The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” Contest: Honorable Mention
He was sent one The Green Study Coffee Mug, a cheesy postcard from Minneapolis and I made a $25 donation to the American Red Cross on his behalf of his local Red Cross Chapter.
Two Pepsis and Hold the Red-Eye
by Dave at 1pointperspective
Naming your worst job is not as easy as you might think. On any given day, even the best job can seem like the worst one. Keeping track of the truly awful jobs can be a good exercise to help you appreciate better ones.
I looked at my sordid career history and tried to narrow it down. Though I had a few doozies back in my youth, I felt it wasn’t fair to look at any of those jobs, since there were no mortgage payments or little mouths to feed. To me, any job you can walk away from without big repercussions couldn’t have been that bad.
Overall, I’d have to say my worst job was one which never actually had a single good day. It was a blissfully short in duration, only a few weeks, but every time I think of it, I get a chill and a slight wave of nausea. It was back in my bartending days, before embarking on my current “real” career. I already had a decent gig slinging gin and light beer, but the commute was brutal. I was getting old for the bartending scene and driving 45 minutes each way was adding time to my work-night and sucking precious tips out of my pocket and into my gas tank.
There was a buzz about a new place opening up just minutes from my house. New places are always packed around here. People go to the “new place” over almost any other choice. Local bar and restaurant owners have been known to change the names of their establishments just to cash in on this phenomenon. Getting in on the ground floor of a new place also meant an equal footing with other bartenders when it came to getting the best shifts.
As soon as I got a chance, I rushed over and got my application in. The bar was huge and had a theme. I’d have to wear a standard uniform – so what? I got the job and went in for training. The little voice in my head which tried to tell me that things might not be so great was drowned out by the amplified crooning of Billy Ray Cyrus lamenting his Achy Breaky Heart. The specter of dollar signs blinded me to just how absurd I looked in a cowboy hat and bolo tie. That’s right – investors had gotten together and decided that a country bar with line dancing would be a gold mine in suburban South Jersey, just minutes from Philadelphia.
I already knew I could put up with any music in a bar, as I had done for years. What I didn’t realize was that even a thousand miles from Gilley’s, people took their country line dancing seriously. They came out of the woodwork and wore their very best western garb. I suspected that many of them were closet cowboys, wearing pinstripe suits and hair gel most other waking hours, as there’s just not too many jobs for cowpokes in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Those boots and big belt buckles must have cost them a lot of money, because these folks had scant change left over for yours truly. In addition, they were so wrapped up in avoiding any missteps while performing the boot scootin boogie, that they didn’t want to risk clouding their minds with alcohol. Time after time, some middle manager dressed like a ranch hand would saunter up to the bar and order $19.75 worth of sasparilla, hand me a 20 and wait patiently for his quarter.
My tolerance of bad music and idiots playing dress-up is apparently directly proportional to my love of a fat wad of damp dollars in my pocket at the end of the night. After two tortuous weeks of making less than nothing and listlessly participating in demeaning-but-mandatory staff dance numbers, I’d had enough. I hustled my backside 45 minutes west and somehow got my old job back. Somewhere in the weeds and detritus of the side of Philadelphia’s Schuykill Expressway lies an ill-fitting ten gallon hat with a bolo tie nearby.
Make sure you mosey on over and check out his blog: