The holidays are over and it’s time for all of us to get back to work, one way or another. So it’s appropriate that the wonderful Squashed Mom, Varda, has collaborated with Stasha to ask us to write about our worst jobs.
I don’t suppose I would win a worst-job contest–I’ve never had to muck toilets for a living or clean out the holds of fishing boats–but I’ve had a lot of crappy jobs. There’ve been a few where I just walked out the back door and kept moving and a few where I’ve been
fired asked to “pursue opportunities elsewhere.”
All I’ve ever really wanted to do in my life is be a writer (seriously–I had my writer’s pseudonym picked out when I was in 4th grade–very precocious, except I pronounced pseudonym as puh-sood-oh-nim), but until I can figure out how to “monetize” my words (as they say in the corporate world), I’ve got probably the best job I’ve ever had, right now. Except for the small but pressing detail that most of the people I love are about six thousand miles away. But that’s why god invented skype, right?
These crappy jobs all contributed, in some long-view sense, to me being where I am now. And as a result, that’s probably why I’m going to insist that my kids go get their own crappy jobswhen they hit working age (which, according to Newt Gingrich, is right now. I mean, Liam is eleven and has not contributed one red cent to this household yet. Slacker. I’m going to apprentice him to the school custodian, that’s what).
1. Babysitter. In high school, I babysat for a neighbor whose house was, even to my adolescent eyes, disgusting. Dirty dishes piled in the sink, overflowing garbage pail, make-up covering every surface of the bathroom counters and bureau tops. I barely remember the girl I babysat for, but I will never forget her dog: a huge sheepdog whose fur was the equivalent of the dirty-dish filled sink. Matted dreadlocks of hair, long streams of drool sort of patted into its chin whiskers, and it stank of old food. The mother chain-smoked long skinny cigarettes and she would frequently leave one burning in the ashtray downstairs while she went upstairs to get dressed for her night out. Of course, the smoke itself didn’t bother me because I smoked too (on the sly) and being at her house gave me the excuse I needed: I smelled like smoke because I’d been at the Ingrassia’s house. On the other hand, I was always worried the house would burn down.
2. Usher at a convention center. Sometimes this was a great job, at least in the early 1980s when the rock shows would come to town. I totally got to see Loverboy, dude, and Foreigner (the “Jukebox Hero” tour? Surely you still have that t-shirt?), and of course Judas Priest. Big hair, big fun. Got to wear a cool uniform and hang with my friends who came to the shows. Of course, then they would leave for the after-party and I would be left in the arena picking up bottles and cigarettes and vomit. Lovely. Working for the Ice Capades show, the gift conventions, and the Gospel Music Tour was hellishly boring, by comparision, but at least there wasn’t vomit in the aisles afterwards. Or at least not as much.
3. Short-order grill cook. I worked the grill every Saturday morning at the women’s college I went to, which meant I was the witness to the morning walk of shame. Continue Reading →