View Full Version : Best and worst jobs

11-27-2008, 08:40 PM
Michael's(mmd) talk about taking pics of nude house wives got me thinking.

I've never had a really bad job, ya know, real scut work. I suppose painting schools during summer breaks from college was as close as I got. But the best job was my first one out of college. Me and three or four other recent graduates traveled all over the state of Ohio doing various measures on streams. State car, a modest expense account. It didn't pay much, but we didn't care. Fun, bright, people, and we got paid to tromp all over Ohio measuring mostly the flow in streams. We also pulled all night time of travel studies.

All in all, very fun work. Don't get me wrong, we were serious about it and produced good data, but we never let that get in the way of a good time. We're on the road, baby!

What are yours?

11-27-2008, 09:13 PM
The easiest work I ever did--fun too--was modeling for life drawing classes. ;)

Pay was pretty good, too.

Robert L E
11-27-2008, 09:21 PM
My worst job was working at McDonald's in the summer of 1967 when I was 16. One day the manager told me that I could leave 20 minutes early, with pay, if I brought up 200 pounds of potatoes from the basement. Two trips down there binging up a 100 pound burlap sack of spuds each trip. I was outta there. As I was leaving he told me that the next day I would start as the french fry guy. Not good news. I asked why and was told that I was the only one there besides him who could bring up the potatoes. I had baled a lot of hay the previous summer.

French fries was a miserable job. I started at about nine AM one day bringing up 1,100 pounds of potatoes. The peeler took 10 pounds at once and the first sink held 100 pounds. They had to be washed, then sliced one at a time with a big lever slicer. The 100 pounds then had to be washed three times by transferring them between sinks. Once washed they were put into the frying baskets to drip dry a bit.

While the first 100 pounds was waiting for the fryer, I peeled, washed, sliced, washed, washed, and washed the next 100 pounds and divided them up into the frying baskets. By this time the oil was hot and I could start blanching the first batch, about four baskets at a time, and start processing the third 100 pounds.

This continued until the entire 1,100 pounds was blanched and on racks in the back awaiting the days needs. Once this was done I started finish frying and loading up the grill for the burger grill man, along with frying the fish as needed. Before the day was done, I had to go get and process 400 pounds more.

Once customers were coming in, the pressure was on. I was 16, and getting chewed out for not working hard enough for my $1.25 an hour. Some days were over 12 hours long, and there was no overtime pay. I quit when school started up again in the fall.

No other job that I've had has been as miserable as that one. Shoveling **** on a dairy farm was fun compared to that job.


11-27-2008, 09:53 PM
Best job is the one I have now. I have an artists schedule pretty much and just about 100% creative license. Unfortunately, as is with all hobby type jobs, it's one of the first to go in the way of luxurious extras when the economy sux.

Hard job is the one I have done the most of which was drywall. Man I love to hate that work but it sure made me durable. My first 7 years in welding fabrication, I did drywall at night as the phantom crew in commercial construction, tightening up the loose ends to keep the contractors on schedule with the painters, fire sprinkler crew, electricians etc. I was known as "the 20 minute man" for my creative usage of 20 minute joint compound throughout, many times finishing whole sections of stores in one night with no sanding afterwards. Before that, I hung and finished goliath homes with my brother for piecework, most days, not going home until we reached the 100 board mark for the day. Doing that work, even your hair gets tired.

Absolute worst has to have been hot tar roofing and a close 2nd to that was commercial fishing. No wonder I don't complain often for what I am doing now.

Fact is, I don't know what I would "like" to do for a job enough to call it a good one or bad. It all pretty much sux.

Glen Longino
11-27-2008, 10:01 PM
The easiest work I ever did--fun too--was modeling for life drawing classes. ;)

Pay was pretty good, too.

I'll be darned!
That was my easiest and most fun job also, as a college student.
20 hours a week at about 4 bucks an hour in 1959-1961, fair pay back then.
I did that during school months and was a lifguard at a large outdoor municipal swimming pool during summers for three years.
That's where I learned Not to chase women.
Just be there now! They will find you!:)

S/V Laura Ellen
11-27-2008, 10:04 PM
Worse job I've had was working at an AMC foundry. Hot, dirty, smelly, dangerous, exhausting, no redeeming aspects except for the pay!

