What was the WORST job you've ever had

Not me, but a friend of mine…

He worked in a medical waste processing plant.

They would get waste (blood, amputated limbs and other stuff I don’t want to imagine) in big tubs from hospitals, and they would have to tip them into a big machine which would grind them up and do whatever it is they do with it.

He describes how, at the end of each day, they would have to hose the whole thing down with bleach - including washing the spatter from the walls. And how it wasn’t air conditioned in summer and got rather, um… fragrant.

I suppose someone has to do it, but I can’t think of anything worse.

Not as bad as the medical waste job (ICK!), but still my worst:

Warehousing ice cream for Meijer. The ads were fairly attractive. 8 bucks an hour, with lots of overtime? Sign me up. Note to self–whenever an ad makes a point of mentioning “fast-paced” and “challenging environment” in the same sentence, move along. No, wait. Run along.

8 - 16 hour days. You go home when all the trucks for the day are loaded. In the summer, particularly during the July and August heat waves when everybody wants ice cream, this takes forever, even with the added temp help.

Outside, the temperature is in the 90’s. Inside, it’s so cold your breath crackles. I’d wear 3 layers of protective gear and still freeze my ass off. When I wasn’t freezing my ass off, I was sweating like a pig because the carts we loaded onto the trucks were about 500 lbs fully loaded.

To load each of these carts you had to run through a towering maze of ice cream pallets, choosing just the right amount for each order. 25 cartons vanilla, 3 cartons rocky road, 15 golden vanilla, 2 cherry, ad nauseum. You did all of this while dodging crazed forklift drivers and playing tetris with oddly shaped ice cream cartons. If you slowed down, you’d freeze to the floor. You also had to be careful about grabbing ice cream off of the pallets–at -20 degrees farhrenheit, ice cream is hard enough to draw blood if it drops on you. I know this from experience.

Occasionally, a truck’s a/c would fail, forcing us to reload the whole shipment. One time we worked straight through from 9 Sunday morning to roughly 2 am Monday morning, after multiple failures. The next day we were called in for a meeting where the foul-mouthed Klingon bastard who managed the place bitched us out for not working hard enough.

The weekends were the worst, though. They’d turn the temperatures down even lower, to -30 fahrenheit (from the normal -20). In the far aisles, where the giant fans were, wind chills regularly got down pretty darn close to -100.

Regular turnover for new employees was four hours. I lasted two months. To be fair, I made a lot of money off of that job, and I was probably in the best shape of my life–I looked like the Crow. :slight_smile: But whenever I think a job sucks, I look back on the ice cream and suddenly life doesn’t feel so bad.

Slortar, have you read Tom Wolfe’s novel A Man In Full? (There’s a main character in it who has a job similar to the one you described, and Wolfe portrays it (as well as the cameraderie and hostility among the workers) very vividly. I think you might like the book – not just because the novel is very good, but because there’s nothing quite like seeing your experience captured in fiction.

Worked for Ticketbastard, I mean Ticketmaster for three months. Hated it. I was preggers at the time, always nauseous. To be tied to a cubby was painful. Forget having the need to urp, they wouldn’t let you away from your cubby. The upselling drove me nuts. It got to the point where, for a Bette Midler concert, we had to upsell the usual Ticketbastard club thing, FedEx’ing the tickets, hotel reservations, CD’s, and other stuff. Couldn’t do it. Parking cost an hour of pay. They were very stingy on breaks (forget the mandatory 15 minutes for every four hours, they would count your bathroom runs as part of your break).

I quit showing up.

After that I worked for a wig store in a mall. We were required to wear the products, which is understandable. However, at the time I had thick almost waist length curly hair. It was difficult to wear the falls and wigs. I was pushed constantly to get my hair cut. When I refused, suddenly I found myself being written up for imaginary infractions. I stepped away from the booth. No, I was on the other side of the booth. You didn’t meet the goal. YOU try selling $500 on a night when you can could the number of people in the mall on one hand.

Quit that one also.

I have loved the rest of the jobs I have had. May have not like the bosses &/or cow-orkers, but Ticketbastard and the wig place were hell.

What is corn detassling? Is it done in the field? What’s so nasty about it?

When I was in high school, they still let students drive the bus in SC. I figured, “What the hell, I’ve got to go anyway, I might as well get paid.” I got a bus early in my junior year, they were all high school students, and I was the only white person on the bus. It was one continuous test of wills. I drove the same bus until three months before I graduated.

