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Thursday, November 30

Gapers Block

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Andrew / May 10, 2006 12:30 AM

Dishwasher for a catering company. Weddings were horrible -- I'd be stuck for several hours with my hands in dirty dishwater, scrubbing and rinsing as fast as I could to keep ahead of the next course, so that there would be enough plates and silverware for the next course. I got paid mostly in tips, but as low man on the totem pole, that didn't mean much.

I didn't do it for very long.

unmake / May 10, 2006 5:37 AM

Programming cell phones.

paul / May 10, 2006 5:44 AM

Tough call between asbestos remover, baby photographer or telemarketer.

These all were fairly long stints of several years, and each day on the job was worse than the day before.

Daniel / May 10, 2006 6:22 AM

Definitely when I had to test insurance enrollment forms. I'd spend all day filling out paperwork pretending to be someone else. The next day, they would change one line -- or maybe two! -- on the forms and I'd have to fill out all the paperwork again. This went on for weeks. It was a temp assignment. I didn't make it to the end -- I was about to lose my mind.

Jason / May 10, 2006 7:54 AM

Assembly line worker at a t-shirt printing company.

My job was to stand between the rotary screen printer and the belt drier, pulling t-shirts off the printer and laying them down on the drier, one after another after another, for 10 hours at a time.

Toni / May 10, 2006 8:03 AM

Working behind the counter at a one of the discount pharmacy chains. Of the three pharmacists there, one was a pyscho-bitch who'd go ape at the slightest provocation. It was depressing to see people come in with prescriptions for medicine they needed but could not afford because they didn't have insurance.

Toni / May 10, 2006 8:07 AM

Working behind the counter at a one of the discount pharmacy chains. Of the three pharmacists there, one was a pyscho who'd go ape at the slightest provocation. It was depressing to see people come in with prescriptions for medicine they needed but could not afford because they didn't have insurance.

Oketo / May 10, 2006 8:17 AM

Selling shoes at Famous Footwear... particularly to old women who say, "Can you find a shoe to get around this walnut sized bunion...see, look at it and sorry about the smell."

Lody / May 10, 2006 8:31 AM

definitely a dishwasher at a local cafe at home - was my first job, my parents thought it was a good idea that i make some of my own money. To this day I still have a thing about soggy wet toast. YUK!

sherm / May 10, 2006 8:36 AM

Telemarketing in college, setting up "Free" one-room carpet cleanings.

One week I went in to work and noticed that I wasn't on the schedule for next week. The boss came in and gave me one of those pep talks, basically he said if you can set up 5 appointments, I'll put you back on the schedule.

I walked.

p / May 10, 2006 8:54 AM

One of those Make Fast Money on Your Own Terms 100% Commision things I attempted once while desperate for a wage. Met up in a creepy office in Niles where they dressed me up as a sailor then dropped me off in industrial parks to sell navy pier cruise ticketbooks. Complete scam, by the way, in which the buyers had like a 4 drink minimum once on the boat. Also demeaned myself up and down the avenues where I was to go into every wendy's, hair salon, radio shack, basketball court, etc. and get everyone's attention. Awesome!

Or the summer at the equipment rental shop where I'd sit out back with a rag and a low-flow hose cleaning the shit off returned roto-rooters.

fluffy / May 10, 2006 9:10 AM

telemarketing- i had to call random people from the phone book, and "remind" them of their generous donation from last year and could we count on them to donate the same amount this year? Of course, these people never gave anything before, but most of them assumed they had.

selling ceiling fans at some huge warehouse. i'd get lost. i was just 16.

working at a gourmet deli (i don't eat meat) and seeing what some of the guys did to the bacon before selling it to uptight rich snobs.

the worst: working in a dry cleaners in TEXAS in the middle of the summer. with no AC. just a fan.

working at a cafeteria next to an old folks home. it was in a crappy part of Dallas. Some of the old people smelled like their diaper hadn't been changed all week, the guys in the kitchen were perverts, and I was approached by a pimp once- asking if I wanted to earn $1000/day by just riding in a limo with him. depressing.

hench / May 10, 2006 9:18 AM

the worst job that i *almost* had -- vacuum cleaner salesman... this was years ago. i get to the place - it's a one-room office in a clapped-out strip mall. crummy part of town. two dirtbag "salesman" guys are hanging out and they want to hire me RIGHT NOW. they tell me about all the money that they are making etc... i can start making the same money by going into the worst neighborhoods, knocking on doors, and attempting to hard-sell people into buying crap that they can't afford. sounds great. and they want me to drive them, in my own car, down to springfield (about 90 miles away) for a very important regional meeting that starts in an hour. these two guys that are making boatloads of money -- one of them can't afford a car and the other has a suspended license from a DUI. awesome. ducked out of there very very quickly...

lacey / May 10, 2006 9:20 AM

I'm pretty sure the worst job I eveer had was working concessions at this Christmas wonderland place at a resort in Georgia. During the summer it was a waterpark on the lake. Wintertime turned it into christmas lights and santa's workshop. I mainly had to thaw funnel cakes (that came from God knows where) and make cappuccino from a machine (yep, the gas station kind) and serve other concession-standy kind of foods. Christmas music everywhere. And I had the flu the whole 2 weeks I was there (I washed my hands constantly, don't worry). Uuuuuugh.

