Worst Job Ever

I mentioned in my post about the pediatrician that I’d been her son’s “teacher” at a daycare center. Teacher is in quotes because calling me that was a major stretch. I did daycare and it just wasn’t for me. I lasted all of 6 months, and I spent 5 months and 29 days of that time looking for a new job. Though it was close, that wasn’t my worst job ever.

When I was a freshman in college, I didn’t get a job right away while I settled into my new routine. By late that fall, however, I started looking and found a job that I thought would work for me, as it was only a 5-7 minute walk from my dorm, and the hours worked with my schedule because they were in the evening. Plus, a new friend on my floor had just gotten a job there, so we’d be able to walk home together at night (this became especially important when this happened a couple of blocks from my dorm).

What was this illustrious, minimum-wage paying job that seemed appealing, you ask?

Telemarketer. For the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

In my head, while I knew how much I hated receiving telemarketing calls, it seemed like it wouldn’t be so bad. Because I was calling alumni, and how could anyone NOT want to give back to this amazing school that I was falling in love with? So young. So naive.

I probably don’t have to go into much detail for you to realize how awful it was. And I was abysmal at it. Oh, I got donations, and sometimes they were amounts that my 18-year-old brain could not fathom giving away. But there were far more rejections, and while those didn’t really bother me that much, what did get under my skin was my script (read from a green-screen computer…how many of you are old enough to remember those?).

We’d suggest a giving amount and as the person declined, lower the amount. Which isn’t a huge deal, unless you’re dealing with someone who tells you that they’ve just lost their job, they can barely feed their kids, their kids’ tuition is eating up all of their money, they have a dying spouse, etc. And I was just supposed to keep on with the script, trying to solicit money from a jobless near-widow. It was horrible. And because my supervisors were listening in on occasion, I had to stick to the script. Because, darn it, I wasn’t going to be fired from this horrible job, I was going to quit!

I didn’t last long. I honestly have no recollection of how long I worked there. I know my friend stayed on a lot longer than I did. I got a job after that working in the mailroom of the Chem Sciences program. Which sounds horrible, and it was (you should have seen my 2 coworkers), but no where near as bad as my turn as a telemarketer.

My favorite EVER line from someone I called, though, came one Thursday night. As my VCR back in my dorm room faithfully recorded “Friends” for me, I called unsuspecting alum asking for cash. One answered that night, heard my spiel, and said, “Don’t you know ‘Friends’ is on? Call back at a better time.” For real.

So…play along. What was your worst job ever?

15 responses to “Worst Job Ever

  1. When I was fifteen and sixteen, I babysat a lot. Normally, I enjoyed the kids and read to them, played games, etc. But one mom who always called had this adorable, fractious baby–you know the kind who just won’t sleep?

    As nap time approached, I used to start out pulling her around the yard in a red wagon. Then when I saw her eyes droop, I’d leave the other kids playing in the yard and take her to the nursery. I’d darken the room and rock her until I felt her nodding off. Then it was time to gingerly lower her into the crib . . . but if she cried out, I was instructed to start all over again! . . . I began begging my mom to tell this woman ‘no’ for me! . . .

    Bless that child’s heart–she’d be in her thirties now! Hope she’s happy and all her little ones sleep!

  2. Dishwasher at Cracker Barrel. I swear there where nights I smelled like an old dirty dishrag when I left there. I always joked about pulling the corn out of my ears, etc. This kind of job is the kind you want your kids to work for about two weeks in high school so they realize how important it is to get a good education! I don’t mean to offend any dishwasher’s out there……

  3. Shoe store attendant at one of those Supermarket of Shoe’s type places. It was bad. I was also a janitor at a church – it was better than the shoe gig.

    Ironically, I’m back working in shoes.

  4. Wow! I admire you! I could never do telemarketing.
    Gift wrap is my kryptonite. I can’t wrap a present well if my life depended on it. So what does a stupid 18-year-old do? Gets a gift wrapping job at JCPenney. At Christmas. There were times I would cry in the back room over some random present I couldn’t wrap.

  5. An up-at-dawn job laying mulch for the school district one hot, scorching summer.

  6. Working the evening shift at a group home for very, very low functioning adults. Short version: Hoyer lifts, adult diapers, showering said adults, cleaning up their accidental bowel movements off the floor. NO thank you. I only did that for one Christmas break.

