Worst Jobs Ever

dirtyjobslogo.jpg Great show on the Discovery Channel called, “Dirty Jobs”. Some are pretty nasty and some look pretty cool, all are dirty. My list for this week is: the dirty jobs I’ve had.

1. Rax Roast Beef. In the same way that the blind shouldn’t do brain surgery or drive cars, I was never meant to work in the fast food industry. I lacked the aptitude, attitude and general skill set for the work. I got the job because my good friend Jeff worked there and he was employee of the month every month since he’d started working there. Frankly, I asked too many questions, thought far too much (that beef can’t possibly be real if it’s shaped like that) and worked way too hard trying to get each sandwich to look like the picture of it up on the board. From the Napoleonic assistant manager to daydreaming about Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times, trapped in the giant gears while I was toasting buns, it was a total disaster.

Just before the end I was finally demoted to dishwasher in the back where I couldn’t screw up the assembly line process. I finally quit; a relief to everyone there. My only regret is filling out one of those customer surveys as a joke and almost getting my friend Jeff fired too. Apparently someone takes those things seriously. Who knew?

2. Jewelry Store. First, I don’t wear it, other than a watch and my wedding ring. Second, it killed me to sell jewelry to people who I knew really should be buying groceries or some personal hygiene supplies. The mark up was incredible and it was amazing how easy it was to sell a gold chain when you leaned across the counter and whispered, “I really shouldn’t be doing this but for you I’ll knock off 25%.” People would glance over their shoulders conspiratorially and whisper back, “30% and I’ll take it.” I paused like I really had to think about it. “O.K., 30%.” Cha-ching! That sale only netted us 125% over cost. I finally quit when the owner disappeared for a couple weeks and none of us knew where he’d gone or if he’d come back. I’m comfortable knowing organized crime exists in theory but not from personal experience.

3. Hospital Kitchen. I mostly liked this job but what puts it in the ‘worst’ column was that I was forbidden from interacting with patients. Some times my job took me up to the geriatrics floor and as I rolled by with the food cart, elderly people slouched over, strapped in their chairs and in obvious pain would ask me for help as I walked past. And I had to keep walking past or I had been told I would get fired. It killed me to keep walking past people crying, literally, for a little help. I did go to the nurses at first but they were already helping 3 other patients at the same time, way understaffed. I finally gave up before I died inside.

4. Karmel Korn. I worked at the mall store pre-Christmas preparing for the sales season. I went to work at 10 p.m. and worked ‘til 6 a.m. Then I had a 7 a.m. class. It was a pretty clean operation, the thing that made it dirty was the complete lack of sleep I was getting but living in denial over. At finals time I pulled out the notes I took in my 7 a.m. class and was shocked to read, “meeble frimp dorgal mooze klicking fresh doody.” On almost every page.

On afternoons, after classes I tried to get a short nap. One afternoon, just before I quite the job I woke up in my dorm room to the sound of a slamming door. I blinked, looked around and rubbed my face and found that someone had covered my hand thick with my chunky peanut butter. Dirty.

5. Hotel Coffee Shop. Before I waited tables I cleaned them. Some people seemed to work very hard at making as big a mess as they possibly could. But cleaning the tables wasn’t the dirty part of the job. The dirty part was after closing when we were cleaning up in back in the kitchen. I’d get a cleaning towel, get it soaking wet to give it weight and then we would turn off the lights. ‘We’ being me and ‘the Salad Lady’. She was one of he biggest people I’ve ever met who still moved under her own power and not by crane or powered scooter.

We turned off the light and waited, waited, waited and then ‘BAM’ flipped on the light. That’s when the wet towel came in. With the light off cockroaches had climbed the wall behind the salad prep area, with the light on they froze in place and my job was to throw the wet towel and get the roaches. Splat. Splat, splat, splat.

I could eat anything from the menu I wanted for free. I never ordered a salad. Never. Ever.


