Tuesday, March 25, 2003

The Worst job in the world

So at a dinner party amongst my work mates in the Boston Area, I had the unfortunate happenstance of asking the question What was the worst job you have ever had? I was a little punchy, due to the switch in timezone and the lack of sleep. Blurting out the question was an attempt to stimulate engaging dinner conversation. Unfortunately after reciting my worst job, I was soundly mocked and singled out as having the worst job in the world, or at very least the worst at the table. In an effort to "set the record straight", do "damage control" and to "tell my side of the story", I set forth my version.

First let me set the stage, most of which was context my colleagues were missing, which however I doubt will sway their opinions, none-the-less.

The year was 1989. I had just returned from a two year mission for my church, which I embarked upon after graduating from High School, prior to attending college. I was actually starting my first college semester and I had no money, my parents having 7 other children still at home and no independent source of wealth, and even worse no prospect for jobs. I was very late in the job searching game, most campus jobs had already been taken. I was scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel, on what is the lower ranks of jobs to begin with, i.e. student employment. The student Employment Office had a job board, where each morning new jobs were posted, and students crowded around to write down job numbers and then schedule interviews with the respective departments. At this timeframe, there were like 6 job postings, when in more prosperous job hunting times, there would be upwards of 50 plus. Slim pickings indeed, and me desperate to boot. I was thrust into this tragic set of circumstances and went for an interview for a job at the George Albert Smith Field House, which housed a indoor track and field. I don't recall the exact title of the position, and given what I ended up doing, I can hardly imagine that it remotely resembled my actual duties. But it was working with the laundry aspects of the Field House, and I recall actually going down and interviewing with a supervisor for the job. I don't even recall the exact description of what I would be doing, however I find it very hard to believe that the specific activities were spelled out, given that I would hardly have accepted the position. However I can surmise from the distant vantage point of the present, that either the reality of the job was in abstract difficult to approach relative to the truly visceral experience of doing it and I thought "it can't be that bad", or that I was vaguely told of job duties which neglected the actual specifics that I would eventually be engaged in. Regardless, desperately I took the job.

And when I actually started the job, I obviously started at the bottom of the ladder, because what I was actually doing was taking jockstraps from students and professors after their exercise. Needless to say I only lasted 8 days, being highly motivated to find alternative employment. And for this I was ridiculed and voted worst job at the table.

A colleague's Rich Mousseau's was a close second, who worked as a grave digger with his brother at the local church when he was a young teen.

Other's apparently have had the easy life and the silver spoon, for example, Mitt Romney, (one of the first google hits on the obvious phrase) describe his worst job as the prosaic and innocuous plant security guard, which while while possibly boring and not terrible exciting, doesn't seem to have any of the "worst" aspect to it.

Even my own wife, upon hearing my complain about being unfairly made fun of for my employment history noted "Yeah, I don't think too many people could top that?"

Oh well, we all have to achieve at something, even if it is scraping the barrel

What was your worst job?

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