Some of you have really good bad jobs, though. Props for sticking it out.

jen / May 10, 2006 9:28 AM

the summer between sophomore and junior year in college, i drove my beater 45 minutes to take surveys at...six flags st. louis, which, btw, is really nowhere near st. louis.

i was that annoying chick (donning some ridiculous themed costume) at the end of the day who had to accost fatigued and wet patrons about their day at six flags: "how was the food? would you say it was excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?" and i had to phrase every single question exactly the same way, so there would be no bias in the answers. i'm pretty sure there were no less than 75 questions.

i ended up getting fired for allegedly walking off the job, even though i was assisting an affiliate department because they were short-handed in 100+ degree weather. truly no loss.

Shasta MacNasty / May 10, 2006 9:28 AM

Working for an Internet start-up where the CEO liked to talk about the sex he used to have with his ex-wife. There was no structure whatsoever, but even then , I would get in early to try to set up meetings with folks in on the east coast, etc. The owner of the company calls me and the new hire in his office to lay us off. Two weeks later they hire back the other guy.

Working there was the worst six months of my life and they did me the biggest favor by "laying me off."

Dahl / May 10, 2006 9:29 AM

Telemarketing for this catalogue company, it was all inbound calls so it wasn’t even that bad, but everything was monitored, how long you took on the phone with each person, how much extra shit you sold them, how long your lunch break was, how often you got up to go to the bathroom, etc. What made it worse was that I was just out of college and in a new city where I knew very few people and had to find something to pay rent etc., since I was having no luck landing a job in my field. And it was right after September 11 and the anthrax thing was going on, everything was stressful and weird. I remember having anxiety attacks driving to this place and wondering what the fuck was happening with my life. I was only there for two months but it was a long two months.

CarrieD / May 10, 2006 9:29 AM

Easy: Lifeguard at a waterpark in Michigan. The people that we would get there...half didn't have swimsuits and were floating around in bras and cutoffs...many, many kids in the wavepool who didn't know how to swim and had to be pulled out all the time...and when it was my turn to have to clean out the bathrooms...the horror.
Plus, we had to come in at some god-awful hour of the morning once a week for "inservices" to practice our CPR and technique for jumping into the (freezing cold) wavepool and rescuing people.

At least I got a good tan that summer...which will probably end up being the cause of skin cancer in another few years!

annie / May 10, 2006 10:12 AM

I've had a bunch.

Cleaning an office that I worked at in H.S. after I was already there all day answering the phone, filing, etc. I asked to do it for extra cash, but there were apts. above and I had to clean the basement, hallways, windows and toilets.

Wraping x-mas gifts at the mall or trying to make little kids smile when on Santa's lap.

Photo ID taker in college, so humiliating.

Telemarketing in college, selling 2nd mortgages and most of my calls were going to Winnetka and everyone I spoke with said they were wealthy and didn't need it. I felt so stupid.

The Pepsi tent at the Taste of Chicago. (I still can't go to it)

The worst ever though was I some how got suckered by a MaryKay sales rep to buy makeup and try to sell it at parties and then get other girls to do it; total pyramid scheme. (Good thing they give you your money back.)I still can't believe I did that. The best thing I got out of it though was the "material". I see a screenplay coming from that experience, these chicks are insane.

And babysitting 6 kids...3 of them 6 month old triplets.

Susan / May 10, 2006 10:52 AM

Are the next two questions going to be "What do you read?" and "What's driving you mad?"

Nicole / May 10, 2006 10:57 AM

Working for the she-devil at a small PR firm (read: 2 people, me and she-devil, in a room from 8:30am to 6pm all day). She was going through a messy divorce, and I heard her scream and swear on the phone at her ex-husband and lawyer constantly. She'd email me snide comments while I was in the office with her about how my outfit was inappropriate for work (too casual, when she wore cargo pants and tshirts all day)- hello, passive aggressive. She was in and out of the office constantly dealing with her personal issues, so I'd be alone often with nothing to do; one day I left 15 minutes early, and she called my cell phone and reamed me out for not letting her know after she'd called the office looking for me at 5:50 PM. I got paid shit with no health insurance or vacation, and couldn't take more than 15 minutes of a lunch break or listen to headphones. She made me park her car for her every morning, calling me down from the office so I could take it to the parking garage across the street, then called my cell phone and yelled at me when she couldn't find her car at night (apparently we had different interpretations of the 2nd floor). I cried in the bathroom at least once a week, and finally quit after two months. THANK GOODNESS.

