What's the Worst Job You Ever Had?

Raymond

likes to play with old motorbikes
Top Contributor
XS650.com Supporter
Messages
2,017
Reaction score
9,499
Points
513
Location
Scottish Borders
Well, I guess I've been lucky. Done a wide range of jobs in different industries, met a lot of different types of people with different motivations and vastly differing work cultures.

The most boring job I ever did was a summer working for an electronics manufacturer - they made capacitors. This was back in the '70s and mostly they made large capacitors, like metal foil wrapped in greaseproof paper and stuffed into metal cans. But I was taken on for one summer working in the miniature capacitor room. We were told the company made miniature capacitors which went into the space program and allegedly some of the products had gone to the moon. Little metal canisters, ranged in size from about 10 mm long x 2.5 wide to the biggies, about 30mm x 8. Inside was a core of oxidised tantalum with a wire at each end. Put the tantalum inside the canister, fit an end over and solder in place. To make the solder take, the two wires were tinned - pick up the lump of tantalum, dip one wire into a cleaning solution, then into flux, then into a pot of molten lead solder, nearly up to but not touching the tantalum, then turn the thing around and repeat for the other wire. Room full of about a dozen women, I was the only male, so usually they made me do tinning the wires 'coz it was hot and uncomfortable sitting over that hot solder pot. One day, I believe we reached 6,000. That's just under five seconds per unit to tin both wires, assuming you never stopped for a pee break or a tea break.

Only job I really disliked at the time was kitchen porter at a well-known 5-star hotel in St Andrews. I've done a few KP jobs but this was easily the worst because it seemed everybody there hated the place, the job, each other. The hotel had a ground floor kitchen, next to the breakfast restaurant, and a top floor kitchen next to the dinner restaurant. You started at 7am with breakfast service in full swing, piles of dirty dishes already heaped up, piles of greasy cooking trays. The young trainee chefs who prepared breakfast hated their job, had often been out drinking the night before and came in still drunk - must have slept in the afternoon before going out to get drunk again. Everyday, a waitress would come in to ask for more fried eggs or whatever. So a chef would yell 'Oh, fuck off!' A minute later the senior waitress would come in and yell at the chefs, not to yell at her staff, and we still need more fried eggs. 'Oh, you fuck off an' all!'

You never caught up on the dishes, trays, pots & pans. But at a point mid morning, the intercomm would buzz from the top floor kitchen.' You better get up here - the bins are full.' This meant the black bin bags have burst and there's disgusting waste food all over the floor - they never told you the bins were full before they burst. Up in the lift, clear up the mess, assess the heaps of dirty dishes left over from the previous night, the growing pile of pots and pans as they did prep for the evening service. Then get back down stairs to finish clearing up the mess from breakfast, clean the work tops, mop the floor, then get back upstairs. There were 3 KPs and to cover morning and evening shifts meant there was only ever one of us on a shift. There was briefly two at lunchtime when the evening guy came in. The KP who had been there longest said the hotel was supposed to have 8 KPs so there could be three per shift. But with just one, you were fire-fighting just rushing around emptying bins, loading the dishwashers, washing greasy pots by hand, mopping floors, taking sacks of food waste out to the pig-swill hoppers.

The evening shift had an even higher tempo, eight or nine chefs running around, shouting orders, shouting for pots and pans, shouting for the floor to be mopped where a pan had been knocked over, dirty dishes coming in from the restaurant, you dealt with as many as possible because you knew what the mornings were like - the only consolation was, towards the end of an evening shift, about midnight usually, if the head chef was on duty, he would send for a pint of beer for the KP. You were so thirsty, it went down in one.

The waiting staff, neat and tidy, customer facing, looked down on and despised the uncouth, dirty, sweaty kitchen staff. The kitchen staff looked down on and despised the housekeeping staff. The receptionists looked down on and despised anybody who had to do anything more energetic than answering a phone, taking a booking or talking to the guests. And everybody looked down on and despised the KPs.
 

toglhot

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
320
Reaction score
1,103
Points
143
Location
Adelaide
After I quit welding, I tried my hand as a salesman, boy, did I suck. That's when I discovered salesmen are born not made.

I had a ball during my time as an insurance salesman, didn't make any money, but thoroughly enjoyed myself. Spent all day in a suit, nice and clean, no start time, no finish time, no one looking over your shoulder.

I travelled all through the South West of West Australia trying to convince people to buy insurance: All around Perth, Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, Norseman, Salmon Gums, Scadden, Grass patch, Esperance. I sold two new policies in the time I was with the Combined Insurance Company of America, one of those sales was cancelled the next day. I made what little money I did on renewals, and even managed to lose a lot of them.