I haven’t had very many jobs and I have stuck around for even the sucky ones. My job as a construction laborer, however, lasted all of two days. I hated literally every minute of it. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be a cushy, comfortable job, but I was not prepared fo all the dirt, mud, dust and noise that I was exposed to, not to mention the ever-present electrical and height hazards. While I was working I kept telling myself that I’d get used to it. It was a swing shift job (4:00 PM to 2:00 AM) six days a week, 60 hours total. While the overtime and the bigger paychecks that I expected sounded attractive in spite of the long hours (which i was alrady used to from being a manager), when I realized that I’d never see my family or friends or have a chance to enjoy evenings out except for on Sundays, I knew I had to get out of this job fast, and so I did.

So why did I take such a nasty job that was such a mistmatch for my aptitude and skills? I had been working as a manager for Burger King. When a new owner took over the franchise and screwed us out of a lot of things a lot of managers were bailing out, including the district manager who just quit without notice. One of the fellow managers told me this was not a good sign, so he encouraged me to quit and come work for the construction company he had started working at. he told me the work was a breeze and he sold me on the idea that there were no more stupid/rude customers to put up with anymore. It sounded like a good idea, but when I was hired on they placed me on the swing shift when I wanted the day shift. Since I was desperate and I didn’t want to go down with the sinking ship that had become of my old job I took it. In retrospect I should have stuck it out at my old job and sought better employment on my own, which I did find three days after I left the construction job.

Corn detasseling:


It’s hard manual labor in the hot sun all day.

Thanks for the link, romansperson - I went to Purdue, but I don’t recall ever hearing a call for detasselers. Then again, I wasn’t looking for work when I was there.

It doesn’t sound like a job I’d like.

In order of suckiness and how miserable the job made me:

• Nurses’ Aide in a nursing home – My job was to change poopy sheets with patients still in their beds, empty and clean bedpans, bathe all of my patients, empty catheter bags, feed patients who couldn’t feed themselves, lift patients out of bed and put ‘em in their wheelchairs or take the ambulatory ones for a short walk. (I’m 5’ 2" and at the time was lucky to weigh 110 soaking wet.) This was in Ohio during a record hot summer with no AC, wearing a polyester nurse uniform… for minimum wage. Two reasons I stayed all summer: I needed money for the next year of college… and my mom was the head RN on my shift and a pretty good boss. Even so, that was literally the shittiest job ever and I am NOT making a pun. The scent of Eau de Poop does not wash out of the skin easily so I’d drive home – after scrubbing out several times, having washed my hands in between every patient – stinking of poo. I stank for the entire summer and had to trade men for Cheetos as a result.

• Grunt on Assembly Line – This was after college to earn enough money to move to Florida. They made little tiny mufflers (about a foot long) for something like heat exchangers (?) or heat dischargers (?). It was something that I didn’t and still don’t know what it was or why it needed a little tiny muffler, but I had to inspect the bastards as they came out of a 2000-degree oven to make sure all the braize melted properly and sealed all the seams. That sucked because of the 12-hour shifts on Friday and Saturday nights (midnight to noon or something like that), and because it was hotter than anything, even in the middle of the damn night. I did that for three weekends and when I called off, “forever” one night, the boss said, “But Dogzilla, I can’t give you a positive reference.” I laughed and said, “Dude. I have a degree in Journalism, two prestigious internships under my belt and two other jobs right now as we speak. This job will never appear on my resume and you will never be called upon to provide a reference. Thanks for the extra bucks while I made 'em.” At least I had the class to call in.

• Customer Service Representative for a now-defunct car rental company. People rented cars, then called me to complain. I had to send them away either happy or not quite as pissed off as they were when they called me. It really sucks to listen to people bitch for 8 hours at a time. My hat is off to all CSRs everywhere. I had a headache for a year.

and finally, my honorable mentions:

• Phonathon Caller – My alma mater recruited students to cold call alumni and hassle them for donations. It wasn’t really that bad and not quite as bad as telemarketing – at least some people are willing to make donations to their former schools. But you’d make 75-80 phone calls a night for maybe 5 donations. It was tedious and too closely related to sales for me. But I did have fun making top ten lists of reasons not to donate.

• Retail at the Mall – Also just the sort of thing I hate. It was for The Limited and although I was happy about the 20% employee discount, I just really hate sales, am no fashion plate (I can barely match), and resented the requirement to wear only their clothing while working. I understand the requirement, but I was working for college money and didn’t want to spend half my paychecks so I’d have sufficient wardrobe to work several days in a row without having to wear the same outfit. Did I mention that I hate sales?

Clearly, wiping asses for a summer was the worst job.

Man, I was gonna post about the summer I spent bustin’ up concrete sidewalks and patios with a sledgehammer (for a lordly $4 an hour), but after some of the horror stories above, I’d feel like a wimp.