Andrew / May 10, 2006 11:22 AM

If that's what you'd prefer, Susan. We're certainly open to suggestions, anytime you're ready.

Emerson Dameron / May 10, 2006 11:37 AM

Selling plasma was pretty sad. When I was a convenience store clerk, I was pretty sure I'd die on the clock. But I'd take either of those over anything in a "call center."

Spence / May 10, 2006 12:03 PM

I had 2 that were equally terrible:

#1 corn detassler -walking through corn fields for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. In the morning the corn was wet from dew and you would be soaked. In the afternoon, the humid muggy 90+ degree weather with only one water break an hour was almost unbearable. Not to mention the monotony. Not to mention the $4.15 an hour. Thank God that was only a summer job.

#2 - I worked in a shop that made metal door frames and doors for office buildings, schools, etc. No air conditioning, no air ventilation and I worked within 10 feet of 2 welders. I had to grind down welds and apply bondo and then buff to make the weld flush. The amount of bondo dust in the air without ventilation had to violate some kind of law. I would blow my nose and the stuff that came out of my nose was completely black. Also, since I was the youngest, I would have to apply rust-proofing to the doors. This is a thick tar like material that is extremely sticky and takes days to was off of the skin and a week to was out of hair. That was the worst job I ever had.

After those 2 experiences I decided to become a yuppie.

dan / May 10, 2006 12:05 PM

I worked for about 6 months as a doorman at the Empty Bottle. The people were nice enough, but I just didn't fit in. I was the only guy on staff who wasn't a musician, and I think a lot of the folks wondered why I was working there. I saw lots of great bands, but I got stuck with most of the cleaning and hauling, and the pay was shit.

I worked the door at a Bar Louie for two months, and that was (understandably) worse. Dealing with drunken suburban, middle-aged ass-clowns who clearly didn't need another drink.

The absolute worst was a contract job, formatting sales documents in Word for IBM. After spending a few years in the publishing industry, I knew pretty quickly that this was a dead-end, menial job. My contracting agent was on-site, constantly second-guessing my every move. I had a review every other week with her and my boss. All the people I worked with were bitter and angry, and it was in Schaumburg.

Mo / May 10, 2006 12:18 PM

Early on, I was on my way to being a conservation biologist, so I was paying my dues working at an animal preserve. From time to time, I was lucky enough to work directly with the animals, helping out with tiger vet exams and such, which made it worth it, but mostly, I did compound maintenance. That included spraying for poison ivy and cleaning the cages. Cleaning the cages consisted of scooping poo and uneaten rat carcasses and raw chicken guts into giant plastic barrels, and then later emptying the barrels, which by then were swarming with maggots, into another giant bin. All in 100+ degree heat in the south.

And that was NOT the worst job I ever had, just to give you context. My worst job was working as an office manager at a real estate agency, but being treated like a receptionist, being yelled at constantly for doing a task EXACTLY the way the bosses asked me to. In addition to my administrative acts, I was also expected to deal with sewage flooding the basement and my boss' mother's explosive diarrhea that covered the bathroom. What is it with me and poo jobs? I quit that job in a storm of yelling and swearing and throwing mail and pounding fists on desks. I highly recommend quitting a job like that once in your life.

karczek / May 10, 2006 12:23 PM

Telemarketing, both research and sales. Absolute HELL!

I've worked in factories, offices, restaurants, studios and outside. Telephone work was so much more unpleasant than any other job, all the other crappy jobs I've held seem wonderful by comparison.

Besides feeling shame at having to intrude in the lives of people during their free time and the necessity of convincing them to buy services that you feel would be of marginal benefit at best, the worst part is being aware of EVERY PASSING SECOND. Not only does every second pass in agonizing, mind atrophying slow motion, like 6 straight hours of 'the Matrix Reloaded', but you're constantly reminded of each seconds meaning thanks to constantly updated performance metrics on your screen. I felt numb after every shift, as if I'd experienced something horrible and it'd been repressed by my brain.

I will gladly work jobs that are physically rigorous before I work another that's so psychologically gruelling , it's like being in a waking coma for six hours each day.

spence / May 10, 2006 12:29 PM

I also forgot to mention that during corn detassling, you would get these little cuts, like paper cuts, all over your arms and face from walking through the leaves of corn stalks. The sweat make them burn and then the corn pollen would stick to the sweat and make it burn even more. I almost forgot how awesome that was.

Alex / May 10, 2006 12:42 PM

Working at Chuck E. Cheese in junior high as a waitress, which was fine, but we all had to take turns dressing up as Chuck E. Cheese. Their idea of cleaning the costume was spraying the inside with Lysol, and you'd have to keep the little kids happy, while placating the cocksuckers whose idea of a nice high school homecoming dinner was to bring their dates in and make fun of you. Smelly and humiliating. And of course my boss thought he was running Fortune 500 company. I didn't last long.

