My Most Unusual Job …

We’ve all done things we’re not proud of (yes, I’m looking at you), and today, I thought it would be fun to share with the world some of those things. Actually, scratch that. We do. not. need. to. know. Instead, let’s talk about jobs we’ve held in the past that might surprise people. Whether  you spent a few years as a go-go dancer, or wrestled alligators in a previous life, I think it would be fun to hear your stories. So, let’s do this: either as a comment under this post, or in a new post on your own blog, tell us what your current occupation is (in general terms – we don’t need specifics), and then, write about the gross/funny/surprising job (or jobs) you’ve held in the past. If you write it on your own blog, please comment here with a link, so others can read and share! It will be fun, I promise.

There's no real reason for this photo to be here, other than to show off my partner in crime. My aunt emailed me this picture, and I don't know whether Julie's seen it. So, there's a surprise.

There’s no real reason for this photo to be here, other than to show off my partner in crime. My aunt emailed me this picture, and I don’t know whether Julie’s seen it. So, there’s a surprise.

I currently work in public relations, and I’ve had wide and varied jobs over the years (those high school jobs were the best, weren’t they?), but two stick with me as horrible, and, naturally, my big sister was working right alongside me.

We grew up on a farm, as I may have mentioned, and gophers are the dreaded varmint that causes many a ditch to wash out, and crops to be damaged or lost. The county pest control office used to offer a bounty on gopher tails. Fifty cents, for just the tail! Of course, in order to get the tail, you have to trap, and kill the gopher (I suppose you could cut the tails off of living gophers, but that doesn’t seem wise, on a couple different levels). Thus, our neighbor hired us to trap and kill gophers on his property. He paid us 50 cents a tail, and then we took the tails to the “bounty office” for another fiddy. This particular neighbor had allowed his property to act as a gopher haven for several years, so we were rolling in dough that summer. Every morning and evening, we would head out to the neighbor’s place, carrying shovels. We’d find the traps we’d set previously (each trap had a chain, which was attached to a metal pole. We tied bright cloth onto the poles so they’d be easier to locate). If the trap had been sprung, we would dig it out and check for a (hopefully deceased) gopher. If there was one, one of us would hold the tail, while the other sawed it off with a pocket knife. Then, find a new gopher “mound,” (evidence of the gopher digging holes underground was a mound of fresh dirt on the surface), dig, set trap, fill in hole, repeat. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

The second horrible job Julie and I had was a two-week commitment, and we figured we could put up with anything for two weeks. We were janitors for the county fair. We went to the fairgrounds in the week leading up to the fair, and did general clean-up, both inside and outside. Bathrooms, food service areas, grandstands, etc. Then, when the fair began, we drove a four-wheeler around, emptying garbage cans and cleaning the ladies bathrooms. They had boys to do the men’s rooms. People are disgusting. And that’s enough of that.

That was painless – now it’s your turn! Tell us about your past horrible/unique/awesome jobs!

24 thoughts on “My Most Unusual Job …

  1. I wish I had some good stories to tell but all my jobs were pretty mundane. My husband once worked for a toilet bowl manufacturing co. once….sorry, but that’s all I got!

  2. You got my worst too. I have nothing to add unless you want me to describe the more horrible of traps or the way some of those varmints managed to escape! The only other awful things I did were untangling watermelon vines and collections at a once well-known furniture rental company. Those pale by comparison. And your partner in crime is so cute!

    • Nothing from the fast-food restaurant, or Mega-Mart discount store? I left the beet seed lab for you – an open invitation! 🙂 I also remember a summer working in the fields with a certain aspiring country-western singer, who spent the entire time singing, dancing, acting while the rest of us (including two of her sisters) worked and sweated our azzes off.

  3. Okay, first off, you had me rolling on the floor from the very fist freakin’ sentence! You REALLY crack me up!!! I intend to do my own post tomorrow with my job…and I’ll supply a link. Gophers…this reminds me of the 1978 “Bunny Bash” that turned a national spotlight on Idaho.