After that I tried selling encyclopaedias. I was worse at that than trying to sell insurance. Absolutely abysmal was I, never sold a single set. Every day our supervisor would drive us out to an area, drop us off and we would walk around all day knocking on doors trying to sell encyclopaedias to housewives. On my last day, when the supervisor drove around to pick us up, he pulled up, asked how many sets I'd sold, when I replied 'none' he abused me and drove off, abandoning me in the outer suburbs, no transport, no money.

The next day I drove to his office absolutely incensed, intending to confront him and probably more. His secretary contacted him on his intercom and he snuck out the back door.

I couldn't sell a lifejacket to a drowning man!
 

Scripto VU

Dukes Speed and Custom
Messages
101
Reaction score
836
Points
93
Location
usa.
How about collecting urine samples from race horses after every race in 1968 at our local parimutuel betting track. (long mop handle with deep sauce pan duct taped on..........had to follow horses around track until they had to go.) All in attendance loved the show always -worth a laugh. We had a whole brigade of sample collectors.
 

46th Georgia

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
433
Reaction score
1,394
Points
143
Location
The Okefenokee Swamp
Sun was going down, in court he said the sun got in his eyes so he didn't see the wing. Some funny lines attached to the court appearance. When I saw the wing, just before it came through the windscreen I yelled out 'wing, wing'. The defence grabbed at that and trying to attach some blame to me asked why I didn't yell out 'stop, stop'. My reply 'we weren't going to hit a stop, we were going to hit a wing'.
At one point the fact there were no witches hats or other barriers placed around the sabre came up. The defence seized on that aspect saying barriers should have been placed around the sabre, saying they were placed around other aircraft parked in other out of the way areas. I was in the witness box at this point and the prosecution asked 'why do you think witches hats and barriers are placed around those aircraft', my reply ' I don't know, maybe to stop people crashing into them'. That sort of ended the prosecution, they finding the defendant innocent, much to their disgust!
I think Ken got off that charge, can't really remember...
Thanks for the clarification and a great story.
 

toglhot

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
320
Reaction score
1,103
Points
143
Location
Adelaide
I applied for a job at a large company that did sewerage pipe lines and other like jobs. Turned up for work at 8:00, by 8:15 I was on 8 weeks compo. Glove I was wearing got caught in the machine I was using to bend reo, I managed to extract it from the bender and continued working. Five minutes later I thought it felt a bit wet inside the glove so took the glove off expecting to see a little scratch, instead I saw my finger bone sticking up, the meat was still attached by a slim bit of skin, but clear of the bone and hanging off to the side - degloved. Went to the local Doc who bandaged it and I was in hospital by 9:00 waiting for surgery. Surgery didn't happen until 6:00 that night. Amazingly, it never hurt at all.
 

madmax-im

Yamaha...Go your own way...
Top Contributor
Messages
914
Reaction score
3,060
Points
243
Location
Wendell NC
Man y'all got me beat on dangerous wworst jobs..My worst job(above) was not the most dangerous job I ever did...During the summer of 1972 I was 20 yrs old on summer break from college..I was home in NJ...My older brother had a job at a rug factory that later became a huge textile manufacturer of Carpets...The place was 50+ yrs old at that time..and most of the machinery was too. The smell of machinery and oil would always hit my nostrils when i would enter the factory.I still remember that smell...I had a number of jobs..tasks i had to do....1 was sit atop a dryer machine that had a track pulling carpet through it to dry the rubber backing to the bottom side of carpet...My job was to sit there for 4 hours at a time to just watch the aliignment of the carpet and be able to correct it if it got off track..110* in an un airconditioned bldg..4 hours was all they would allow 1 person to sit and do that job...It was hard to stay awake an and deal with the heat...and very boring...
The most dangerous thing I ever did there was..working at the end of a huge "inspection table" where the final product is rolled out and inspected..then rolled back up at the end of the table by a machine that would roll it back up..These rolls of carpet are 10' wide...So my job was to stick the wrapping paper in the last flap of carpet so that it would roll arond and wrap it...Its a 2 perrson job...the operator one one side and me on the other. It was after lunch break and my co worker went home or out o his car and had a "drink" or 2...so when he came back to work i could smell the alcohol on him..We started to roll up this carpet and I got my hand caught in the carpet when inserting the paper wrap...the carpet never stops rolling so you have to be quick..and my hand quickly became my whole arm and i was about to get pulled into the machine when my partner hit the emergency stop button...My arm was in all the way up to the shoulder joint when he hit the emer. stop just in time...I was thankful that my coworker still had enough reaction time to stop the carpet roll....There were other dangerous jobs there,but nothing like what you all experienced...That summer job taught me to stay in school and get my degree...lol That whole carpet factory was full of hazardous jobs and materials..My brother was the warehouse manager ..he had it relatively easy compared to many others there..typical of management...
 