Paul / May 10, 2006 12:44 PM

Three-way tie: Target, Wal-Mart, and a computer store that was charging customers WAY too much for repair. Unscrupulous folks.

Stu / May 10, 2006 12:58 PM

Unpaid commissioner of a goddamn fantasy baseball league. Don't do it.

carrie / May 10, 2006 1:03 PM

corn detassling for days!

...pouring rain, heat waves and tornados...little to no water to drink. I remember watching people disappear between corn rows...they would just faint & drop like a stone.

Dan / May 10, 2006 1:06 PM

when I was going to school in Madison, I took a summer job working at the recycling center. my first day there they handed me a pitchfork, pointed me toward the top of a 100 foot high mountain of paper, and told me to pick out the glossy stuff and throw it to the bottom. I lasted three weeks, which was a long time.

mike-ts / May 10, 2006 1:09 PM

I'm sorry to say that the worst job was not doing a task that was ugly and nasty, and it wasn't working for a total stranger who was stupid/sadistic/incompetent. It was working for so-called friends.

"Mike, this is a management trainee position - sure, you'll drive the truck for now, but once things expand you get the next management spot. Not having management experience makes it impossible to get a chance like this with other people, but Bill knows you're a college grad, and he knows how smart you are. This is your chance to make it - you're not working for strangers who have no interest in your welfare, you're among friends."

I'll stop myself from writing a book about the next 2.5 years, except to say anything I ever said or did got ignored, I risked life & limb on the road with equipment that was unsafe at any speed, the staff was taught to ignore anything I said. And with friends you give them second chances that you don't give the average bum, you try to work with them and make them come around, you give the extra effort for their sakes, and it's all for naught.

That's the last job I ever give my best at. Those two people are totally out of my live - one is all "I'm sorry I'm sorry", but what do you do to undo messing with someone's livelihood?

printdude / May 10, 2006 1:26 PM

Hey ther dan 12:05,

Don't you have a rule about yelling TEXAS! at the puerto ricans waving their flags?

just askin'.

Tina / May 10, 2006 1:31 PM

Most definitely my worst job was the two day stint I spent as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) at a nursing home. I was 17, weighed probably 110lbs and was asked to pick up a three hundred pound lady and change her diaper, while another female patient kept lifting her gown (whole wearing no underwear I might add) and shouting filthy obscenities at all of the staff!!! Awful! All for the whopping pay of $3.35/hr.

Y A J / May 10, 2006 1:55 PM

This reminds me of the bad date question. Until I read all of your answers I thought I'd had some bad dates... now I similarly realize my worst job was nothing compared to these.

I was (very briefly) a waitress at a college bar. On $.75 draft night the customers didn't even tip the quarter. I lasted about 2 weeks.

emyduck / May 10, 2006 1:56 PM

my very first job at a dairy queen in my hometown. when m&ms got spilled on the floor, the owner would sweep them back up and put them back on the shelf. one of the managers regularly snuck boxes of food out of the back door for her kids, and i would get money taken out of my paycheck for snagging a spoonfull of soft serve. i had to clean out the hot fudge warmer, scraping the burnt fudge off of the bottom. then i got "promoted" to being the cake decorator (extra shifts with no raise), and then when the store was sold to new owners, i had to train the indian owner's non-english speaking mother how to do my job so she could replace me. i still can't eat hot fudge.

dan / May 10, 2006 2:25 PM


What? I don't get the reference.

printdude / May 10, 2006 2:43 PM

Then you are not that Dan.


DebO / May 10, 2006 2:46 PM

Filing. As a teenager and then in college I used to temp. I couldn't type worth a damn, so I'd get filing jobs. I remember confronting huge piles of manilla folders that had to be alphabetized and placed in the appropriate Pendaflex files and stuck in the correct filing cabinet. The filing cabinets were always overstuffed, and I would get these terrible paper cuts (handling paper in such a sustained way totally dries out your skin). The piles of folders were constantly replenished. Talk about Sisyphean tasks.

Leah / May 10, 2006 2:51 PM

Oh my god, almost everyone in my hometown was a corn detassler. They'd come in during 8th grade lunch and sign us all up. I'm one of the few who didn't, because I had a job sanding for my dad--a master house painter.

but the worst job was being a 6PM to 2AM wal-mart cashier in a small southwestern town on September 11, 2001.

other days were bad, but that was the worst. I quit the next day.

Amy / May 10, 2006 3:04 PM

I worked at Menards as a cashier for a couple years. The pay was good but when I had to work the service desk I wanted to scream. You could return ANYTHING and people would. Then it would take an hour to find someone who could bring me a sku# on a tiny piece of copper or something else that only costs a quarter while having to answer the phone that was ringing nonstop and getting bitten by mosquitos all day. We had mice too. You know the save big money song? Yeah, it gives me horrible flashbacks cause I had to hear every half an hour for 2 years.