I personally don’t think it’s “nasty”. However, you ride around in a truck (I don’t know what the technical term is, but it takes you through the corn fields) and pull the tassles out the of tops of the corn stalk-the truck goes fast. I think it has something to do with controlling the reproduction process. My arms got all bloody and cut up from the corn leaves, then I wore gloves and a long sleeve shirt but it was so hot my hands were sweating awful and so was the rest of me. This is (I believe) at the end of August when it was sweltering hot. Also, this was before we all knew about sunblock, so I was also burnt to a crisp.

I was 15 years old…I came home every night and cried in a tub of cold water.

So, I guess when I have it bad I can also say “At least this isn’t as bad as detasslin’ corn!”

One last thing, the medical waste job: EW EW EW EW EW!!! Way worse in my opinion.

Summer of 1967 - Burlington Hosiery Factory. This was before there were panty hose. Remember garter belts and nylons that were neatly creased? That’s because some poor schmuck slipped the nylons on two dozen aluminum legs and sent them through a steam machine. While two dozen legs were going in one side, two dozen more were coming out the other side. It was at least six thousand degrees, with a bunch of these machines running, and the workers running back and forth, putting nylons on legs one side, taking nylons off legs on the other . (If it were hotter I’d say so.) It took about eleven seconds to learn how to do it, then you just ran around sweating. I lasted a whole month, a real credit to my perseverance, I thought. One morning my boss came up and asked how I was, and I said, “I QUIT!”

I thought that was pretty bad until I met someone who was once a “chicken de-beaker.” If I had to choose, I’d probably stick to being a nylon crease steamer.

Now I do retail inventory, and it comes in second. Nothing like crawling around the floor of a home depot scanning lumber and and sixty pound bags of concrete.

Still better than a chicken de-beaker.

I hate to admit to it, but I’m doing this job even as we speak. I’m too damn old for the on-your-feet, on-your-knees, on-your ass that this job requires, but I do it anyway because I need the damn money. Six to seven hour jobs without a break, because they dock your pay if you take one. Jobs where you work until 2:30 or 3:00 AM and are then expected to report to another job at 6:00 AM. Jobs where you drive twenty to thirty miles from your base and end up working only two or three hours. On the plus side, the hours are flexible and no one fusses if you take a day or two off, provided you notify them in advance. The pay isn’t too bad, considering what’s available for people in my age group. By and large, though, it is certainly out and away the worst job I’ve ever had.

My worst job had to be the telemarketing job…I actually worked at this firm for about 11 months… the only reason I made it that long was because of their extremely relaxed attendance policy. If you worked less than 38 hrs/wk you made $6/hr… if you worked at least 38hrs a week you made $11/hr… I worked maybe one full week a month…enough to make my car payment and insurance, and some spending money. I quit after 11 months because I didn’t see where it would be any kind of achievement to say I’d been there a whole year.

I worked once for this place that manufactured after market printer rollers. I worked 5pm-5am Fri, Sat and Sun… I was on my feet the whole time, moving between two machines…the coolant they used made the building smell like a pigsty. We got a ten minute break after 3 hours, then 3 hours later we got a 20 minute lunch (Paid! Woo-hoo!)…then 3 hours after that we’d get another 10 minute break. I found out I was pregnant when the smell of the coolant started making me nauseous. So I quit.

good evening friends,

from the fall of 1978 to the spring of 1979, i ran the tongue saw at a slaughter house.

i spent ten hours a day standing in ankle deep frigid, bloody water. every 90 seconds, a beef tongue dropped onto my table. my job was to pick it up, saw the throat meat off and toss it on the trim line and hand the tongue to my assistant, the tongue packer, who sacked them in plastic bags and packed them six to a box.

In order of suckitude:

  1. Overnight shift at a Byrne Dairy/gas station. Lasted two nights. The first night wasn’t so bad, the guy I worked with was at least decent although trying to put the make on me. Second night he had to leave early and left me at 6AM with the incoming resident Queen Bitch of the Convenience Store Clerks. This woman bitched that I made coffee wrong, then when the deli girl came in she was ever so discreet by taking her around the corner of the cigarette display and complaining loudly about “these stupid people (the manager) keeps hiring.” Before I physically assaulted her overweight mulleted ass, I left the register key on the counter, walked out to my car and drove home. The manager was understanding and I got a job waitressing a few days later (not the best but making $300/week in cash was nice).

