The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” Contest: Honorable Mention

canstockphoto4598050An Honorable Mention from The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” contest goes to Leisha at cancerinmythirties for a job where the Ick Factor seemed age inappropriate.

She was sent one The Green Study Coffee Mug, a cheesy postcard from Minneapolis and I made a $25 donation to her local Red Cross chapter.

The Worst Job I Ever Had — OR — A Hairy Guy & an Old White House

by Leisha at cancerinmythirties

I was eleven years old.  I’ll give you a minute to picture an eleven-year old. At 11, you are just a kid.  So much to learn.  So many mistakes to make.  You still need someone to look after you.

But we needed the money. So I placed an ad in the newspaper:

Summer Babysitter/Mother’s Helper:  Responsible 11-year-old girl available to care for your child(ren).  CPR-certified.  3 years experience.  References. Light housekeeping/cooking if needed.

I received a number of calls.  I’m not sure that all of the men who called actually had children.  But that’s another story!

Anyway, I had been babysitting for my younger sister for years and had branched out to babysitting for friends, neighbors, friends of friends/neighbors since turning 8.  Think about that for a minute.  I have eight-year-olds.  Two of them, in fact.  And I cannot picture leaving them alone for 20 minutes.  I cannot picture them cooking.  Or cleaning.  Or caring for other people’s children!

But I did all of these things at the tender age of 8.  So, by 11, I was an old pro.

Of all the calls I received, the most appealing came from a woman who said she’d need me Saturdays and most weekdays and that I could start that Saturday.

Why was it the most appealing?

1.)  I could walk to the house.  We did not have a car, so proximity was important.

2.)  She had a two-month-old son — and I loved babies.

So I said yes.  And I walked there on Saturday morning, arriving early because I was a very responsible eleven-year-old.

But I was not prepared for what I would find or for what this job would be.

I had passed the house many times on the school bus.  It was a weathered old white house in poor repair.  The lawn was littered with bits and pieces from at least a few vehicles.  And there, in the long gravel driveway, was a run-down old truck with a skull and crossbones bumper sticker on the back window and a pair of panties hanging on the rear-view mirror.

But I was not one to judge.  I grew up quite poor.  Owning an old white house and a run-down old pick-up truck (with or without the panties) would have been a dream come true for us.

When I knocked on the front door that first day, a tall, hairy guy motioned me inside.  He looked me up and down and gave me a smile and a wink I had seen before.  Then his wife swooped in, red lipstick-stained cigarette dangling from her mouth.  She handed her infant to me with as much care as you’d expect from a football player tossing a football.  “Here are the other two,” she said, pointing to Jimmy, age 7, and Cassie, age 4.

And with that, the man and woman left, promising to be back “later.”

In the months that ensued, “later” meant anywhere from 2 to 10 hours.  I never knew.  Sometimes the couple would leave and go to an unnamed place.  Sometimes their bandmates would come and they would all go out to the old barn in the back to play while I looked after the kids all day.  And sometimes it meant that the mother would leave me home with the children and the hairy man.  And on those days, he often wore only a pair of boxers and said he enjoyed watching me bathe the kids.  Yes, hairy guy was a weirdo!

And the kids, oh, the poor kids.  I fell in love with 4-year-old Cassie and 8-week-old Joe.  They were sweet and cuddly and needed to be nurtured.

And, to my dismay, 7-year-old Jimmy fell in love with me.  I learned this when he took me back to the old weeping willow he called his treehouse and attempted to kiss and handcuff me to a tattered backseat his dad had dragged in there from his old car.  Of course a discussion about boundaries ensued.

And yet I returned.  All summer long.  And on the days when their parents came home drunk and/or stoned, I stayed late without pay and walked home in the dark.  Those kids needed me.

And I will never forget them — or the worst job I ever had.

Congratulations, Leisha!

Be sure to check her blog and these enlightening (age appropriate) posts:

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The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” Contest: 3rd Place

canstockphoto45980503rd Prize from The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” contest goes to Bill at Pinklightsabre’s Blog for a job straight out of a Chekhov story.

He will receive a Green Study Mug and a priceless postcard from Minneapolis. A $50 online donation to the American Red Cross has been made on his behalf to his local Red Cross Chapter.

Ball Bearings

by Bill at Pinklightsabre’s Blog

My friend Dave and I were down on our luck. Smoking cigarettes, staying up late playing Dungeons & Dragons, no luck with the ladies. Running out of money, living at home. Arguing with our parents, arguing with each other, sometimes needing a wank.

The offer came through at $7 an hour, unheard of! All the temp jobs were running in the high 5’s, sometimes a hair over $6, but never $7. We both got placed: 6 AM at the industrial park, Monday morning.

We met in the break room and waited, half a dozen guys in sweat pants and baseball caps, drinking coffee. It was a sort of recognition our lives sucked: me and Dave both with a college degree, reduced to this.