Captain Blight
11-27-2008, 11:57 PM
Best job was deckhand. High point was probably the 4th of July 1998. Best shape of my life--you could see the veins going across my 6-pack-- great pay, no worries, peace in my heart for the first tie in a while. Got double overtime for like 10 hours that day to stay out on the head of a 6-pac of empty barges heading up the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Just me and a bullhorn and a gallon of water in an ice chest. Made rent just with that day's work.

Worst job was probably the one I have now. Petty martinet with a Napoleon complex for a captain, difficulties with the deckhand I'm trying to train. Office leaning hard on the boat to quite frankly do what can't be done. I've got an idea for a Fantastickal Mechanickal Devvyce™ that could in all earnest make me a very rich man but I got to save enough for the prototype parts. If I can just scrape out the next 3 months I'll be golden. It's hard not to tell the office to stuff it but any job in this economy is worth holding on to, much less one that pays good.

Sorry but had to get it off my chest.


Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
11-28-2008, 02:01 AM
First jobs I had out of high school were the worst. Lowest level man in a small machine shop. Doing the worst jobs, from cleaning hydraulic oil tanks to machining coolant reservoirs, filthy stuff, then pushing rods on an automatic screw machine, incredibly simple and incredibly boring. From then on, the conditions got a bit better as I started doing actual machining, but even at my peak as a prototype machinist, the working conditions were poor; noisy, smokey, hazardous, on my feet all day, long hours in a windowless shop without seeing the sun for months when working seven-day weeks and long shifts in the winter.

Best jobs were most every job I had after college. Each one had pluses and minuses, but I always knew and appreciated working in a clean, quiet environment with carpet on the floor. Plus I had found my niche as an engineer and was damned good at it. Never minded working long hours into the night, it was always voluntary, never ordered, my choice, and that made all the difference in the world.

The Bigfella
11-28-2008, 04:43 AM
Worst job I reckon I've had was an exhumation. It wasn't my job to do it - but the guys who were doing it were having serious trouble - so, despite having my best suit on, it was grab a corner and try to ignore the soup running all the way up to my armpit. You probably don't need any more detail than that eh?

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
11-28-2008, 07:20 AM
Best was a Bartender at a local rock and roll nightclub during the mid-nineteen seventy's.
Worked nights at the bar and went to college during the day.
Made pretty good money and saw all the bands free.

Worst was driving a "boom truck" for a concrete burial vault company.
Depressing work putting dead people in the earth and the boss was a "ash-ho".http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/images/icons/icon10.gif

11-28-2008, 09:18 AM
I'm amending my original post. My worst job, ever, was being in charge of a site in NY, outside of Buffalo. It wasn't hard work physically, but it was a nightmare. Radioactive stuff all over the place, the guy who was civilian in charge was mobbed up. Divided purpose, we were hired to survey the site, and trying to balance that with a mobbed-up guy hiring the pumping station to the highest bidder was miserable.

11-28-2008, 12:07 PM
Worst job was while in the Air Force.....clean up recovery site after a 707 crashed and burned with a full load......Best was in Lima Peru, training folks on electronic surveillance for 4 hours a day, and having a government helicopter and pilot to run me around to places like Machu Pichu, and villages on the Amazon, good pay and benefits....

11-28-2008, 03:24 PM
Best job: Mowing hay in June sunshine.

Worst job: Down a very dusty anthracite coal mine.

Uncle Duke
11-28-2008, 04:26 PM
2 "best ones":
Oldest: Worked for "Chinetti International Motors/North American Racing Team" during the 1970's. Nothing like being in your 20's, a sports car nut, and working for a Ferrari dealer - paid to fix and drive Ferrari's, work on race cars and go to races. Heaven.
Newest: Worked for a software start-up in the 1980's and 1990's doing cartographic software (see patent 4873513). Nothing but math 10 hours a day every day of the week. No social life, lost weight, had no friends but it was the greatest mental activity period of my life. Totally and completely engrossing. I don't think I could do that again, but I'm glad of the chance.

