Today over at Ask A Manager (one of my all-time favorite workplace blogs. Go read it. Then come back here), one of the letter-writers wrote in asking if it was a bad thing that she was motivated to do good work at her job because they paid her (hint: no. Most of us work so we can get paid).
But it did get me thinking about the idea that work should be something more than a way to make money. To some extent, I like the idea of that, but the reality is that I would not be going to work if I wasn’t going to make money doing it. And I’ve done some really weird/crummy/interesting jobs to make money. So instead of deep thoughts on the relative merits of only sticking with a job because it pays money, I want to hear about the worst/weirdest jobs you ever had, simply to make money.
Here’s my list: five weird/awful jobs I’ve had, solely to make money (from not so bad to absolutely terrible).
5. Wading pool attendant
This one wasn’t actually awful at all, just weird. I got paid to sit at the wading pool for four hours each day and turn it on/off. That was pretty much it. It was a pretty sweet gig during the summer in college and I read a LOT of books, but I’m not really sure why they had to pay someone to sit there for four hours.
4. Waitress at Village Inn
If you aren’t familiar with Village Inn, it’s exactly like Perkins or IHOP. Or Baker’s Square. Lots of pie, lots of breakfast, standard American fare. This job sucked becasue a) everythign you wore to work always ended up covered in syrup, even if you worked the dinner shift and b) tips were crap.
3. Early morning gym opener
For awhile, I used to work for my city Parks and Rec and I was in charge of opening the gym in the morning. At 5:45 am. I am not a morning person. This was way to freaking early for me. I didn’t have to do much once I got there, but one mroning I got there at 5:46 and got yelled at by some crabby old man for 10 mintues straight. It was really fun. Or not.
2. Cashier at Wendy’s
I did this for two years in high school and it was- not as bad as you might think. The owner was a super duper sexist a**hole but also wasn’t around very often. I really liked the people I worked with, which made it a lot better. Smelling like grease after every shift was less fun. So were customers. My best story from this job- I was working on front register and a guy came in and ordered some chicken strips to dine in. The chicken strips were slightly too big for their container, so it wouldn’t close properly. He insisted that the box needed to close, but refused to let me put one of the chicken strips back and replace it with a smaller one. Spoiler alert- this particular incident ended with him screaming at me about his chicken strips. And the box still never got closed. Oh food service.
1. Head cook at a boy scout camp
This was hands down the worst job I have ever had. I worked the AM shift in a boy scout kitchen, which was every day, M-F from 5 am to 2 pm. Not only is mass food prep messy, stressful, and heinously boring, but the head cub scout counselor and I….did not get along. Her favorite method of communication was standing in the kitchen yelling at me and I was not invested enough in keeping my job to let her. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle I didn’t get fired…
What job(s) did you have that you only stuck with for the money?