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Confession, Food, job search, Life, Rambling. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Worst Jobs Ever

  1. Lindsay says:

    The funny part of this is, I seem to gravitate toward “dirty jobs”…here’s a few.
    1. Nursing home. I don’t know that I need to go into details with this one. The funny part about this one is I really like it- as long as I leave the “dirty” out of the equation.
    2. Smittys Bus Girl. Pancake syrup, hollandaise sauce, and coffee. These are the scents I came home with. On my uniform.
    3. Sobeys Deli clerk. I was the chicken fryer. That, hands down was the greasiest job I have ever heard of.
    4. Pizza Maker at Pizza Delight. I didn’t last long here…I took a lot of precious minutes trying to perfect the pizzas, which the boss didn’t like much…the worst was the spreading of lard in the pans. I found another job very quickly- one not so dirty, indeed.

  2. brianmpei says:

    Cool Lindsay, the Chicken fryer has got to be a terrible job! Glad you’re rescuing the world in less greasy ways now!

  3. Nathan says:

    did you actually get your friend fired? and what kind of dishes do you wash in the fast food industry?

    great blog. i’m really not looking forward to the day i buy over priced jewelry of anykind. maybe i’ll just make my own…

  4. brianmpei says:

    Nate I washed pans and racks and meat slicer bits and other assorted odds and ends. And I still took too long doing that. My problem was that I came in when things were already used so I had no benchmark for ‘clean’. My idea and their idea of ‘clean’ were world’s apart.

  5. shelleyperry says:

    I once worked at a huge bingo hall. This was before the province went smoke free. I only lasted 2 shifts.

  6. brianmpei says:

    Ha! Gas masks and card dobbers handed out the door! What about working for me though? That had to be horrible!

  7. I worked for a daily employment company in Barrie, Ontario, which would send you to a different job location each day. I was sent to a whole verity of places during my six week stay in Barrie. I will include two of those jobs as the dirtiest jobs I have ever done:

    1. Waste sorting at a giant garbage sorting facility in Toronto. For ten hours I would stand along side a conveyor belt as garbage zoomed by me. I had to pick out metals, plastics, and cardboard and chuck each into their own shoot. This job stunk, literally!

    2. Cleaning up Molson Park after a Summer of events. I had to pick up garbage, clean up after Green Day (many beer bottles, mostly broken), clean garbage cans, among other dirty tasks. When I was taking the garbage bag out of one resepticle, which was afar from the beaten path, I was greeted by thousands of maggots.

    3. Cleaning shopping malls. In Halifax I worked at a office/commercial complex and a strip mall, I worked at the Charlottetown Mall here on the Island, and I worked at an upscale mall in Vancouver. The job, although respectable work, can get messy by times. Love your janitors more than your actors, but less than God.

    4. Wendy’s! Need I say more? I worked at Wendy’s in Halifax for almost a year. At the end of each shift I would smell like sick food and would be covered in grease.

    5. Zeller’s sucked. It wasn’t so much “dirt work” as it was horrible. I didn’t mind collecting the carts, or spot mopping spills but I hated their management structure. I was fired for going to Halifax for a week after I informed my supervisor two weeks in advance. Apparently my supervisor forward my request to HR, who forgot to pass it on to the person who makes the schedule. See what I man?

  8. brianmpei says:

    You had me at maggots Andrew, you had me at maggots! Let’s grab a coffee!

  9. Yes, the maggot story is disgusting. Even worse, though, is the omitted part of the story where when I flung the garbage bag out of the can I was treated to dozens of maggots on my gloves and shoes. I screamed like a girl and got laughed at by my co-workers.

    Coffee sounds like a great idea. I am working till 4:30 all of next week, though. I think I’ll be hitting night shifts the week after, so we could go for coffee then. I want to ask you for some advice on something.

  10. Steffi says:

    the dirtest job I ever had was probably working at an accounting firm, I mean, touching all those pens and calculators, can I say EWWWWY!, so i got fired for ruining everything with my hand sanittizer.
    luckily for me, when I got fired, i landed my dream job as a sewage collector, I love emptying peoples septic tanks, and bringing it to the facility where i sort through all the poop. sometimes, my boss lets me bring some of the left over sewage home to put in my vegetable garden. Theres nothing I like more then fresh city shit on my food.

  11. brianmpei says:

    Um, thanks Steffi.

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