Worst? Worked 8 months for a warehouse which was moving south, loading boxcars with boxes of pottery, etc. Those boxcars get HOT sitting on the siding in the sun. I'm about 6'2", and I lost so much weight that I ended up at about 130 lbs - none of which was fat or water weight. Went home every night totally knackered only to go back the next day and do it again. Zombie-land. Needed the paycheck, though. Hope I never need it that badly again.

Bill R
11-28-2008, 05:34 PM
2 tied for worst- my very brief stint (3 days) working at Burger King; my time working for a major radio broadcast company (who shall remain nameless)

2 tied for best- making sawdust, self employed, after being "downsized" by above radio company; Chasing electrons and playing radio for my current employer

11-28-2008, 06:02 PM
Best Job sailing a Pretorian 38 out of Edgartown after my sophomore year in College. $80 bucks a day 3 sails about 2 hours each. Lots of mixing drinks for customers and just sailing.

Worst Job for me was at a call center in PA. had to make 100 outbound calls per day selling posters for OSHA saftey program. I'd rather shovel sh*t all day. No, I'd rather eat it.

David G
11-28-2008, 06:37 PM
Like MAM, I modeled a bit when in college. Met several nice (but not TOO nice) young ladies that way. My best job, though, is the one I have now. I'm semi-retired. I build boats and boaty bits, as well as cabinetry and furniture.

The worst job was the two days I spent setting chokers for a gypo logging outfit, with a jackass on the yarder. He enjoyed hazing the new guys by yarding before you beeped. The first day I warned him. The second day he closed the choker on my glove and took it with the log... pulling it right off my hand. I stormed up the slope, up his rig, pulled him out and pounded him till he quit giggling. I was fired.

"When a man tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him, 'Whose?"

11-28-2008, 06:46 PM
15 years in Human Resource was the pits. By comparison shoveling manure on the farm when I was a kid was a joy.

11-28-2008, 10:33 PM
The best job I've ever had is teaching. It's also the worst job I've ever had.

I like the saying, "Work is an interruption of my leisure time."

11-29-2008, 08:57 AM
Worst job, bar none, was working in a fiberglass insulation manufactory in Berlin, NJ the summer after high school graduation. Hot, sweaty, itchy graveyard shift work. We were given all the nastiest possible jobs around the plant with the promise that after 60 days probation we'd be given our union cards, pay would triple and we'd advance to the good jobs. Laid off on day 59!

11-29-2008, 10:32 PM
Best job --- Skipper of the schooner Ranger --- Hundreds of miles a week sailing a classic woody in the Southern California waters that I grew up in. Warm sun, hot women, cold beer. All of the basics.

Worst job --- Skipper of the schooner Ranger --- My pay was approximately $1.75 US an hour. My work DAY began in April and ended in October. We were working so much neither she or I had any time for rest. I hardly had time to keep up with repairing charter damage much less normal maintenance.

11-29-2008, 11:10 PM
Worst job was cutting ti-tree for oil production. Standing up to your knees in a flooded swamp with spiders and snakes as constant companions cutting the branches off with a machete. was on piece rate so the pressure was on. Best job is being a social worker working with young people. Strangest job was as a bouncer in a brothel back in my wild youth:eek::eek:. I kid you not. I sat around doing nothing until one of the girls rang her duress alarm, then I would go in and bounce the clown out on his ear. The girls were nice ordinary girls who were there of their own volition. Did not last long I found the idea of the place did sit with my sense of honour and fair play.

11-30-2008, 01:07 AM
Like MAM, I modeled a bit when in college. Met several nice (but not TOO nice) young ladies that way.

Like MAM? ;)

I wasn't doing my naked stint as a college lad, I was late 40s. ;) They said my slightly oversized gut was just fine so I said have a go.

I neglected to mention my worst job because it's a toss up between several. The three weeks I spent with G___ Guitars was probably the worst, mentally. The owner's wife was my boss and you cannot imagine a worse one.

I pumped gas at a Hess station in New Orleans for a few weeks and had to make up the shortages from a thieving co-worker...no fun, that.

As a 13 year old I painted the B___ Cookie Company factory here in Savannah for about 75 cents an hour but I could never paint fast enough for the owner. No matter how well I thought I was doing it wasn't good enough for him.

Looking at the three losers I think I will have to vote for the G___Guitar job. I was a kid painting the factory and a late teen at Hess...having to put up with that wife as a 30 something was pure torture by comparison.

