Dirty Work

posted by Momo Fali on September 4, 2008

My last post really got me thinking about my employment history. Having gone from fast-paced, corporate America to a job where I use glue sticks, goes to show how varied my work background really is.

When I was 15 years old, I got my first job. Sure, there had been a paper route and babysitting, but this was a REAL job. Like with a paycheck.

It was a very glamorous work environment. So glamorous that I had to wear a hairnet. To make matters worse, I would often have to ride my bike to get there…looking a lot like this.

I worked at a local restaurant well-known for its cafeteria style food service. It was also notorious for having patrons who are very old.

The doors opened at 4:00 PM and there would already be people in line for dinner. I was a salad girl, so their first stop after picking up their tray and flatware was at my station.

For the next three hours, I had to practically yell at every person who slid their tray past me.

“Would you like Jello today? Or, maybe a carrot and raisin salad?”

“Eh?”

WOULD YOU LIKE A SALAD?”

Patron turns to equally age-challenged acquaintance, “What’d she say?”

“She said she wants to know if you’ll sing a ballad.”

Patron exclaims, “OH! Pardon me boy, is that the Chatanooga Choo Choo…”

After battling with elderly people over things like whether their ambrosia had enough marshmallows, I would have to get down on my hands and knees and scrub out the refrigerators. After that, I got to wash dishes and clean mayonnaise off the decorative lettuce. I know, I know…you can clearly see the allure which drove me to such a coveted job.

Needless to say, after that summer I swore off food service for good.

Through college, I had odd jobs and slowly worked my way into the mortgage industry. Given the state of the real estate market, maybe I should’ve stuck with salads.

Tell me boys and girls, what was the worst job you have ever had?

    Comments

  • A Shade Of Scorpio


    You are too funny! I haven’t had my coffee yet but don’t let that fool you…it was funny!

    Worst job ~ how about the one that I had for a few hours in a restaurant. I’ve worked plenty o’food trails but had to quit this one fast. I was being trained on how to clear the tables after you know…people have been eating there…and asked where to dump the bread and put the bread basket.

    We don’t throw that bread out! It looks perfectly fine. Put it back with the fresh bread to be served.

    Come again?

    I quit. There was no way that I’m giving sneezed on, spittle caked non visible to the human eye maladies to other people. I know its a terrible waste (couldn’t we give it to the birds?) but it just seemed to bust through some sort of healthcode.

  • Meg


    I worked with my father in his restaurant for many years. He fired me three times. Twice in one day!!

  • Meg


    BTW, we are a house divided. Living near the Michigan line, we have two UofM fans among us. šŸ˜‰

  • chefmom


    By far, working in an insurance office. I had to type up those tiny insurance cards. With a type writer. Do you how many cards I went through, because I couldn’t get everything lined up exactly?! If I had to work foodservice like that, I probably never would have gone on to become a chef.

  • Nikumbh


    Hi nice blog.. Up to me u r a good writer.. keep going..

    Really im jelous of u.. I dont know to write like u.. šŸ™‚

    –> ramsankar from india
    http://cutestwallpapers.blogspot.com/

  • feather nester


    I sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door for Kirby. Oh god, my stomach sinks just remembering it. The worst part was that I talked my best friend into it, too. I was so naive about the promise of the big payoff. We worked with a bunch of skeevy old men who constantly hit on us. It was awful.

  • Heather


    My worst job was caregiver to an old lady who had a stroke and was bed ridden. I only did this because it was a relative of my daughter’s and she wasn’t in school yet and I could take her with me. One of these days I am going to post about it. It was pretty stressful and gross, but long story short, I had to change her diapers. And help the nurse do things like hold open her legs so she could put in a cathater, etc.
    I MUCH prefered food service. In fact I am pretty talented at making up new dishes with the food items available in a fast food kitchen.

  • Melisa


    I guess if I had to choose I’d say health club membership sales. I am not smooth and natural as a sales person in varied situations and though I was really good at it with people who “clicked” with me, I couldn’t get into that slimy sales mode with the rest of them. I guess I’m too nice. The pressure of the quota got to me…

  • Cuppa Jo


    I’m with you – my first job was food service, and I will never ever do it again. I worked for a catering place and, besides having to wash all those dirty dishes of half-eaten or all-too-often half-chewed food, seeing the hairy warty old women in the kitchen mix the salad dressing into the big vats of salad by sticking their arms in up above the elbow was enough to make me want to puke nightly.

  • Mama Dawg


    The one I’m currently at. I loved working at Disney (my first paycheck job) and my old company but I hate where I work and what I do. It’s boring.

  • Dapoppins


    I was a babysitter, and then I went to school and became a Nanny. Your job with old people sounds more fun.

  • BOSSY


    Lord, Bossy’s worst job was spraying perfume in the department stores. Bossy still can’t wear or smell anything fragrant.

