My worst job ever

I originally wrote this as a comment on the Still Untitled episode about worst jobs, and it just seemed postworthy enough to publish here as well.

I ended up with my worst job ever after responding to an classifieds ad about “warehouse work”. I had previously worked at an auto parts warehouse driving a forklift and picking parts for orders, which was a completely decent job, so I figured this one would be something similar.

After I got to the address from the ad, I found myself in an office for a factory manager. He was nice enough, and led me to the factory floor for my orientation, which was given to me by a nice, if rather odd, middle aged woman.

“So, here’s your workstation. See, these spray cans of insecticide come from the conveyor belt on your left. You take 12 of them, put them in one of these boxes, and push the box along on the conveyor belt on your right!”

“Ok… and that’s it??”

“Oh, no. See behind you, there’s a machine that puts on the caps and the nozzles on the cans? You need to keep those vats filled with the caps and the nozzles from those big bags. If the bags run out, you get more from the storage room over there.”


“That’s it, let’s get to work!”

So, I’d sit there, wait for the cans to come from my left, put the cans in a box, and push the box on to the next conveyor belt on my right.

You’d think that the mind numbing boredom of doing that would be enough, wouldn’t you? Alas, no. The icing on the cake was that if I neglected to fill the vat with the nozzles, the machine wouldn’t notice it. Instead, it would happily keep doing what it did, but without the nozzles, every time the machine tried to install one, it would instead spray a good amount of insecticide in the air. Right behind me, on a factory floor with poor ventilation. And it would keep doing it until I stopped the machine to fill the vat with the nozzles again.

So, instead of getting bored out of my skull doing repetitive and menial work, I’d get bored out my skull doing repetitive and menial work inside a cloud of toxic chemicals! It occurred to me that my co-worker might not have been born as odd as she was.

I lasted until the lunch break, at which point I went to the manager’s office, politely let him know that this wasn’t my idea of “warehouse work”, and left the building, still slightly dizzy from the fumes.

I’ve worked in a restaurant kitchen doing dishes, in a cafe preparing food and as a cashier, as a forklift driver, doing early morning newspaper deliveries, as a pizza delivery guy, a pizza cook, a removalist, an assistant webmaster for a government office, as a warehouse worker unloading containers, as a parachute packer, a parachute rigger, a tandem skydiving instructor, a cleaner in a coal power plant, a software developer and currently as a “technical project manager”.

Oh wow. I don’t think I’ve ever actually listed all of my jobs like that. That’s a surprisingly long list.

Anyway, having experience from so many different walks of life definitely gives some perspective. Any time I get unhappy about my current job, I try to remember that it could be much worse.

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