What's the worst job you ever had?

For me it was filling dirt into little plastic pots by hand. It was for a local plant nursery. We scooped the dirt off a conveyor belt and packed it into trays that held the plastic pots. We had to level the dirt off by hand and whatever spilled on the ground had to be swept up and put back into the conveyor. The bosses were real strict about not wasting any dirt.

When the trays were filled up we had to spread them out inside the greenhouses. Two Mexican ladies walked around and put seeds into each of the pots. I was jealous of them.

We also had to load up trays full of flowers into delivery trucks. Grown flowers in wet soil are HEAVY. I’d literally get so tired and sore I couldn’t lift anymore. The bosses really didn’t like it when I sat down.

I was 20 and made like 6.75 an hour. I lasted about a day and a half there.

I used to work in a plastic press. There was a big machine that would clamp two big metal mold plates together and inject molten plastic into the mold. It would cool for about half a minute and then pull open. I pulled the still hot plastic pieces off the mold plate, throw the bad ones into a recycle box, and packed the good ones into boxes. And I had to stand for the entire eight hour shift. I worked there for two years (although the second year I got switched into the warehouse which was much better).

I did hot roofing one summer when I was a teen in Florida. Worked with 450+ F tar on roofs. Very, very dangerous. Very, very hot. Usually worked 12 hour days when the weather was good. When the weather wasn’t good, didn’t get paid. Quit the job after I took over for the guy who got injured, who had taken over for the guy who had gotten injured, and then got injured. My injury was mild - hot tar on my fingertips took off the skin.

Oh, and my boss was a speed freak who would dose up, show us how fast we were supposed to work, then he’d crash while expecting us to keep up that pace. I almost got fired once when I broke a bone in my hand and cursed - we were working in a retirement community at the time. I kept working after I broke the bone, since that was just a minor injury. Thankfully Florida doesn’t have any unions so I was able to work through that injury. I think we made $6/hour, which was pretty decent money for me at the time when the minimum wage was $3.35, about 30 years ago.

I’ll let you know when I finally get one.

My worst job is being unemployed.

Stuffing letterboxes with junk mail. I understand you’re not allowed to do this in the US, but it’s quite the cottage industry in Oz. Generally schoolkids on bikes, or pensioners with shopping trolleys. You stuff every mailbox that doesn’t have a “No Junk Mail” sticker, and then head back for more.

Anyway, I was about 15, didn’t have a carrier on my bike, or a shopping trolley, and the first bit of junk mail I was given to deliver was a local newspaper. I could only carry about 100 of them at a time, so I had to walk back about 10 times to get refills. At one house, a loose dog bit me on the knee. I was paid by the piece, not by the hour, and when I worked out after the first afternoon what I’d made, it came to something like $1.20 an hour. This was about a fifth of the minimum wage I could have made as a checkout chick or in a burger joint.

I didn’t go back for a second day.

I worked as a construction laborer one summer. One of my jobs was to load broken chunks of concrete into a wheelbarrow, push it up a rickety board into a sweltering semi trailer (easily 120 degrees), haul it to the back, dump it and return. Over and over again, for eight hours a day. There was this guy who had been a laborer for 30 years who showed me a few tricks that helped me survive, such as always locking my elbows when pushing a wheelbarrow and let my legs do the work.

When I feel overwhelmed at work now, I think, “At least I have an inside job.”

Working retail inventory for a company that did nothing but.

Shoveling chromite dust at a firebrick factory. It has hot and so noisy that when I dropped my shovel I couldn’t hear it hit the ground – and they didn’t provide ear protection. After that first day I brought by own. The dust got everywhere, and on one occasion I had to take two baths when I got home to get it all off (they didn’t provide breathing masks, either. I brought my own). Finally, safety clearly wasn’t a top concern – I saw a guy switch off a machine while standing in a puddle of water and give himself a shock. And I didn’t see anybody “tag” the on/off switch on another machine when he went inside to clean it.

There were guys there who’d worked at the plant for 20 years and more. I quit after two weeks.

I did quite a few horrible jobs while backpacking; picking grapes isn’t that bad, as it’s a fair-weather outdoor job, with not too much heavy lifting, but when the crop’s so bad due to drought that you just make back your bus fare you spent getting there in 6 hours? Naaah…

Also worked in a kiwifruit packhouse for a few weeks, going through the boxes from the fridge, checking them for damage, and counting either 92 or 96 of them into boxes, depending on the box. They were so cold my hands went numb in about 5 minutes, and you had to go really fast, not let any with even slight damage through and keep count, while the section boss wandered around shouting at people who slowed down even slightly.
Again, there were several women there who had been there for years…

Being dropped off in an industrial area with a tray of bagged sweets, with the idea being you’d sell the bags of sweets to the workers. I lasted about two hours then called my mum in tears asking her to come and get me.

