The Worst Jobs I have Ever Done

I wonder how many of us can honestly say we love our jobs? I feel very lucky in saying that the various roles I’ve had throughout my adult career have always been interesting, entertaining and challenging. Please note, however, my use of the world ‘adult’ in the previous sentence...

During my teenage years I most definitely did not enjoy all the jobs I undertook. I appreciate that I am lucky to have found work at all (although the economy was slightly more buoyant during the period about which I’m writing), but there were many, MANY times when I was actually doing those jobs that I did not feel lucky at all.

The first experience I’d like to share was one of those jobs that was sold to me as being a lot more ‘exciting’ than it turned out to be. What can I say? I was young, naive and unaware of the unscrupulous nature of the recruitment agencies, who must have rubbed their hands together with glee when I bounced in, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, announcing that I was happy to do ‘anything!’.

So it was with a spring in my step that I turned up at a large event held in one of Hampshire’s country parks, ready and willing to sell Cornish pasties as if my life depended on it. I have never seen queues so big, never warmed so many baked goods and never discussed the meat content of said baked goods with such fervour. I was exhausted by 10:30am and we’d only just got started. By the time the whole weekend was up, I could barely move, had a car filled to the rafters with leftovers and felt as though I’d never get the smell of these pastry products off me. I’d thought it would be a relatively relaxed assignment, with time for me to go and browse around the other stalls. It turns out that I knew nothing about the popularity of pasties (although funnily enough, I’ve never eaten another one since that weekend...).

The second temping job of that summer break was providing administrative help for the education department of the local council. I was considering teaching as a career and again, somewhat naively, I thought that this sounded like just the ticket. I’m sure I probably even told my parents it was a great networking opportunity. More fool me. I sat in a darkened room with three other temps, in front of many enormous piles of forms and letters, which we were told need stuffing into envelopes. Being diligent and conscientious, one other temp and myself organised ourselves a production line and completed the task within a couple of hours. This was a mistake. I hadn’t realised we were being paid by the hour, rather than the day, so while we got paid for the three hours we had done, the other two temps (who had been a little more laid-back in their approach - in hindsight, they were obviously seasoned professionals) stretched the work out over a whole day and got paid a lot more than us. Nevertheless, the experience paid off somewhere as I did, in fact, go on to become a teacher.

Pile of envelopes

However, both of the aforementioned jobs pale into insignificance when compared with the trauma that befell me during the time I worked at the small supermarket in my village. I dealt with a maggot invasion, a delivery lorry reversing into the storefront and the mortification of having to turn away underage youths trying to purchase alcohol and clearly hoping I wouldn’t question the fact that the oldest-looking-one had approached me with a very large bottle of cider (they’d all contributed their share, naturally) and five pounds in coppers, which were presented to me proudly. It was made worse by the fact that I wasn’t a huge amount older than them myself and knew a few of them from the years below me at school. I only lasted a few weeks.

I have to say though, that while I’d never want to do those jobs again, I’m pleased that I paid my dues and got stuck into doing things I’d never considered before. It made me truly appreciate all those people who do the jobs we all love to hate and made me realise how good it felt to earn my own money. You’ll still never catch me eating a pasty though.