Last edited:

madmax-im

Yamaha...Go your own way...
Top Contributor
Messages
914
Reaction score
3,060
Points
243
Location
Wendell NC
The facility in the video is modern and well lit compared the Kentile Carpet factory where i worked..but they had "tow motors" with long poles to lift these rolls and stack them on racks which were much higher than these racks are... and load their trucks...just like you see here...

 
Last edited:

RustiePyles

Semper Fortis
Top Contributor
XS650.com Supporter
Messages
1,480
Reaction score
5,213
Points
513
Location
Mission, Ks
Yep, that's the kind of shit I'm talkin' about.... you smelled the place ten minutes before you got there....
I have worked extensively in the hatchery, rendering, and pet food industries. I wouldn't recommend it. I have always been on the automation side of things so I I've never had stay in one of those places after my work was done. I did end up in the hospital once from hydrogen sulfide poisoning, we were running a test to see if we could concentrate hatchery waste to isolate proteins in it for further processing. I was over come with H2S and became very sick. I was never able to work around hatcheries after that. The smell would trigger a violent reaction.

When I was 19 I worked for the city in the parks department, It was basically a summer position filled by collage kids. We mowed all the parks and cemeteries in town. It was actually a pretty good job and the pay was decent, I had my own crew and truck. Until the one day, we had a heat wave 115+. All of the garbage men called in sick knowing that it was bad Idea to be on the back of a truck in this weather, these were not the automated trash trucks we have today. Just two guys riding on the back tossing garbage in. Well my boss thought it would be a great idea to supplement the two regular garbage men on the back of each truck with one teenager per truck from the parks department. Needless to say this did not end well, 4 cases of teenagers with severe heat stroke taken to the hospital. One of which was me. This debacle sparked an investigation into my boss by the city, come to find out he had been skimming money off the city for years and was just a piece human garbage in general. He was charged and convicted of several crimes, he took his own life rather than go to jail. No one mourned him.
 

wildav

XS650 Enthusiast
Messages
50
Reaction score
148
Points
33
Location
NW Florida
Worst job ,busboy at Howard Johnson's restaurant when I was 16 . 6 pm til midnight, came home smelling like a combination of every greasy item on the menu .
Best job , working for the large animal vet that looked after my horses. I met him 5 years into his practice and was working for him 7 years later. Not much money in it, he lived with four females, but we had a great time , most of the time.
 

46th Georgia

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
433
Reaction score
1,394
Points
143
Location
The Okefenokee Swamp
Probably welder/ fabricator in the late 60s and early 70s. Dirty, filthy job with terrible pay. I've had a few dangerous jobs: Timberman/pipelayer come to mind. Sinking timber into a 2.5 mm wide trench to stop the trench collapsing, often below the water table, up to my calves in mud. I quite enjoyed it though. I heard a few stories of guys getting squashed/buried alive when the toms collapsed, but never experience nor saw that personally.

Thinking about it, 'the job that caused the most injuries and one in which I was mauled badly and chomped a number of times was a job I chose to do for 25 years: RAAF Police Dog Handler. 45 years on I still bare the scars on my chest, arms and hands. A number of handlers I knew were badly injured by dogs: One guy was bitten just below the knee, by the time they got him to medical the passenger well in the vehicle was full of blood. Another guy had a terrible scar on his face from an attack and a few guys were so badly traumatised they never worked in the mustering again. I suppose every time I carried out any attack work I was at risk, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, best working years of my life, and I'm still a dog addict!

But this is the best one, I was in the passenger seat in this little van when it hit the wing of a Sabre. The edge of the wing pierced the seat where I was sitting right where my neck would have been had I not ducked in time, I just got a few scratches on my back and head. When I looked up to seek if the driver was OK, his mouth was wide open, the edge of the wing was lodged in his mouth and the wing pushed his head back pinning him to the seat, it took a bit of effort to get him out of the vehicle. He was a blubbering wreck after being released. The force was so great it nearly chopped the roof off.

That was around the mid 80s when I was an instructor, the students all raced over and helped get the driver out. The picture is still pinned on the Amberley Motor Transport Section's notice board I believe. Closest I ever came to losing my head, literally!
How long did the RAAF use Sabres?
 

