” hearing protectors to save my hearing (if i spent a week in that thing unprotected, i would have gone deaf) until i could get a new muffler on the weekend, i’m amazed i didn’t get pulled over and ticketed…

i had to shoot photos according to a “script” and try to “upsell” the parents on the better poses, while at the same time making a complete fool of myself to try to get the little smeggers to smile, making up my own poses was not permitted (i did anyway, i didn’t care, my “unofficial” poses sold better anyway)

as a side story, this one was funny, a couple brings in this cute little girl, nice red Easter dress on, she wouldn’t smile in any of the photos, i pulled over the toybox and let her choose the toy she wanted…

she chose the football

she was laughing and smiling, having a great time, it really brought out her personality

i got yelled at, because it wasn’t an “official” or “appropriate” prop…


“because she was a little girl in a cute dress”
so, your point?
“it’s not a “girls” toy, you should have given her the stuffed B’harni doll”
she hated it, she had taste
“just don’t do it again”

by the time i gave my notice, i didn’t care anymore, i spent all my time hunched behind the camera, directing the parents to move the little smeggers into position, muttering angrily to myself, i think i scared quite a few people…

mission accomplished

that job drove me this close to either snapping and going postal, or suffering a complete mental breakdown…

however, on a happier note, i don’t think american studios is in business anymore

Best Job:

The one I have now. I am Senior Network Analyst at a Lottery corporation. We have a large budget (~$10 million), and I get to do and work with some really cool sh!t.

Worst Job(s):

Chicken Packer - I worked at an egg farm, and would pack chickens to a truck so they could get slaughtered. I packed 4 chickens per hand.

Rock Crusher - I had a summer job for a friend of my fathers. He “blew-up” the beach in-front of his house. It was all shale (sp?) rock. I hauled tons of rock around his property and made rock walls. They were about 30 inches high and 18 inches deep. I probably made about 3km worth of walls. Some rocks were quite large, so I had a big sledge hammer to break them up.

Deck Hand - I worked for 5 summers on my uncles fishing boat. It was a commercial salmon packing boat. We packed 75 tons of salmon. We would work sometimes for 20+ hours straight (my record was 32 hours) sorting salmon. So I was waist deep in salmon for hours at a time.

All the jobs built character (except packing chickens). Being a deck hand sucked some times, but the pay was awesome (for a teenager), I saw some wicked scenery (west coast of BC, from San Juan to Ketchikan Alaska), and I learned a lot of good skills.


The one I have now. Clinical Nurse in a dialysis unit. The co workers I interact with on a daily basis welcomed me as a member of the team, and there’s a very “family” feel about the company. The patients I care for, for the most part, are so upbeat and have such resolve and strength of character that taking part in their treatment reminds me of why I went to nursing school in the first place. The pay isn’t the best, but I love what I do.

Utilization Review Nurse for a multi-national insurance company. It was my job to find the most cost efficient (cheap) way for our members to be treated while they were in the hospital. Deny an MRI if a C.T. or an X-ray hadn’t been done. No second opinion? No surgery. Post op? Can’t it be outpatient? Does the member really NEED to be there two nights? It got to the point I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. Literally. Money kicked ass, but there are more important things than money.

Best job: (Current) Managing Consultant with small software consulting firm. Challenging work, work with good friends, nice pay and flexible hours / telecommuting ability.

Worst job: Commercial construction, specifically a job we had when I was a teenager pouring concrete footings for some new manufacturing equipment at a facility that made plywood/particle board. We had to work tying rebar in 100+ heat near an operating production line. The stench from the chemicals was overwhelming not to mention the liquid from the vats sloshing out occasionally and splashing on us as we worked below. Maybe that’s where the third ear came from. :wink:


Best Job: Temp work shredding old documents at an MRI clinic. Calm, good company, I could listen to music all day, and I got to look at MRI films. Also, those papers are great for taking out aggressions on.

Worst: Take your pick-fast food jobs. KFC, Arby’s, McDonald’s. Arby’s and McDonald’s in particular insisted on putting me on the prep line and the person who had a voice decibel level of inaudible on register. Neither place understood the meaning of “onion allergy- just the smell of those raw onions has me nauseous for the entire shift.” And the grease trap- gag. (insert puking smiley).
If you’ve ever worked a rush by yourself (register, prep, handout) while holding together a sliced fingertip with napkins and rubber gloves, you’d understand.
Second worst: Telemarketing. I lasted two weeks- the manager hung over your shoulder and insisted that you get those people in so they can hard-sell vacations to them. I’m sure you all are fully aware of how stupid “We’re offering you a COMPLIMENTARY vacation to ::insert location here::” sounds. I was fired for not making quota, but was ready to quit after a manager told me to hard-sell the recent widow because “now she’ll have time to travel”.

BEST: Worked in a restaurant once where the chef made three things very clear:

The food WILL be good.
The place WILL be clean.
The customers WILL be happy.

So long as those three things were true, he did not give a hoot in hell what you did. He actually caught the dishwasher smoking dope, once. Gave him hell, NOT for being stoned on the job, but for taking risks as far as police and health inspectors went. The lecture ended with “… and NEXT time you wanna get stonkered, get yo’ ass in your car, and go somewhere where you ain’t my problem! THEN get back here and get to work!”

