I have spent the week mopping the floor after the dishwasher repair man pulled a hose out the wall – so this week I would put housewife on the list of worst jobs. However, the perks of not having to go to meetings, or wear sensible shoes all day, to be able to go out to a park in the middle of the day, lie on the floor playing with lego and singing songs and being with my lovely little girls – out way all the bad points.
1. The worst job I ever had was packing packaging. It was very long shifts in a really noisy factory. The noise meant you had to wear protective headgear so you couldn’t talk to anyone. If you worked there permanently then you could buy headphones so you could listen to music – this made it a lot better. I didn’t cope well with the shifts – sleeping all day and then staying awake all night. The job itself involved getting lots of packaging from fast food restaurants, like lids and putting them in a line and then putting them in boxes. It was very repetitive, but also hard to begin with as you had to pick up a whole line of lids without dropping them.
I also remember that I was pleasantly surprised by my first pay packet – it was much bigger than I was expecting. Then someone told me that was because I was a student and I didn’t earn enough to pay tax. I often think about all the factories around the world. They have to make everything we use and take for granted every day. Someone, somewhere is putting straws in a box that we will throw away tomorrow. It’s a weird world.
2. Dressing up as a seagull.
Yes I did dress up as a novelty promotional character. It was hot and heavy and small children cry when you go near them. Actually that part was quite funny. I was a teenager so it was a bit embarrassing at first, then I realised no one could tell it was me. You also could only walk around for about half an hour and then had to have a break so I spent most of the time lazing about eating the chocolate eggs I was supposed to be handing out. So actually it wasn’t so bad.
3. Packing sweetcorn
I did a lot of packing jobs. This was in the summer between school and college. Sweetcorn went round on a conveyor belt. You picked the best ones to go to the more expensive supermarkets, the medium ones for the cheap supermarkets and the rest went to the markets. Once someone cut off a bit of their finger and we watched it go round on the conveyor belt and get packaged up. The worst thing about the job was the awful commercial radio station we had to listen to. It played some songs on a loop. I just have to hear Ace of Base, baby I love your way, I swear or Mr Vain and I’m instantly back packing sweetcorn.
4. Hospital kitchens
After Uni I went to work in a temp agency before our results came out. They asked what jobs I’d be prepared to do, naively I said I’d do anything. Their eyes lit up and they said great they need someone to pluck and gut chickens. Hmmm… I quickly said anything but that. Instead I went to the hospital kitchens. You had to wear those hats. It was very fast and hot and stressful.
5. Teaching whilst pregnant
I won’t complain about teaching because it’s a brilliant job most of the time – especially in August! However, it’s tough when you’re pregnant. Most of the time you don’t think of it being a physical job, but I did feel it was demanding when I wasup the duff. Long hours on your feet, bending over, carrying heavy piles of books, climbing ladders to put up displays and sitting on those little tiny chairs. The hardest thing was when I had morning sickness, having to run out of a lesson to be sick is just not fun. At least there was a large supply of sick bags! I also found smells made me sick and the combination of kitchen smells and cleaning products meant I could never walk through the hall and I had to leave a class of seven year olds covered in papier mache because the smell was so horrible. Also the kids said it looked like I’d put a football up my top. Cheers then.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone who does these jobs.