Amy / May 10, 2006 3:12 PM

I must have blocked this one out. The absolute worst was an interview right after college in Oakbrook for a marketing job. Sounded good, but it turned into a thing where I had to ride to Aurora with this girl and we had to go door to door selling coupons for a local car wash. In January. I had her drop me off at this getto McDonalds and called my friend to come resue me.

amyc / May 10, 2006 3:22 PM

Worse than even the three weeks at Wendy's (where the manager told me to go fuck myself when I asked him to make a Frosty for a customer) was my last job, working on the magazine for a medical association that shall go unnamed.

I was hired as a staff editor but not allowed to do any actual editing -- or even proofreading -- because of the boss. He was a micromanaging fuckwit with serious OCD who just could not let anyone else have any responsibility. He would "edit" my articles in four different colors of ink (to prove that he read them four times), and his idea of editing was to change at least one thing in every sentence whether it needed it or not. He hated pronouns, so he would replace all of them with the original reference, which makes for great reading let me tell you! He would photocopy pages out of the AP guide and staple them to my proofs if I made a style error. He was abusive and insane to all the editors, but he had been there forever and couldn't be fired. The magazine went through 7 editors in 4 years. I only lasted about 5 months, and there were days I would go out for lunch and seriously wonder what would happen if I didn't go back.

My current job blows, but I always remind myself that it's not as bad as the last place.

Nicole / May 10, 2006 3:52 PM

Amy- Was that by any chance "Victory Promotions?" or "Edgewood Marketing?" I totally had the same "interview", haha.

jl / May 10, 2006 4:03 PM

My best friend's mom worked at a company that needed holiday help in the warehouse, and I was desperate to make my college tuition payments. The company provided incentive prizes - i.e. open a checking account and get a free "baby boom box" or swiss army knife, etc. My job was to unpack the baby boom boxes that had been returned, check them again to make sure they really were broken, and repack them. It was extremely tedious, but the worst part was my two coworkers on the bench. One was the boyfriend of a higher-up, who spent most of his time arguing with her when she walked past the warehouse, and the other was a developmentally disabled woman who refused to speak to me because somehow she got it into her head that I was out to steal her job. Ironically, I spent most of my time thanking god for the crappy job because it allowed me to make my tuition payments, ensuring I would not have to work a job like that ever again.

CarrieD / May 10, 2006 4:26 PM

I forgot about my job for several weeks of helping out with book buy-back at the end of the semester for a community college. Nothing like being screamed at every 10 minutes by college kids who don't understand why they only get $6.50 back for a book they bought 4 months ago for $45! Blame the greedy publishers, people!

By the way, all you corn detasslers, that's a subject from one of my favorite episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The movie has the groan-inducing line: "I always knew that sex is corny, but who ever thought that corn could be sexy!"

Cinnamon / May 10, 2006 4:57 PM

Temping jobs suck. There was the one where I was told to get a photo scanned in so it could be put in a newsletter. Since I'd worked for a newspaper I knew print specs. The manager decided the image was too big so he came to the front desk and threw the disk at my head! Thankfully I ducked.

There was also the temp agency that hired me to help in their office for a few days because they wanted to keep me around but didn't have anything good to offer me. The manager left early on a Thursday and someone realized that all the paychecks were locked in his desk. I needed my money pretty badly and was kinda mad that they wouldn't call him to come back. Someone told me "If you can get in his desk, feel free." She didn't realize I'd also been a locksmith's apprentice so I crawled under his desk, loosened a few screws, opened the drawer, took out my check only, and put the drawer back the way it should be. They had the gall to be mad at me for not getting their checks out.

mew / May 10, 2006 5:00 PM

My sucky job stories can't nearly compete with you all ... however, my friend works in the ER and she has some terrible stories, as well as some funny ones. Like the time when a crazy patient with a severed finger used his severed finger in its little bag of ice to flip off everyone who tried to give him medical assistance.

spence / May 10, 2006 5:01 PM


one of my old roomates got suckered into selling Mary Kay as well. The difference was that my roomate was/is a man. A straight man, which mean he didn't have any girls that were friends. That may be a stereotype, but in this case it was true. To this day I still can't figure out what the hell he was thinking. Probably the same thing he was thinking when he decided to mail order penial enlargement pills. What a weird guy he was.

Leelah / May 10, 2006 5:28 PM

CJ Research was pretty awful.. but it paid well... even if I generally was disconnected by the time I ased, "Do you prefer shredded or leaf lettuce on your burger?"

The worst, though, was working for a music lawyer in LA. I was fresh out of college, recently laid off from my job (training to be a music agent) when the company was bought out. I still wanted to work in the music industry, so I took a job working for the world's biggest asshole for $16,500.

His assistant was leaving in two weeks, and she was training me until the time she left. I was berated for, among other things, not wearing a short enough skirt, not calling to inquire about properties in Taos that the jackass wanted to buy (I was doing actual work instead), and not knowing how to make coffee.