    I was allowed to eat the meals I prepare for these people, but I never could. I was always so sick to my stomach when I was there. It paid well for that time but not THAT well.

  7. I have been working “outside the home” since I was 14. I have done various things – filing, cleaning, gas station attendent, inventory clerk, bucking feed bags, customer support, bartending, etc. None of these were horrible…. my worst job – cleaning with my mom on the weekends as child/tween/teenager – she is a slave driver and very particular!

  8. Telemarketing–how horrible.

    My worst was doing some general secretarial/”receptionist” work for a tire place the summer after my sr. yr. of h.s. It was a crummy, dirty place. I was the only employee other than the guys out in the shop. I had no earthly idea of what I was doing & have often wondered if I seemed as clueless as I really was. The very worst was at the end of each month having to go up in the rafters w/ some geezer & write on my clipboard the # of each variety of tires in inventory (100’s of them). Awful.

  9. During college, I cleaned house for a man who had recently become disabled and his 3 children. It wasn’t the cleaning that was the problem, it was that he watched my every move. I HATED doing laundry—folding this guy’s underwear while he watched. He was so creepy.

  10. When I was 16 I worked at a hair salon for a couple of months as a receptionist after school. Great hours, discounts on tanning and hair products, and free tanning. Doesn’t sound bad, right? That’s what I thought until I realized I had to clean the sweaty tanning beds, wash the tanning towels (also sweat covered), and sweep up hair off the floor. I don’t like germs. Or cleaning. It just wasn’t my thing.

  11. Wait. How did I not remember that I detasseled corn two separate summers? Totally worse. And really, why did I ever agree to do that for a second year??? I remember getting cuts from the wet corn. To this day, the thought of wet corn makes my skin crawl. And port-a-pottys? I would purposely not drink anything to become dehydrated so that I wouldn’t have to pee in a port-a-potty all day.

  12. I’m lucky enough that I never did a job that was too gross or vile. My bad job experience was solely because I had the most wicked boss E-V-E-R as a newly wed. I worked as an administrative assistant for the President of CitiMortgage. My boss was the Head Administrative Assistant and she HATED me. She made my life miserable for one year and then, God rescued me and gave me my dream job. 😀

  13. I’ve had a couple of jobs where I took care of very elderly ladies, who were confined to either a wheelchair or a bed, at their homes while their normal live-in help was on vacation. This included bathing them and helping them with, ahem, everything. It wasn’t awful, but I did realize that geriatrics was not a field I wanted to pursue.
    My other kind-of-terrible job story is from when I was at Bible school in Estes Park. I had spent all of my savings on tuition, and had no money to buy Christmas gifts for my family, but really wanted to get them presents from Colorado. I applied for a job at the big, beautiful Stanley Hotel, which is where Stephen King was inspired to write “The Shining.” Both that movie and “Dumb and Dumber” were filmed there. I was hired in the banqueting department. My first day of work there were 3 weddings at the hotel. I showed up at 6 am, folded hundreds of napkins, and helped serve coffee and refill waters at the various receptions. I worked non-stop until MIDNIGHT with only a short 20- min break to scarf down some dinner. Oh, and my shoes were about half a size too small, so my feet were killing me.
    That 18 hour shift was the first and last day that I worked at the Stanley. But I made enough money to buy Christmas gifts for everyone in my family 🙂

  14. I worked at a nursery during the summers. And when I say nursery, I mean a plant nursery (less than 2 blocks from Nicole’s house she grew up in). You could say that I was a professional weed puller for the businesses and wealthy doctors around town. I knew how to fill a truck bed with weeds and debris in 100 degree heat! But for some reason, I dedicated 7 summers of my life to this job (all due to some fabulous co-workers who I still stay in contact with and an awesome supervisor – my mom). Despite the searing heat, nasty bugs, and constant dirt-stained hands, I have a vast amount of knowledge about plants and flowers that will stick with me forever!

  15. the summer i was 20 i spent 6 weeks as a traveling salesperson selling hot pepper jelly at hunting and fishing expos in places like south dakota and idaho. i mean who doesn’t want hot pepper jelly on their fresh game meats? the money was good and i knew the owners of the business so i thought it would be reasonable. however, i did not know the person that would be traveling with me would be a 60 year old vietnam vet named snapper who drank bud light for breakfast,lunch and dinner. whoa. true story.

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