  • Heidi


    Telemarketer for a real estate agent- calling people and asking them if they want to sell their house……and the worst part is getting someone on the phone that didn’t realize you were a telemarketer and thought you were telling them they HAD to sell their house- then they’d launch into the stories of “but I’ve had this house since my babies were little and now theiy’re in college and my husband pased away and this house is all I’ve got for memories”, I even had one lady cry.
    I lasted 3 weeks. And made $25 (it was commission only).

  • PG


    you know, i don’t think i’ve really ever had a bad job. i did work in a group home for adults with mental retardation for a summer and that involved some gross stuff, but it was a great job. but man it was draining.

  • Have the T-Shirt


    De-tasseling corn.

    Sun.

    Bugs.

    Corn ‘rash’

    Agricultural wages (read $1.45/HR)

    Need I say more?

  • Misty


    Simplot is a potato processing plant. As a young bride, I was hired as a heavy duty worker. (literal term, I’m so not kidding) I made $13 an hour (Which, for an 18 year old in 1994, this was astronomical good fortune!) hosing down the warehouse floors and machinery.
    And scooping out (which my sweating, kevlar gloved hands) the moldy grates of rotting potatoes with the stench so strong, (as the plant humidity was 100%) that you could taste the rot…

  • Lisa@verybusymomwith4


    Food service is the worst. I waited tables and if the place was a fancy place–it rocked, no real clean up and better tips BUT I waited tables at Olive garden–gross, gross, gross!
    I know what you mean about real estate now–that is my husband’s market and we have one of the best areas in the country but much slower than last year!

  • Colleen


    Inventorying the porn section at a video store was probably the worst. And then calling people who had videos out late.

    “Hi! You’ve reached the Johnsons! Kari, Jim, Ella and Steven can’t make it to the phone right now. Please leave a message.” BEEP!

    Me: “Uh, hi. This is Colleen from Local Video. We see you have Poop Dreams checked out and its five days overdue. Please return it to our Main Street store as soon as possible. Thank you!”

    I was a great waitress, though!

  • dgibbs


    lmao “She said she wants to know if you’ll sing a ballad.”

    Worst job, working at a pizza place/Kcafe where I was by myself, making pizza dough, taking orders, cooking, cashier, clearing tables, and washing dishes.

  • Sogeshirtsguy


    lol that is bad. In college I worked at Legoland as a ticket taker. People were supposed to scan their tickets and not go in till the light turned green. Was too hard for some people and i would have to send them over to customer service and get bitched out every time. Good times.

  • LiteralDan


    Definitely corporate peon for a pack of psychotic women, after our company was bought. My job at that same company may have been my best, before it was bought. Other than “couch potato”, of course, which is one I held on and off between less cool jobs.

  • meleah rebeccah


    worst job I ever had…thats easy. The one I have NOW.

    I cam just picture you yelling at old people in your hairnet! HAHAHAH

  • Kat


    Worst job….payroll clerk in a small accounting office. Starring at that ancient accounting program and inhaling the smoke from my co-workers cigarettes almost killed me. When I got fired because of my “attitude”, I was so happy.

  • Rachel


    Movie Theater, hands down. Worst job.
    ugh.

    Were you a lubyloo girl?

  • Kori


    Worst job? Milker at a dairy. Followed closely by…nope, that was the worst.

  • georgie


    reminds me of one of my first jobs at Luby’s(gosh i miss that restaurant-they had great food) I was the dessert girl I could make a mean lemon pie I tell ya

  • the planet of janet


    i was a college student, working at a day camp with 7-year-olds. i thought i had died and gone to hell.

    šŸ™‚

  • Sadia


    It’s a good thing my husband’s used to me laughing out loud in front of the computer. He accepted my insanity long ago.

    The worst job I’ve had was as a technical writer for an engineer. I signed up to write technical papers, not to do the guy’s personal research and writing on why religious education is better than secular education. After all, I was being paid out of the Engineering budget. The professor I was working for assumed that since I had an Arabic last name and brown skin, I was Muslim. I’m atheist. I wrote 5 published papers that summer, and got no credit for any of them. Granted, I only wanted credit for the two engineering ones!

  • MommyTime


    Well, lots of food service, though I never had to clean mayonnaise off fake lettuce. But I think my worst job ever was as writer/researcher for a Dean at a university whose Assoc Dean HATED me with the hatred of a thousand burning suns. Why? you might reasonably ask. Apparently because I was female, could do my job without much difficulty, and smiled routinely. She made my life miserable once she figured out I was a generally happy person. I lasted a whole year, though.

  • ria


    Hands down my worst job ever was being a sweeper at Hersheypark. Not only was I outfitted in the most ugly LONG brown [brown is for chocolate, yay! not!] shorts, but I had one of those broom/dust pan doo hickies that I had to carry making me look utterly ridiculous. While everyone is running and laughing and playing, I’m picking gum wads off of planters and sweeping up fuming cigarette butts that about set my broom on fire. Sweltering heat, ugly baggy outfit, a broom… yeah, not your ideal job. There were many days where I was tempted to put myself on the carrousel -broom and all- and just keep going ’round and ’round so as to hide from the manager till my shift was over.

  • Ed (zoesdad)


    I’ve had a few really suck jobs.