I was amazed. The boss did not care about anything except those three factors, and health inspectors. You could eat whatever you wanted, he didn’t care. You could goldbrick right in front of the man, he didn’t care. So long as those three factors were met, you were golden.

It was a summer job, but during that summer, I don’t think I spent more than twenty dollars on food, for three months. Best job I ever had.

WORST JOB: Another restaurant job where the owner made his wife and their three children into management trainees.

Being told how to make an omelet by the chef is one thing.
Being told how to make an omelet by the owner is another.
Being told how to make an omelet by the owner’s wife is pretty bad.
Being told how to make an omelet by the owner’s 20-year-old son is frustrating.
Being told how to make an omelet by the owner’s 13-year-old girl is enraging.
Being told how to make an omelet by ALL of the sonsabitches, FIVE DIFFERENT SETS OF INSTRUCTIONS, MOST OF WHICH ARE CONTRADICTORY TO EACH OTHER, all in ONE MORNING, is unacceptable.

Weirdly enough, I did not quit, nor was I fired. The next day, I came in for work and was told to go home; place had closed down due to a kitchen fire the previous evening, shift after mine.

In the time it took them to repair, recondition, and reopen, I’d found another job…

Best Job - Writing Environmental Regulations. Time-consuming, detailed, nit-picky work and I loved it. Boss left me alone and I worked my own calendar.

**2nd best ** - what I’m doing now. Answering people’s environmental questions. Basically being paid to surf the internet and talk on the phone. I don’t trust this; I’m busy but not busy. Waiting for the other shoe to drop…

**Worst Job ** - Picking Peaches in Alabama in Summer. Hell on Earth. Underage, underpaid, but in desperate need of money. 12 hour days in 100°+ heat with 85%+ humidity ; little food, shade, water, or pay; Poisonous snakes, fire ants and mosquito swarms; wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts and hats to protect from the sun, but being driven mad by the itching. Peach fuzz + sweat + sunburn = never again.

**2nd Worst ** - Telemarketer. Cold-calls for insurance. I was fired.

Best job: Working for an environmental consulting firm, contracting with the power company to inspect property for trees growing into the electrical wires. In Mendocino County, California. Fresh air, no supervision, hiking and four-wheeling for a living. Being a chick in a hard-hat and orange vest apparently really turns some guys on, too.

Worst job: It’s a tie. One was the above job, but in Silicon Valley. Totally different job there. Self-absorbed millionaires and wannabes who were way bent out of shape about a service that they’d already paid for. Huh? Mean dogs, and egomaniacs and every frickin’ person had a “special request.” I even got sued for supposedly “specifically targeting” someone’s trees for overpruning. The real kicker was that they had chinese elms in their backyard, which the tree guys had trimmed in a very special style and done a fantastic job with it, but the owners were so ignorant, they didn’t realize they’d gotten about $500 worth of tree work done FOR FREE. Needless to say, the case was dismissed.
Other worst job: Financial analysis. Job was good. The people I worked with were AWFUL. Lawyers and stockbrokers are the worst people on the planet (besides real estate agents.) Present company excepted, of course. :slight_smile:

Best Job:
Working in a frozen yogurt store in high school - Basically me and about 5 of my buddies would just mess around all day and hang out. Downside - Gets kind of boring in the winter time with no customers and only you on duty at night.

Even better job:
After we all got fired from the frozen yogurt store for a variety of reasons I can’t recall (I remember the words “flagrant” and “massive” were used) I got a job at a Haagendaz in the mall where I was the only guy with a bunch of hot chicks.
Worst job:
My current job sucks pretty bad. Pretty much any consulting job - shitty pay, lots of travel (although I get to travel to Amsterdam), long hours working for less than competant managers all worshiping a partnership or some crackpot CEO who builds a cult of personality around himself. I liked my last consulting job better where I used to make Powerpoint slides and use crazy meaningless words.

Worst non professional jobs:
Box factory worker, Postage meter tester, Plant nursery monkey, warehouse “picker”, telemarketing operator, collater/filer, fast food worker, grocery store bagger

Best Job: Any of them that had to do with Real Estate, present job included. Although the people are generally not very nice, I have some sort of passion for RE. Last job was a secretary at a RE office- the boss was terrible but the job was wonderful. Nothing better than talking to a first time homebuyer who is sooo excited. And then my current job (although everyday I am getting farther and farther away from dealing with the RE part of it). I am Director of Operations for a home inspection company that is franchising nationally. I was originally answering the phones and entering the reports, which I loved. Now I am on the road delivering candy to the RE agents, going to seminars, and talking to stuffy businessmen about buying a franchise, but I do love it.

Worst Job: That’s difficult b/c there are just so many!
#1 Working in customer service at a newspaper. You would think that someone not getting their paper in the morning was some sort of life or death disaster. They would call up screammmmiinngg at me.
#2 Ride Operator at the local boardwalk. Although the people were always happy b/c they were going on rides, standing in 90 degree heat for 8 - 10 hours and doing nothing but pushing the same buttons over and over again was a wee bit boring.