When the guy called me stupid because I didn't know where he put his key, I was through. It happened to be the last day his assistant could be there to train me. I walked out without quitting properly and never came back, and I laughed to myself at the prospect of that jerk trying to hire and train someone himself.

april / May 10, 2006 5:31 PM

I only get to pick one?!

�baby photographer:: had to dress monster kids up in bibs and frilly dresses

�"caterer":: lugged very, very heavy pans of food to feed horny, Republican Marines at 4am on my weekends during college

�chiropractor's assistant:: worked for a husband and wife team who hated each other and put me in the middle

�telemarketer:: I had answered the ad and went through the whole interview under the impression it was an office assistant gig

�data entry:: temped at a financial co. where I shared a very small room with a very large and smelly lady

-video clerk:: lots of porn freaks. I was the only one in the store all day and the bathroom was broken, so I'd have to lock up the store and walk across the street to pee at the White Castle.

april / May 10, 2006 5:34 PM

I guess em dashes aren't recognized here....sorry, folks.

Moon / May 10, 2006 7:14 PM

I worked for an "Event Planner" for about a month. It was similar to the Woody Allen movie "Broadway Danny Rose", except that the Broadway Danny Rose character in real life was an A-type personality, super-controlling asshole.

And there was no comedy. No comedy at all.

jonk / May 10, 2006 7:22 PM

1/2 baby photographer? cool! i love half-babies!!!

i was taco bell's taco during kiddie movies, actually kinda fun, but sweaty.

worked the powdered sugar line in a factory for a summer. even with a mask, the air was cruddy to breathe, but i had the tastiest boogers ever at the end of shift!

lasted two days in the Double-T deli (tom thumb), wasn't up for washing the deep fried chicken pans.

reading through these descriptions i was early on thinking "that's not so bad, you spoiled punk!" only to realize that my gigs are also not too bad - spoiled punk! also, that it would seem most of us here have the privileges that allow us to escape these jobs, unlike lots of other folks.

ohman. / May 10, 2006 10:22 PM

Interesting detassling stories, up there. My detassling days during h.s. summers were my favorite--guess i lucked out. Like s0meone else up there already said, I"ll take physical pain over mental. Which leads me to...

My WORST job ever, during my senior year of college (while I was also doing a paid internship with limited hours): Working in the packing & shipping dept. of a fine china & crystal shop. I worked in a basement that smelled like rot and had about a million unsafe hazards. After nine hours there I'd blow my nose and black stuff would come out. When I asked for one of those cheap masks the manager called me a priss. I had to go buy my own. Everyone there was bitter about their lives. (Example: I worked next to a woman who was 32, still lived with her mom, and would say things like, "Why do you even bother going to college? I mean, obviously it hasn't gotten you anywhere.") The sales people upstairs were almost 100% commission, so when they weren't busy, they would come down and bitch to us basement lackeys; or when they had a good month they'd brag about how much bigger their paycheck was going to be than everyone else's. If anything ever came back broken, no matter how well-packed, it was always my fault--never UPS's. Was finally, THANKFULLY fired after six very depressing months, only to be replaced the very next day by someone who only had their G.E.D. Yup, I later found out they fired me to save themselves $3.00 an hour. Classy.

jennifer / May 11, 2006 12:42 AM

the worst job that I and countless other sucker idealists have ever worked was for a manical man who has his own democratic research firm. he seemingly lured many people in under the guise that we were contributing to these greater ideals of the democratic party only to under pay his employees (many who had master's degrees) with beginning salary at $25,000-$27,000. we worked at least 50 hours a week in an environment that was tempered only by his mood. if he was happy, it was a good day in the office. but the smallest thing could set him off (like when we couldn't snap and make the universe obey his every wish), and then, well, then the environment was toxic. after working there for over 2.5 years, I left after taking care with his sick children (rather than go on a business trip) and was sick with the flu, a situation that he didn't have a problem with. 'when my personal life interferes with my business, the office must respond.' my response came the next day in the form of a resignation letter.

I am happily temping and waitressing and, while still on the short side of money, wish I could have those years back. my only sadness is that he is still sucking the life out of some pretty smart people. too bad people like that put themselves of position of 'power' to make themselves feel important.

Onid / May 11, 2006 1:00 AM

--I had a job where we had to call people on a list to confirm that they were attending a conference in San Antonio or Minnesota.
The list was put together from RSVPs that they sent in to confirm that they would attend. I got a lot of "Why yes I will be attending. Didn't you get my reply card?"
The managers there told us that they could listen in on any phone call from a switchboard and that we would never know but every time they listened in there was a buzzing noise which disrupted the call.
Once when this happened I ended the call telling the caller (after they complained that they couldn't hear me) that I would call her back, I removed my headphones and confronted one of the managers about it and they denied that I could hear anything when they listened in and even told me that they weren't listening to my calls. About a half hour later I was reprimanded for aborting a call because I couldn't hear the caller.
I was finally let go after about 2 weeks because I was a slow dialer. In order to get an outside line at this place I had to dial 9 then 1 and then the number. We were regularly dialing 9-1-1-xxx-xxxx and if you didn't dial the rest of the number quick enough the police showed up. Apparently, this happened five times because of me.

