Your best/worst jobs?

As the clock strikes 30 for me tomorrow I’ve been running through all the jobs I’ve done in my life. Here goes, more or less in chronological order:

Kitchen hand, cleaner, chicken-house hand, tractor driver, construction worker (Israel - kibbutz), waiter, bartender, doorman, housesitter, in-store promoter, seafood salesman, runner, production assistant, location scout, cable basher, chaperone, writer (paid), editor, proofreader (South Africa), teacher, DJ (Taiwan, China).

Seems like I’m making some progress - from kitchen hand to teacher (?). I work for myself now, ie. I contract myself out to students/companies and could call myself my ‘own boss’.

Most fun job: tractor driver, doorman, DJ
Worst: chicken-house hand, runner
Most interesting: teacher, location scout
Most gainful (knowledge): teacher
Most gainful (loot): teacher, doorman

How about y’all?

worst jobs: kitchen hand, room service and waiter.

best jobs: motorcycle courier, neuroscientist, climbing instructor, koala catcher (for blood biochemistry. and we put them all back in their home tree).

most dangerous jobs: motorcycle courier, tree trimmer (not enough time on the job to be called a surgeon)

most lucrative: lecturer, acid chemistry

most depressing: english editing. unless you count volunteer work in a drunk-drying out tank in inner city Sydney.

most entertaining: 15 years in lighting at the Sydney Opera House.

I’ve held two, three or four jobs at the same time, usually.

Dull indeed. Walked out of the last editing/proofing job. Literally - grabbed my keys, said ‘cheers’ and that was that - left for Taiwan a week later.

Now I’m being offered good loot to do it again, and I’m actually considering doing it…

Here’s my list in chronological order:

caddy at golf course
bagger at grocery store
birdbath and garden gnome maker (pouring cement into molds)
restaurant work (busboy, host, cook, server)
driving range picker and golf course attendant
cleaner at private bus company (3rd shift)
bill collector (downtown Detroit)
international education agent
marketing in IT

messiest job: pouring the garden gnomes because we had to use kerosene so the cement wouldn’t stick to the mold
most dangerous job: cable bill collector, had a gun pulled on me at 8am because the guy and his friends were up all night smoking blunts. definitely wanted his cable left on.
most lucrative: per hour probably valet because of the tips. (added bonus: free food, drunk chicks flashing their boobs, and sometimes joints)

Pulling lobsters out of Jayne Mansfield’s arse. Triffic.

Yeah, the simple jobs were good - tractor driver on kibbutz: up at 5am to collect milk from the dairy, then various other chores. Done by noon.

The upside was being able to drive into the countryside on Sabbath with a couple mates clutching to the back of the tractor for dear life (yes, I did drive like a fool to see if they’d take a tumble - after all, we were only doing about 4km/h)

Also, as tractor driver I had to deliver alcohol to the kibbutz pub every Friday which meant I had the keys to the pub AND the alcohol fridge - ah, the life…

I’ve heard of these ladyboys but none of them have ever flashed their joint at me, thank god.

Sometimes I just sit back and think about all the great jobs I’ve had. At least I still have my memories.

Worst? Unloading trucks full of rose bushes and watermelons was rough. The guys on the trucks would toss them to you. The rose bushes, of course, have thorns, and, well, watermelons have a lot of inertia when thrown. But I liked my boss, and it was better than my brief tenure at an insurance company where I hated my boss.

Best? Teaching psych at the university was great, but my current jobs editing aren’t bad either, especially when we’re not busy, so I get paid to do my own thing.

Worst job: Editor in Chief of a monthly bilingual magazine.

Best job: Editor in Chief of a monthly bilingual magazine.

Playing in a clown band at Canada’s Wonderland and touring Canadian Native reservations with an Elvis impersonator are two of my highlights.

There was also that time when I was a tele-marketer for the Globe and Mail. Lots of verbal abuse (deserved).

I’ve had lots of jobs, but none were all that exotic except maybe working at the Grand Canyon one summer. Sad to say it, but my best job may be my present one, despite working 10-11 hour days regularly, because it’s very challenging, with lots of huge, exciting projects and tremendous independence and responsibility. I know, booooooring.

But the best jobs of any friends/acquaintances of mine were the guy who got me to come to Asia in the first place, a naturalist who gave up his law practice to move to Phuket and open a business taking people out scuba diving, sailing, kayaking, etc, or my brother’s friend who helped crew a yacht in the Carribean for a while.

The worst job of anyone I knew was the guy I met who sucked shit out of septic tanks with a vacuum hose all day and drove around town in a tanker truck full of shit.

Best way I ever quit a job: worked at Taco Bell in San Diego for a couple of weeks at age 18, when my best friend came in one day, we were talking, and two attractive girls came in and were flirting with us, so I told my boss I was taking my break, we took off with the girls and I only came back a week later to get my final paycheck, which my boss gave me only after giving me a stern talk about how I blew a terrific career opportunity. Darn, I probably could have been head taco fryer by now.

Best summer job: Flagging at a construction site for a Golf course at a ski mountain. Was part of the steelworkers union. Made US$30/hour sitting, suntanning, and listening to music. The machinery operators were crude as hell but were very, very funny. Called all their machines “whores.” Learned some pretty colorful language that summer.

Worst summer job: Being a gas jockey (was fired the first day on the job). I’m not very good at some common sense stuff. The gas nozzle was on automatic, and I accidentally poured gas in the face of a senior citizen that opened the door of his car. He started crying. The ambulance was called. My friends arrived to see how my first day on the job was going. They were pretty amused. Luckily, the old guy was ok. I was politely asked to leave the job.

Best way of quitting: My politics were pretty left wing in high school. I wanted to go to a U2 concert in Vancouver, but I had to work. So I called up the owners of the restaurant, told them that I disapproved of them using Del Monte products (because it exploits the Mexican farmworkers), and told them I was quitting. That really pissed them off. The Zoo TV concert was pretty damn good. I had 3rd row tickets and the stage was shaped in a T-formation. When Bono opened a bottle of champagne while singing “Angel of Harlem,” the champagne soaked me.


In SA we don’t have traditional “summer jobs” - just weekend work or holiday work.

I forgot my VERY first job: weeding the neighbours’ garden for R10 (roughly $1). Took me a good four hours…

Lucan: Derek and Clive!

I did actually think of that but then I refrained, being a man of great taste.

The worst: A summer job I had when I was at uni, making donuts in a supermarket bakery (started at 4:00 am, hated every second of it!).

Most interesting and worst paid: Peace Corps volunteer work for two years in small villages in sub-Saharan Africa (public health work, I loved it!!!).

Most boring: A short stint as a temp in Boston in the HR department of a semiconductor company…duuuulllllll…

Most lucrative: My uni teaching job now in the UAE.

Most depressing: Teaching kindergarten my first year in Taiwan.

Scariest: Running away from my first job in the Mid East (before I came to Taiwan)…worked for a high school for 3 months run by tyrants who kept our passports and withheld pay. After we got our passports back, we snuck off to the airport at prayer time and got on a standby flight to a neighboring country. Luckily we weren’t asked for a letter from our employer (standard where we were) and got on the flight. Whew! A close one.