Two guys came in and told us to sit down. One was a hulking Puerto Rican with a mullet, and the other, a balding white guy with a tie. They explained we were part of a very important project, that if we worked hard there could be other opportunities.

We were to inspect ball bearings. There had been a problem with one of the lot codes and it was a government contract for a big name aircraft, so they needed us to go through all the other lot codes and check for defects.

We were led to a table facing a wall in the warehouse, with fold-out metal chairs. The ball bearings came in plastic tubes, about 20 a tube, and the tubes came in boxes, about 20 tubes per box. The boxes came out of crates. Dave and I were chuffed: seven bucks an hour, for this?

We got to it. Each of us got a few tubes, a set of cotton gloves, and a bucket. The bucket was for defects. Defects, we were told, came in the form of small patches of orange, which was actually rust, which may have been the result of a problem with how they were shipped, by boat.

The ball bearings looked like mini silver donuts, and had a nice weight to them: such magical little things! We were to carefully rub the grease off, inspect them thoroughly, then put them back into the tubes when we were done.

We sat there in silence rubbing the ball bearings, sliding them in and out of the tubes. No defects. None, really. Dave saw what he thought might have been something, but when he asked the guy with the tie, he said it was okay.

8:30 AM. Time for first break. Dave and I go out to his car and smoke a cigarette. It’s starting to rain.

8:45 AM. Back inside. The Puerto Rican set up a radio for us, but says we have to fight over what to play, he’s not getting in the middle of it.

10:30 AM. Lunch: no defects, yet. Dave suggests tomorrow we should think about getting high.

2 PM. We get off work and drive home. Day 1: three more weeks, maybe more, depending on how fast we go. Dave says we don’t want to work our way out of a job, slow down.

That week, I dream of ball bearings: rubbing the cool, silver surface with the edge of my thumb, looking for orange flecks, a Rorschach test: faces, flowers.

We get chummy with the other guys over time. Since it’s all men, and we’re all about the same age, it’s low conversation: Women, Getting Loaded, Car Parts, Sports, Fist-Fights. Pick your category, everyone’s an expert.

One of the guys drives an IROC-Z and tells Dave he can get us whatever we want, whenever. He’s quiet, looks like he might be Arabic; his name is Abe.

It’s Friday and we haven’t found any defects yet. Abe overhears the Puerto Rican and the white guy while he’s in the crapper, says they’re thinking about letting us go and calling it off, next week.

We need to find some defects. Abe tells Dave in the parking lot he kifed a tube and is going to take it home to work on it over the weekend. Dave and I want to continue our D&D campaign, but we’re tired from the early mornings, and agree to call it a night. We’ll get our first check the week after next.

Congratulations, Bill! 

Be sure to check out his blog – for a walk on the dark and light side:

Dreams and Despair

Sentiment, sediment and what’s at the bottom of it

Ultimatum

The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” Contest

canstockphoto4598050It’s Monday and the perfect day to announce The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” contest. After writing my post yesterday regarding various jobs and exchanging comments with readers about their jobs, I thought this might be a nice way to kill off some winter blahs (mine, to be specific). Please note that if I publish your post and it results in you being fired from your current job, I accept no liability. Blog responsibly.

Guidelines:

Write a previously unpublished blog post (with title) 200-700 words long about the worst job you’ve ever had. Submit it through my Contact page by Sunday, March 3rd 2013, 12:00 pm (US Standard Central Time). Please note that your formatting is retained when I receive it – the Contact page makes it look like it has disappeared.

One entry per person please. The contest begins as soon as this post goes public.

The winners will be notified on Wednesday, March 6th 2013 by 12:00 pm (US Standard Central Time).

Guest blog posting, shipping of the prizes and donations will take place by March 31st, 2013.

All entries will be judged by me, myself and I. It’s entirely subjective.

1st Prize: Your entry will be posted as a guest post to my blog, you will be sent one The Green Study Coffee Mug or Pen (depending on your preference and shipping restrictions) and I will make a $100 donation to the American Red Cross on your behalf to your local Red Cross Chapter or their International Disaster Response fund.

2nd Prize: Your entry will be posted as a guest post to my blog, you will be sent one The Green Study Coffee Mug or Pen (depending on your preference and shipping restrictions) and I will make a $75 donation to the American Red Cross on your behalf to your local Red Cross Chapter or their International Disaster Response fund.

3rd Prize: Your entry will be posted as a guest post to my blog, you will be sent one The Green Study Coffee Mug or Pen (depending on your preference and shipping restrictions) and I will make a $50 donation to the American Red Cross on your behalf to your local Red Cross Chapter or their International Disaster Response fund.

All participants will receive a priceless, irreplaceable postcard from Minneapolis (although it actually cost $1.00 and can be bought at the airport, in large quantities).

I will ship prize winners’ mugs or pens internationally (with no guarantee that it will arrive or that it will arrive in one piece, but the same caveat applies stateside).

Let’s shake off the winter blahs

& have some fun!