--I was temping once and was called at 6am to "please, please, please" go to a job in Elgin in an hour. I tried to decline but they begged and pleaded and I finally caved.
I asked what the dress code was and they said shirt and tie.
I show up over two hours later because I was coming from Rogers Park and there was traffic but this wasn't a good enough excuse and warranted the recruiter from the agency to call every few minutes to see if I was there yet.
Upon getting there I found out that the job was in a factory and I was given some of that household oil that comes in a can and a metal toothbrush-like thing and some metal gears and parts. I was supposed to squirt the oil on the metal parts and brush out the rust.
Every one in the place took turns coming by and looking at the guy in the shirt and tie. They kept asking,"Why did you wear those clothes for this job?"
The thing that really set me off was at lunch I was called by the recruiter and told to try to not be late tomorrow because the client complained.
I didn't go back after lunch.

betty / May 11, 2006 1:00 AM

Chicago Historical Society --after all the people who tried to unionize got fired. It was a building of yes-men. They offered me afull time job and then changed my status to a temp. to cut out benefits. Oh, and their ideology tends to placate the funders. White bread!

Eamon / May 11, 2006 9:07 AM

None of my jobs were particularly terrible, but the one I hated the most was working in the print services division of my college for work-study. I had to be at work at 5am to get the Freep out, then schlep 100lb reams of paper back and forth, fluffing and folding and cutting and wrapping for hours on end. The insides of my arms would be beet red from the millions of paper cuts I'd get every single shift. When I once made the mistake of complaining about it out loud, my boss showed me the insides of his arms: each had a two-inch-wide hard yellow callous running from elbow to wrist. Blech.

Joejob / May 11, 2006 9:51 AM

Being a grad student is the worst job I've had. I pay to suffer. What a waste

emdub / May 11, 2006 10:43 AM

Cold calling people trying to sell them meat. I was depressed to begin with, and my dad made me get a job because I was missing a semester of school because of my depression. I just about died, sitting there in that crappy office in a strip mall, calling people and trying to get them to buy MEAT, of all things.

I was told to look through the newspapers at birth announcements for "baby leads". Apparently, when you have a baby, you need a lot of MEAT. We cold called from the phonebook. The lady and guy who ran the place would take off for hours doing "deliveries". I think they were fking. Her last name was Drooger. She looked what you think someone named Drooger would look like.

I never came back from my lunch break on the third day.

HipsterPit / May 11, 2006 11:43 AM

I worked in an office where I was hired based on the results of a handwriting analysis that basically said I would be a hardworking pushover.

The woman who owned the company was a screamer. She screamed from her office to get the attention of the four employees, and if you didn't answer, she got on the intercom system and said, "RJ, DIAL ONE! DIAL ONE PLEASE!"

While I was there, six different people quit after one. day.

When I finally resigned, my boss said to me, "I feel like I'm going to kill myself."

"Not my problem anymore," I said.

mrgoodbar / May 11, 2006 1:20 PM

I've had reasonably bad experiences working in places that shouldn't have been that bad.

I was a barista at a cafe owned and run by a madwoman who left the cook in charge when she was away. The cook was a 300lb man-hater who made life miserable for me in various passive-aggressive ways.

I worked at a dot-com where literally every Office Space cliche was on display. It was pretty depressing working around so many well paid, evil people.

I worked at Home Depot - generally one of the better retail jobs I think you can get - but the pay was bad, the work hard, and the scheduling pretty much made it so that planing your life (like maybe finding a better job, going back to school, etc) impossible.

I worked check-out at a grocery store down south where the religious people were always leaving religious tracts on my register while I was bagging their groceries. I was fired after my boss over heard me questioning the underlying science behind "homeopathic" remedies which the store sold... I can't help it that it's bunk, sorry.

Allan / May 11, 2006 2:47 PM

I worked at a pickle factory. Which sounds funny but was not. The ingredients used in pickling are some of the most pungent. Including some kind of special salt that was so fine that when poured into the vats It would float in the air like dust and burn your eyes and nostrils and vinegar and garlic that permeated your very being. The vinegar especially made it impossible for me to smell anything for several months after I worked there. The smell also got in your pores and could not be washed out so you just always smelled bad. I can't prove it but I am sure my girlfriend at the time broke up with me that summer because she was embarrassed to go out with me. The irony being I got the shit job i the first place so I would have money to do things with my girl friend. The other thing that made it so horrible was that since for me it was just a summer job the full-tiime life-long picklers gave me nothing but shit the entire time I worked there and took great pleasure in giving me the hardest job in the plant and watching me struggle to get it done. Or the time they took my jacket from my locker filled the pockets with pickles from the reject barrel and dipped it in brine. A nice surprise at the end of a hard fucking day at work.To this day I cannot even look at a pickle with out seeing the fat bastard foreman who hired me and subsequently fired me when I complained about being fucked with. My last year of small town high school was filled with the taunt "Like pickles" when I walked the halls and the girl that broke up with me would not even look at me. The only good thing about that job was how it solidified my decision to get the fuck out of my small town and get a good education so I would not have to put up with that kind of shit.