  2. Dunkin’ Donuts. A crap-ass Dunkin’ Donuts right off the highway, 25 miles from where I lived. Up at 4 in the morning to get there at 6. Walked out when three busloads of French Canadian tourists piled in at the same time wanting hot sandwiches and frozen latte things, all speaking in heavily accented English or straight up French, in which case they pointed at the sign behind me to indicate what they wanted. I was the only one working - well, except for my manager, who wouldn’t come out of her office to help me. When she told me that she had paperwork that needed to be done, I threw my Dunkin’ Donuts visor cap (may it burn in hell) and told her the 85 Quebec customers in the other room were now her problem. I made it two weeks.

  3. Operator at an answering service. Starting out typing the text for text pagers was fun at first, but when you got to answering cable company after hours calls (screaming redneck: “What happened to my Wrestlemania XIV PAY PER VIEW!!! I’m gonna sue you bastards!” Me: “There’s a power outage, sir…” ad nauseum) it got to really blow. Add to that ridiculously combustive office politics (never, ever work in an office with a 97% female workforce, especially when they’re undereducated and bored), a married couple for bosses (Jehovah’s Witnesses at that), and a pathetically low pay rate. I did end up lasting almost two years, if only for the fact that I got some friends hired along with me and we got each other through a lot of the nonsense.
    Now happily employed as a graphics/web designer. And I still flip off the call center when I drive by.

After reading this thread I mine doesn’t seem so bad…

I was a waitress at a pioneer themed restaurant. There were no waiters, only waitresses…and of course we had to dress in full pioneer garb, including a bonnet, white cotton apron (that we must keep clean at all times) and an ankle length skirt. Try carring a tray with food for 6 people while wearing an outfit similar to this, only with fuller skirts. :rolleyes:
Not to mention that the other waitresses were evil, unhelpful bitches. I lasted about 3 weeks before I walked out.

A job I had right out of high school…at my high school. I repaired old textbooks, inventoried the library books, and had to go and clean out all the lockers and then put new locks on some. Oh dear God, the things people left behind, and the things that feast upon them. :eek:

Ahh … the memories ! Although your shitty jobs make me feel much better about mine ! (Tongue Saw? :eek: )

I’ve had a couple, usually (as noted above) horrible because of the boss, rather than the job itself.

When I first started at a coffee shop chain - I ended up staying for four years - the manager hated me, for some reason. She decided I was too dumb to use the cash register or the cappuccino machine. So when a customer asked to buy something, or for a hot drink, I had to go summon someone else and get back to my task of bussing tables and doing dishes. Once I got in trouble because I was obliged to make a drink because everyone else was on break/somewhere else (I think I would have gotten in even more trouble if I had said to the customer ‘I’m sorry, no, you can’t have a cappuccino’), and as I had never been shown how to do it I made kind of a mess. Eventually all my friends who worked there sat her down and convinced her that I was a liability because I didn’t know how to do anything but dishes. I ran into her again a few years later, she wrote me up for a uniform infraction - I wore pants with belt loops, without a belt!

The manager eventually got fired, after driving away the regulars from a number of different stores. Heh, heh.

After that I worked at a coffee shop/deli where I, the vegetarian, was in charge of selling veal (‘How’s the veal?’ the customers would ask. ‘Popular,’ I would answer) and slicing meat (sawing an inch of fat off a procuitto, for instance - my co-workers would point and laugh about what a gross thing I had to do - while they ate it!)

And once, I was hired (as a temp) to work in this office for a woman called Julie, who was one of these people … who … talked … verrrrry … slowly … and with no apparent ability to understand or make herself understood to others. She would just repeat herself until you understood, or walked away, whichever came first. Also, she had no idea what she was doing. She asked me to write a letter to someone and I asked if there was a template or something. She went “Mmm … I think Sally worked on those before, so find the file called ‘Sally,’ there might be something in there …” And something was wrong with my computer, the Save As function wasn’t working. My mistake was mentioning this to her, she plunked herself in front of my computer and spent over an hour trying to understand what I had told her and ignoring my ‘Don’t worry about it, I can work around it’ pleading. I don’t think she ever did catch on. There was a fire drill one morning, my heart leapt with joy at the idea of getting out of that hellhole for a few precious minutes.

I arrived on a Wednesday to replace a guy who had started on Monday and who was so miserable that he gave his notice on Tuesday. By Thursday the boss pulled me aside and said “I know this is a hard job to fill, and you seem like a clever person, so please be honest with me - are you going to stay? If not tell me now so we can get another temp.” So on Friday, me and the guy I replaced (with our combined six days of experience) had to train yet another temp, who must have been wondering what was up. I know it doesn’t sound like much, especially after what some of y’all have been through, but it was hideous. It paid very, very well but it was almost physically painful.

But none of this beats my friend who once had a job removing the labels from endless tins of tuna.

On the first morning, he went to the bathroom. When he came back, his supervisor expressed great surprise - no-one had come back from the bathroom before !