ThatXS650Guy

More Sparky than Speed Racer
Top Contributor
XS650.com Supporter
Messages
917
Reaction score
2,506
Points
243
Location
North GA
Right out of HS I was a cashier at a convenience store. I worked the swing shifts so I could never get into a sleep rhythm. I fell asleep a lot in class and was held up three times and beat on once by a gang of punks trying to steel wine.
Installed insulation in new and old construction on a semester off to earn money. That stuff itches like crazy.
Loaded 40 ft trailers at UPS at the beginning of my career. There is no lower job there and we were known as hub rats. 600 pieces an hour was the minimum allowed and there was a supervisor with a stopwatch just outside making sure you hit that mark. After an hour I said, "screw this'. At the end of the night I said, "maybe I'll just finish out the week". Thirty-one years, the biggest IPO in history (at the time), and a lot of highs and lows, I retired at 55 as a senior analyst reporting directly to a company president with money in the bank and a full pension.
Worked out OK 😎
 

Jan_P

XS650 Guru
Top Contributor
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
2,717
Points
263
Location
Sweden
Working with Air condition The company had taken on a smaller job ..as Subcontractor ,And the deal was that the
Builder should provide the scaffolding .. But he did not provide one that could have the protective railing up .
Moving it around on the concrete floor .. One had to take down the protection rail to move it.
Because concrete beams was in the way. Would have taken to long time.

The builder .There is the scaffolding if you don't want to do the job just say so and Leave the Premises.
It was 8 meters maybe 12 meters working on a flat surface like a dining table no railing nothing
Had there been a low railing which did happen on other sites -one could feel it with the leg. Not risking falling
But not here .,. And when connecting the duct some force is needed .. The whole scaffold is flexing
That was scary ..keeping alert not take a step outside the surface.

At that site there was a bully .. Harassing and calling me names. And others .. That I cannot write here.
I finally punched his nose .. He saw that I was going to hit him and ducked to his right onto my solid left.
And ended at the hospital
I was fit in them days.

I was on the verge both getting fired and getting the Police. After me . But he apparently had been doing this for a while
Mostly with older persons ..
So he did not have the reputation that the Police would do much to save him. I did not got fired either but it was close.
Not sure if he actually went to the Police he could have been the type not doing that .

Speaking of insulation One summer I was involved in adjusting an Air condition installation that was in a space that was low so you had to crawl just under the outer roof .. And it was so hot in there that the builder did not want to let us do it.
If you pass out in there how do we get you out .. Crawling in that rockwool being Sweaty
I might still have an overall left with it on it.

I could not do it --> That stuff itches like crazy.
 

toglhot

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
320
Reaction score
1,103
Points
143
Location
Adelaide
How long did the RAAF use Sabres?
Don't know if they ever did, certainly didn't during my time I think the sabre was a 1950s jet. This one had no engine and was just used for training by the chinook chopper crews, No idea what they did with it.
 
Last edited:

Tinker Taylor

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
388
Reaction score
1,267
Points
143
Location
Chattanooga, Tn.
I have had a number of terrible jobs but the worst of all was the job of completing my high school homework. I hated school, and I have cleaned toilets, installed ac units in hot attics, under houses in crawl spaces, roofed in the summer, sold magazines as a traveling salesperson, sold portrait contracts to newlyweds, bussed tables at restaurants, dishwasher at restaurants, early morning prep-cook at Shoney's, overnight porter at Shoney's, construction laborer, demolition, route driver, warehouseman. I was cheap labor, so about anything but never homework. I forgot one year and went to college and because it wasn't mandatory attendance, I didn't. Anything but homework.
'TT'
 

Mikey

got muscles in his head that ain't never been used
Top Contributor
XS650.com Supporter
Messages
1,979
Reaction score
5,443
Points
513
Location
Waite Park MN.
I have had a number of terrible jobs but the worst of all was the job of completing my high school homework. I hated school, and I have cleaned toilets, installed ac units in hot attics, under houses in crawl spaces, roofed in the summer, sold magazines as a traveling salesperson, sold portrait contracts to newlyweds, bussed tables at restaurants, dishwasher at restaurants, early morning prep-cook at Shoney's, overnight porter at Shoney's, construction laborer, demolition, route driver, warehouseman. I was cheap labor, so about anything but never homework. I forgot one year and went to college and because it wasn't mandatory attendance, I didn't. Anything but homework.
'TT'
When I was 15 I went to work at a Kentucky fried chicken place that also served burgers I think even A and W root beer
Anyway cooking that chicken in pressure cooking pots that probably held 3 4 gallons of oil cooking over an open flame cook top
Think turkey cooker
Anyway being a kid toting those huge pots of oil on and off that open flame it should have been kid died being scalded by hot oil and burnt alive
The good part the chicken was the way it used to taste and you could take home any chicken not sold that day
Oh and the owners daughters never wore a bra not stacked but in a chicken shack she had nice breast and thighs
When you're 15 year old kid going to catholic grade school it was an incentive to come back to work each day
At 16 I went to work pumping gas
Manly work 😂
 