Door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman.

I went from there to a minimum-wage job, and doubled my income.

I had this same job. RGIS I believe it was called. Lasted about a month. Terrible job. However it did provide me with a few funny stories, like the time we inventoried a Victoria’s Secret and I had to count up a box of giant panties.

Working in a nursing home right out of high school. I had the worst shift (7:00 to 3:00) so it encompassed both preparing the patients for breakfast and lunch, plus getting meds out and anything else the night shift didn’t do. We were perpetually short-handed and I had the worst wing (people that were immobile) on top of it. I cried every day after work because of how some of the patients were treated and how we didn’t have time to get everything completed each day. I hated it and quit after a week.

I now have the utmost respect for anyone who can do that, especially long-term. It is a thankless job.

Originally posted here:

During high school in the summers I worked at a metal foundry that recycled aluminum and magnesium for minimum wage. One common job was for a dump truck to drop a load of metal in an area and for myself and another guy to separate out the different types of scrap either by hand, or with smaller scrap, like crushed aluminum cans, with a modified snow shovel. It was absolutely back breaking work. At least the bosses were aware of how tough it was because they let us switch off on different tasks, which included driving skip loaders to move the scrap piles, and other menial jobs that weren’t as brutal. Once I had my driver’s license, I did deliveries and pickups of smaller metal samples, parts for the machines, etc., which at least made it less like hell on earth.

A close second was my last job where our boss basically worked everyone to death writing proposals for a defense company. He constantly criticized everything we did, and even when we won the proposals, he treated it like some kind of terrible obligation we created for the company because now he had to hire new people, etc. This guy seemed to hate all his employees and running his company, which I will never understand to this day. The kicker, however, is when the economy took a nosedive, he decided to do a ‘salary survey’ of the industry and lower several people’s salaries, including my own, to below what I was making at my previous job. We had the opportunity to “make it up in bonuses”, which were largely unattainable. I left for another job as soon as could after that and even today I hear the working conditions are awful with incredibly high turnover. The guy who took my job after me (I was there a year and seven months) lasted less than six months.

When I was around 19 I had a job as a delievery driver for a “fundraising” outfit.

The way it worked, they had female telephone operators calling everyone within a certain area, touting fundraising efforts for a certain charity or group (Boys and Girls Club, senior citizen organiztions, etc.). They usually sold pizza kits or coupon books. After they made a sale on the phone, it was my job to drive around, deliever the item, and collect the money.

I had a feeling that something wasn’t right when I dropped off the money one night and one of the owners was on the phone nervously negotiating the price of a eight-ball of cocaine.

Also: the girls who worked the phones stayed until 4 in the morning, even though they stopped the fundraising calls at 9 pm. Turns out that they started a phone-sex operation at 10pm, and the girls worked all night.

After working for them for six months, I showed up to work one evening, and the door was locked and the storefront was empty. No phones, no girls, no owners, nothing.

As for the delieveries themselves, I had a raucous time. Had a gun pointed at me one night. Another night, a middle-aged woman invited me in and tried to seduce me.

Front-gate surveys at Universal Studios in Orlando. Took the job with a friend during the summer, so our first day was in the middle of July. I think it was about 40 degrees Centigrade/100 F.

We were supposed to flag down every third person entering the park gates and ask them about 5 minutes’ worth of questions about how they traveled to Orlando, where they were staying, how often they visited and how much money they made.

I’m sure you can imagine how happy are to be stopped and questioned at length after spending half an hour standing in line to enter a theme park in 100 degree heat and 99% relative humidity.

2 1/2 years with the County Department of Social Services doing eligibility intake for various welfare programs. I’d list all the things I hated about it but mother nature has fortunately allowed me to repress most that.

I was going to say cleaning fish on the slime line in Alaska. Long days, cold and wet, and smelly. However, the money was good and it wasn’t so bad (in retrospect) The worst job, therefore, was going door to door in the Chicago suburbs for an outfit called Citizens for a Better Environment. We had to educate people and ask for money. I’m not a people person, and most people don’t enjoy visitors of this type. The job and me were not a good match. I lasted two days.