marge / May 11, 2006 3:30 PM

two jobs stand out - the first was in college. it was for an agency that hires out to non-profits to help them fundraise by hand-writing the appeal letters and hand addressing envelopes. the thought being that someone is more likely to open and read a hand addressed envelope and letter. this makes sense, but the problem was that we were expected to meet high quotas. imagine eight to ten hour days sitting at long tables frantically writing the same thing over and over (the higher ups wrote the addresses on the envelopes). my hand hurt so, so, so bad. the project i temped for was the jerry lewis telethon. the letter was to previous donors informing them that the telethon was coming up and we really hoped they would contribute again.
the second horrible job was in high school. i grew up in a small minnesota town that had a lot of lakes with blue collar resorts around them. i was hired by one of the resorts to scrub tremendous amounts of rust off of the stoves in the cabins. after the first hour my hand was numb and raw and i'd hardly made a dent in the first stove. we didn't even get gloves.

lunch lady / May 11, 2006 3:33 PM

Cafeteria worker at my high school.

My first day I was put on the serving line. I don't think I understood humiliation until then. That's the making of a recurring nightmare, being the 14-year-old lunch lady for your classmates.

I must've looked like crying, because the next day I was put on salad bar duty.

That semester I had to eat lunch alone everyday, in a mostly empty cafeteria, after my shift was over. I was on the dark path to becoming a Chris Ware cartoon character.

Luckily I got out of it by Christmas break (my grades were awful, so my parents let me quit) and I spent all of my $3.35/hr wages on xmas gifts.

s / May 11, 2006 3:46 PM

I think Allan wins.

Tippenze / May 11, 2006 3:50 PM

Andrew, dishwasher is a pretty bad job - I was one at a nursing home for a couple of years in high-school. Have you ever read Down and Out in Paris and London?
And sorry Lunch Lady, that's bad too - but it builds character, right?

One of the worst jobs I had was sophmore year of college. I had one part-time job in addition to a full schedule of classes. With barely enough time, I still needed extra income so I worked in one of the dorm dining centers at 4am as "cook's help". I cooked sheets upon sheets of bacon for 4 hours straight before my first class. Then I was the smelly kid in class - either that or my bacon stench made people hungry.

greg / May 11, 2006 3:57 PM

Ticketmaster. It could have been not-so-sucky, but the company had just entered a new market, so every caller had to kvetch about paying more than the old .75 service fee they had been accustomed to.

Also, some supervisors with serious control issues. I was actually called into an office and written up for saying, "No, Stephanie, I'm pretty sure Alabama's in the Central Time Zone."

Tippenze / May 11, 2006 6:09 PM

I agree with what others have said...
I have to admit I only read a few before submitting mine. After going back to read all of them, I realize I didn't have it that bad.

cval / May 12, 2006 9:40 AM

Right Mutha-Fukin Now!!!!

dragonflypurity / May 12, 2006 9:59 AM

The worst job I ever had was working 6 day work weeks (12 hour shifts) @ Kiddieland making cotton candy in a shack as big as a closet. Because it was in the middle of the summer and the shack was so small, it would reach over 100 degrees in there easy. I would come home with cotton candy stuck everywhere: my hair, inside my shoes, under my clothes.

To top it all off, for some damn reason, come closing time for the park, the line would span almost a city block with people who suddenly decided they wanted a late night treat.

Damn, I hated that job !!

alleysha / January 22, 2007 3:37 PM

wiping butt in a nursing home, would not encourage it. Like babies they just got cleaned up, mess up again. family members do not understand -said no one has taken care of their family all day- they bitch all the time. Then you are like the weight lifter for all their heavy asses.

Evans / February 5, 2007 7:03 AM

Worst job?
From Shauna, an American tourist ... then kept insisting I would like it if she did the finger thing ON ME!?!

Jessica / November 22, 2008 9:50 PM

My worst job was being an assistant manager for Dollar General. Having worked there for 4.5 years and being robbed at gunpoint 4 times, I decided the company was far too pathetic for me to work for through college. Welfare bunnies could come in and let their sticky screaming illegitimate children run rampant while they took their carrry-on-luggage sized purses and filled them with our merchandise. Or on any given day some ghetto ass woman would come in trying to return a dollar item. It's like what in the hell? Gas is 3 dollars a gallon and your dumbass drove here to return a dollar item? lmao

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