    If I had to pick the worst—–REPO MAN. 3 days a week, I spent 10 hours a day hounding people on the phone for their car payments–the other two days a week–I would actually go out and steal their cars!

    Absolute worst in misery business!

    BTW–Thanks for the link. You’re a peach!

  • Lizzi


    I was once a sales rep for a cutlery company. One of the demonstrations we had to do involved cutting through a rope and then using the special scissors to cut a penny.

    Nothing scared away guys faster than opening my car and seeing a box of knives, a rope, and a bag of pennies in the back seat.

  • AlisonH


    A survive-while-in-college job: assembly line work for a company that made plastic products for the healthcare industry: sitz baths, intubation hoses, etc. The fumes were bad enough, but by law if anything fell off the conveyor, it had to be thrown away. But the manager told us if we did, we would be fired. Just put it back on, they’ll never know. (!!!) She was hellish to work under on all counts, and I finally called her boss and said she was why I was quitting. Come to find out later, that without telling or consulting with each other, within 24 hours the entire shift had done the same thing. EVERYBODY quit and EVERYBODY said they were quitting because of Julia. Julia got canned, and there was never anyone quite so deserving.

  • blackbird


    I worked in a microwave store that was really a front for a couple of pot dealers.

  • Melinda


    I was a salad girl too! Remember Ponderosa? Yes, it was gross. I will NEVER get off the smell of that darned walk in refrigerator…ukky!

  • Bean


    Many of these comments, particularly cuppa jo’s with the hairy-armed visual, are making me think twice about ever eating in a restaurant again! Gag. Vomit.

    And pg wins the positive attitude of the year award! I also have never had a “bad” job. But I really don’t think I could say that if I worked in a group home for adults that involved some “gross stuff”. God bless people who do that kind of thing, even if only for a Summer, because I don’t have it in me!

  • Tara R.


    When I was in high school, I worked at Micky D’s for about six months. To this day, I still can’t eat a Big Mac.

  • ria


    SO.

    Did you wet yourself during today’s game?

    [NOT admitting that I did here. Um… JUST ASKING!]

    :-X

    I’ve posted my recap and thoughts on the game on my blog.

    Bracing myself for USC next weekend!!!

    GO BUCKS!

  • Amy


    Let’s see, I worked in a mom and pop fast food establishment for all of 3 hours. The spattering fry grease was not for me.

  • Jamie E


    Days Inn….once had to clean a room that had been trashed by a group of young people who had been arrested for shop lifting. There was KFC leftovers on paper plates stacked in the sink, along with hair that had been “buzzed” apparently, bloody tampons all over, bloody condoms, blood on the bed and bb pellets that the vacuum would not pick up.

    I was told to wash the blood out as best I could and flip the mattress.

    Got high with my friends in the empty rooms and had to fend off truck drivers. I was 17.

  • Moonshadow


    The job I liked the least was a temp position to a “help clinic”. I was suppose to be there to do computer work but they had me escorting clients to their special rooms that were equiped with recliners and “glasses” that emitted lights along with cassette recordings being played. It was all just kind of creepy, or maybe it was just the “Dr” and his assistant. (She was madly in love with him and would jumped in front of a bullet for him.) Then they put me on the front desk as receptionist, making appointments and answering the phone, a job I really hate. They asked me to stay on after my assigned week and I declined. Temp service is the way to go when you’re looking for a job. My next job started out wonderful, as a sales assistant for a broadcasting company, and went he** after it sold to a corporation. I was downsized out, which turned out to be one of the best things that could’ve happened.

  • DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM


    Too funny! I used to clean houses, but that actually wasn’t the worst job I had. The worst was a job at a florist. The work itself was great, but my boss was EVIL and she and her husband fought bitterly, screaming at each other, all the time, right in front of me. I lasted about a month.

  • isla


    I worked as a waitress at Guido’s (it’s long gone) for about a month when I was in college. I worked some nights until 1 or 2 a.m and then had to get up for an 8 o’clock class. And it always took me hours to go to sleep because I would just lay there and replay the whole evening and suddenly think ” oh crap! I forgot that person’s creamer ” Or salad dressing or whatever. The worst part was that the owners thought they were really classy and wouldn’t let us write down orders even with a ten top ( that’s a table of ten people for those of you that have had the good fortune of never waiting tables).
    I used to go in the kitchen and cry. But I did look really cute in my red flapper uniform!

  • Weaselmomma


    I am laughing so hard. I know from previous post that you are in the buckeye state. I place i lived for about 7 years total. Hubby grew up in the Ohio Valley and I think I know exactly what restaurant you refer to(Melman’s). The picture you drew in my head was right on. My in-laws drug us there a few times.

  • Jo Beaufoix


    Hi lovely. Hmm, worst job?? Probably working in a pub where I was constantly harassed by drunken gits who never worked a day in their life and felt it their role in life to ‘bother’ young women. Shiver.

  • holly


    fish gutter! i had to wade through fish guts and pull out the roe!!! ew ew ew ew ew!

    what do i win.

    i don’t win anything?

    crap.

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