Paul Pless
11-30-2008, 05:41 PM
Never really had a bad job. What I do now is really all I've ever done my whole life, I like doing it for the most part and I'm pretty good at it. Even on its worst days I still get to play with dogs.:)

11-30-2008, 05:52 PM
You think you had bad jobs!!
My worst was in a factory where the owner was touching up the young male apprentices, and the other workers were too scared of losing their jobs to report him. Been at it for years, then one day I just called into the police on the way home.

George Jung
11-30-2008, 08:46 PM
Fascinating that so many here apparently enjoyed scooping $hit, compared to other (from what I can see, mind-numbing) jobs. Maybe you were doing it wrong....

I had to clean hogsheds every weekend, and sometimes scoop grain off a truck and into a grainery, as well. (Dad believed an idle kid was trouble waiting to happen, apparently). Reason my back is shelled now. Good thing I don't have to do manual labor for a living - I'd be toast! Other farm activities were fine, really enjoyed crop and livestock work - though driving a tractor back and forth all day was mind-numbing - but did give me a chance to 'mull'.
Dirtiest job I had was working for a farm services business - irrigation construction and repair, fertilizer/equipment repair. They'd send the gophers into the bulk tanks to clean them out. I didn't know any better at the time, but damned dangerous exposure, that. A-hole manager who wasted alot of my time telling me how damned brilliant he was. One summer of that was enough. (Oh, and the pay was bad, and there were no benefits). Breaking out of that, and getting to put center pivot irrigation systems together was more rewarding, required some intelligence and thought, and allowed me and my team (there were just two of us) a bit of freedom.
Best job? I've only had this one, since finishing studies. I"ve been employed for the past three years (not my idea, and not willingly); the hours are much better, but I preferred self-employment. Mostly sedate, though every once in awhile, the stuff hits the fan - and being able to ably handle emergencies can be exhilerating.
Everyone has an interesting story (even if it's just to ourselves, eh?)

11-30-2008, 09:02 PM
AussieBarney's post brought back some memories.....you know those nice raised wooden walkways that meander through teatree wetlands (better known as swamp)?..... those are real interesting to build.......

Worst Job?
Freight Yard Shunter.

Best Job?
Motorcycle Courier.

Both jobs were dangerous and all weather but the courier work had better hours, better money and was FUN!. I'd go back to it but I'm old and slow.

For the record, I have shoveled sh!t and the hardest part about it was the shoveling.

Salty Sailor
11-30-2008, 09:14 PM
Just arrived into Australia and needed work.
I was willing to do anything or so I thought...
Lasted one day as lackey for a pest control company.
The building had termites.
A foot of clearence and I am 6'2 and heavy build, slidding on my stomach all day digging small ditches around the posts and foundations of a gardening center! This is was after a nice speach about what funnel web spiders look like, and any other nasty critters I might run into.

Best job
Editor for TV Station with its own Entertainment area and bar.

However, last time I revisited the place, It was a bit depressing and sterile.
They had converted the Bar/entertainment area into offices.

11-30-2008, 09:16 PM
Just to be a little clearer about a lousy place. It made a full page spread in the NYT that summer, but it didn't stop the guy. There was a big pump on the site, which pumped directly into the Niagra River. After hours, you could hire that pump to pump whatever you wanted. The guy was a minor mob guy, a glad hander, and confronting him didn't buy much. I tried, and got told to stand down. I was just a kid at the time. So ya know this goes on.

11-30-2008, 09:21 PM
Had a great job once, in a bond store, throwing down the drain (supposedly) the ullage from the barrels that bulk whisky etc came in after they'd drawn off what they could for bottling. Charcoal contamination from the barrels. Ended up with GALLONS of OP rum, scotch and american whisky etc. Stored in gallon jars under the bed till it settled and carefully decanted twice through coffee filters. Dangerous stuff, curl your toes and make you forget where you lived (really!). Sort of job that would kill you if you stayed too long.

Jim Bow
11-30-2008, 11:10 PM
I didn't have the job, but I learned of it from someone who did.
Hot summer afternoons spent unloading the tubs of wet dirty diapers at the Baby Diaper Service in Seattle.