Jim

Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons
Top Contributor
XS650.com Supporter
Messages
11,798
Reaction score
44,798
Points
813
Location
Kansas City Mo.
Shitters..... :cautious:

After my short stint making computer chips, I went to work for Tramco up in Everett wash. doing heavy maintenance on Boeings, Airbus' and McDonnell Douglas airliners. There, my 20+ yrs of working on jet fighters didn't mean squat. Me and two kids fresh out of A&P school started on the same line on the same day. After 5 days of Indoc, off we went to the hanger.
Day 1. The whole crew gathers around our tool boxes while the Lead handed out jobs for the night. He goes down the roster and end up with us three. "Dent... shitter." He hands me the work card. "Daniel's... shitter.... Jones... shitter."
Hmmm.. all three new guys get "shitters." All the while, the whole crew is looking on in amusement. I see where this is goin'.

So... what all you guys know as "lavatory's" on airplanes, are referred to as "shitters" in hanger speak. It's a pretty simple job actually. You take the shitter out to the wash rack and steam clean the holy hell out of it. Take it back inside and disassemble it. Take all the bits and pieces back out to the rack and steam clean again. Take all the bits back in and reassemble it with new seals and hardware. Hook everything up, wait for your inspector to show up and do a functional check. He stamps your work order, you set it on the shelf ready to go back in it's airplane, grab another and head out to the wash rack. You can generally do two of 'em in a ten hr shift. All in all a stinky, shitty job... no pun intended.

Anyway, night two is a repeat of last night. Dent, Daniels, Jones.... shitters. Daniels (Perry) and I got along well the first night. Although he's fresh out of school, he's about my age. We start takin' little bits of the job and make little contests out of it. Although it's nasty work, we find ourselves enjoying it. Bullshittin' helps pass the time. Jones on the other hand... pissed and moaned the entire time.

Night three is a repeat. Jones is beside himself.... muttering fuck this and fuck that.... Perry and I go to work and manage to enjoy ourselves again... despite the awful smell and nastiness of it all.

Night four... rinse and repeat. Jones is about to blow a gasket he's so pissed.

Night 5... Lead calls out "Dent, Daniels... there's an AmWest 757 drop in out on the ramp that needs 3 new brakes... and no, they ain't on the same strut. Jones.... shitters."
Perry and I grin like Cheshire cats. I never been so happy to do a brake job in my life. Halfway through the night we learn that Jones turned in his badge and coveralls and left.

Hazing? Right of passage? Call it what you will, it works. Weeds out the workers from the whiners... and that was it's intended purpose. I recon it worked just fine...
About a year later I put on Lead coveralls. My first night as Lead I had a new guy on our crew. Don't recall his name... but I remember clear as day the work card I handed him. :sneaky:
 
Last edited:

ThatXS650Guy

More Sparky than Speed Racer
Top Contributor
XS650.com Supporter
Messages
917
Reaction score
2,506
Points
243
Location
North GA
My first shift as a cashier at the local Thrifty's Drug store this lovely young thing comes in and plunks down a box of Summer's Eve douche on the counter with no price on it. Yes, I had to ask for a price check on douche over the PA system. I'm pretty sure the girl was the GF of the store manager and it was a set-up.
 

46th Georgia

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
433
Reaction score
1,394
Points
143
Location
The Okefenokee Swamp
Don't know if they ever did, certainly didn't during my time I think the sabre was a 1950s jet. This one had no engine and was just used for training by the chinook chopper crews, No idea what they did with it.
Yes, Sabres were USAF F-86's from the Korean war. I believe they date back to about 1951-52. My late father was a U.S, Army vet, and was in Korea at the time of the conflict. He loved the sight of the Saber's flying low through the valley's
 

46th Georgia

XS650 Addict
Top Contributor
Messages
433
Reaction score
1,394
Points
143
Location
The Okefenokee Swamp
My first shift as a cashier at the local Thrifty's Drug store this lovely young thing comes in and plunks down a box of Summer's Eve douche on the counter with no price on it. Yes, I had to ask for a price check on douche over the PA system. I'm pretty sure the girl was the GF of the store manager and it was a set-up.
"We need a price check on Summer's Eve. Someone has a Fallopian fungus".
 
Top