    • It’s nice to finally crack someone else up. I’ve been so tired of being the only person I crack up! I can’t wait to read your post. My giggler’s set and ready to go. Oh, I vaguely remember the “Bunny Bash” – great memory! Of course, we had no idea what all the fuss was about. Don’t tell the ASPCA, but Julie and I “bashed” a few gophers in our time. Foot traps were not our friend.

      • That is great. Julie and I took a job moving the neighbor’s sprinkler pipes one summer. As I recall, we went out for an evening shift, the pipes were full of mud, the two of us could barely lift them, it was in the middle of a thunderstorm (lightning + very long metal tubes. No, thanks!), and it took us several hours (I imagine we were being paid $5 apiece or the like). We walked home, called the neighbor and told him to find someone else to do the job!

        • Oh, I got told, about two weeks in, I would only be paid for 3 hours a day. It took me 6. The farmer’s wife, however, saw I was not “milking the clock”–it pathetically took me that long–and made him give me a bonus at the end of the summer. Also, she fed me when she saw me wake up from her lawn and wipe the drool from my face.

          • Yeah, that was not fun work. Kudos to you for sticking it out. We were never allowed to quit anything, but our parents had no problems when we said we weren’t going to do that anymore. Give me a stack of siphon tubes to pack around any day!

  4. Pingback: Most Unusual Job… | Free Range Cow

  5. I found you on my photo blog and I had to leave a comment on this post!
    Most of my work experience is in marketing and it’s changed a lot over the years, not for the better. But I also have a teaching background and there’s nothing shameful about that. I’ve waited tables (best place to work at is Red Lobster for the free screwed up orders), worked at a polling institute, did telemarketing, babysat (lots of dirty work there). Best job ever? Cleaning stables so I could ride horses for free.

    • I’ve been in marketing and PR for a while, myself. It sounds like your jobs were wide and varied. I’m not sure cleaning stables is a good tradeoff for riding the horses! Though, I grew up on a dairy farm, and cleaned up after a lot of cattle. The first time I rode a horse (it was a pony), I was bucked off (my friend patted its bottom and it jumped a little, and I slooooowly slid off). It was horrifying. I still have nightmares. I’ve never been on a horse since.

      • Cleaning stables was great and definitely a good deal since horseback riding is so expensive. I got to brush the horses, wash them, clean and wax the saddles and bridles, a great experience I’m glad to have had in my life. But horseback riding is very dangerous and I’d never push my kids to do it if they don’t ask. I permanently damaged a few disks in my spine and I’ve experienced back pain because of it for years.

        As for marketing and PR, I don’t know what your take is on it. I’m burned out by the mentality of executives and companies who need those services. The job used to be creative but it’s all about number crunching now and justifying every single activity, as small as it is. All the fun is gone. I’m making my best effort to branch out and do something else, even though the freelancing rate still pays more than everything else I’ve done so far.

        • When you say “cleaning stables,” I think of something far different from brushing and washing horses. Possibly because our cattle didn’t need brushed or washed, they just needed an, erm, clean-ish place to walk. 🙂
          I’m sorry to hear you have permanent back damage from something that caused you so much pleasure, though. That’s too bad.
          I don’t want to get too detailed on my thoughts on the profession (the place I worked that I considered the least political was working for three elected officials), but yes, the bi-monthly “You didn’t get anything in the newspaper, so I’m not sure how I can justify your job” meetings get tiresome. Particularly since the company does nothing to justify media coverage during that time – what do they want from me?? I’m glad to hear you’re making some money in freelancing – it gives me hope.

          • I think with marketing automation, the “need” for marketing people who actually understand marketing is going to go down even more. Everybody thinks they can do marketing and office politics are a turn-off. I run into the same issues as a freelancer as I did working for companies directly. Not a very gratifying work environment. I’d rather make less money but really enjoy what I do, which is what I’m focusing more on now. Life is too long to have a job I don’t enjoy.

  6. Hm, nothing exciting here — two decades begging money on behalf of nonprofits, and before that, the usual teenage bagging groceries/flipping burgers routine.

    Although, my husband and I now own a septic maintenance company. I just do the books, etc. — but my husband gets squirted with septic hoses now and then, and occasionally has to climb down into recently-emptied tanks! Does gross-by-marriage count?

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