11-30-2008, 11:42 PM


second best...


hmmm... got think about the worst. Was there suppose to be bad jobs? ;)

George Jung
12-01-2008, 12:08 AM
Yer gifted, Brian... Don't know what I'd be doing if I"d grown up in Alaska.

I did recall a summer job when I was 16 - two other friends and I managed to get 'kicked out' of the house for the summer, and rode our lil' Hondas 200 miles west, to Long Pine, Nebraska, where we lived in a bunk house, and worked as ranch hands putting up prairie hay. Pretty good time, and a chance to get out on our own a bit. That was perhaps one of my 'best' jobs (and reading what others here did, I missed out on a lot!)

12-01-2008, 12:12 AM
Best job? What I do now. Making somebody's mouth work correctly again, getting them out of pain, cleaning up their smile. Helping to rebuild function and appearance is great. Worst job? Same one, when it doesn't go well (27 visits for a set of 6 anterior crowns:eek:).
Worst job prior? Restoring/painting this old house in D.C. for a PITA who thought that 900 bucks for reputtying 12 6 over 6 windows, two porches, 4 doors and trim and soffits (scrape, sand, full prime and 2 coats topcolor in green and white OIL) WAS TOO MUCH. Went back 6 years later, job looked brand-new, good given the climate there.
I've done handicap accessability studies, was a janitor through most of highschool at a small office building (if it snowed, I had to clear the place before school, early to rise, walk to building, shovel, walk rest of way to school, stop on way home, clean, reshovel and walk home) , scanned Maine and New hampshire newspapers for a newsclip service, did lotsa paint and drywall, light construction gruntwork, landscape work (mostly drystone), 3 years as a tech in a lab - dissecting microscope and electron microscope with yeast. Ground crew for a couple of arborists, I was the chipper bunny and the rope guy.
Oh yeah, farm work on a friend's farm. Good way to get in shape. I , too, have stood up to my knees in it and shoveled.

Three Cedars
12-01-2008, 12:20 AM
Worst job - turning slag into rock wool insulation , you were forced to work as fast as the machine, always wondered if the designer of that machine had ever put in a weeks work on his creation , graveyard shift in mid-July would have been perfect.

Best job - if i told you i might have competition. Let's just say it is peaceful, sustainable and quiet. Set my own hours and pay.

Most fun was a survey rodman on the prairies. Work all year round outside . Go to different places , go hunting at lunch. Put in long hours , got to see the sunrise and sunset many days

Robert L E
12-01-2008, 02:42 AM
I posted my worst job earlier. I have had a lot of different job for short periods and one for 34 years and counting. I can say that the McDonald's job was the only one that I hated.

My favorite job is more difficult of a chore to come up with. I have to go back to when I was ten years old. The neighbor directly across the street from where we lived was a bee keeper. He had a large flat roofed garage made out of tile block that was built part way into the hillside near the house. He asked my dad first, then my older brother and I if we could help him.

That job was fun. The man had hundreds of hives and he needed to assemble wooden comb frames to replace old ones or to fill new supers. He had three jigs that we would load up with side pieces, put the top pieces on, drive a brad into each end of the top, flip the jig, put the bottom pieces on, and drive another brad into each end of the bottom pieces. Those brads had to be driven straight and dead center into the side pieces or the side piece would split and have to be replaced.

I got so I could fly through those things, tapping the brad once to start it, then hitting it once to drive it all the way. I was fastest at doing it and got so I didn't break any. I made about five buck in three hours sitting talking to my brother and another neighborhood kid. We'd drink strawberry soda and open packages of bees the postman delivered and sometimes watched honey being uncapped an spun from the comb. I must have made thousands of those frames and have liked the smell of pine wood and bee hives ever since. We were in a nice cool place (no one had air conditioning then) jabbering away, drinking soda and making about $1.50 an hour for 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon, about once or twice a week for half of the summer.

It did not seem like work to us but we were probably far far faster than Mr Sexton would have been and save him from a task that would have been mind numbing and long, long for him if he did it himself. Later on, the other kid from the neighborhood went to work for Mr Sexton full time after he graduated from high school.

We also never had to pay for honey for the rest of the time that we lived in Sioux City.