Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bad Day at the Office?

Thought for the day:  The grass on the other side of that fence could be a whole lot worse than what's on your side.

So, what's the worst job you ever had?

Most of us have had at least one workday so dismal we're convinced nobody could possibly do worse. Me, I came home from the hospital one day, totally exhausted and sick to stinking death of running lab tests (not number one time, not number two times, but in triplicate!)  most of the day on urine and stool samples. I grumbled about how sick I was of hearing "urine and stool, urine and stool, blah, blah, blah . . . "  My mother calmly said, "Would you rather they called it s*** and p***?" She had a point.

Actually, I've liked every job I ever had. Ironically, the leadership position I held with a volunteer organization was the only one I ever had where I had to "fire" people. Yeah, fire volunteers. Fancy that. Although I loved that job overall, I hated having to let people go. But other than that, I've been pretty lucky.

I never had THIS job.

or THIS one.

So, what ARE some of the world's worst jobs? Surely, catching elephant poop in a bag and sniffing armpits for a living have to rate as pretty lousy, but what do the people in the know say? Popular Science comes up with a list of the ten lousiest jobs every year, and here are this year's . . . uh,  winners?
  • Hazmat diver - Um, these guys swim in sewage. 
  • Oceanographer - Studying the dual problems of overfishing and diminishing coral reefs can't be the world's most cheery job.
  • Elephant vasectomist - Highly unsemenly!  Right up there with catching his poop in a bag. Maybe worse. Takes a lot of, um, testicles to take on this job.
  • Garbologist - This is an archaeologist who picks through ancient garbage. (Indiana Jones in a dumpster?)
  • Coursework carcass preparer - Well, somebody has to kill, pickle, and bottle critters for school kids to dissect. ( Just think how hard it must be to get rid of the stench of formaldehyde.)
  • Microsoft security grunt - Popular Science says it's like these poor guys wear a big sign that say, "Hack me."
  • Gravity research subject - These folks have to lie still for weeks on end to approximate the effects of gravity . . .  like atrophied muscles and degenerating bones. Fun, huh?
  • Olympic drug tester - No, these guys don't get to sample the drugs, silly. They get to watch athletes tinkle in a cup. What fun. Bet their popularity doesn't go up when they catch a doper, either.
  • Forensic entomologist - These guys get to help solve murders by (gag) studying the maggots found in corpses.
  • Whale feces researcher - They scoop up whale poop and study it. (Suddenly, those stool samples I worked with don't seem so bad . . . )
Those who have jobs stuck behind a desk all day, especially during drop-dead gorgeous weather, often envy those who get to work in the great outdoors. Fresh air, sunshine, and wow, how about in the water? What's not to love, right?

The following first hit the Internet in the late '90s, and allegedly, is an actual email from a poor schnook named Bob. He's supposedly a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana, and his job is to do underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. When his sister received his email, she sent it to an Indiana radio station, which happened to be holding a worst job experience contest. Which she won. Whether or not it's true, it sure is funny. 

Hi, Sis.

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office.

I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I'd share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, let me bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this: we have a diesel powered industrial water heater.

This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darned good plan and I've used it several times with no complaints. 

What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. Anyway, everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds, my butt started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was already done. In agony I realized what had happened. The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now, since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it. However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into my butt crack. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically. Needless to say, I aborted the dive.

I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry compression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet.

As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on as soon as I got into the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't use the can for two days because my butt was completely swollen shut.


So, how about you? Had any jellyfish bad days lately?

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Where do you come up with these stories? You are like the Tom Brokaw of the internet. Smart, entertaining, informative, funny. Another great post.

    And I think catching elephant poop in a bag is probably a lot easier, (and cleaner) than scooping mouse poop up the same way.

  2. Oh, that poor, poor guy! And what an empathetic bunch of people he worked with.

  3. Hi-ya, Anne. Well, gee thanks. I'm a big Brokaw fan. And you've got a point about the mouse poop. Not much chance of "not seeing" elephant feces.

    Hi-ya, Dianne. Aw, come on, ya mean you wouldn't have laughed at that guy ... even a little?

  4. Oh my goodness. As someone whose had her fair share of jellyfish bites, poor guy!!

  5. Hi, Connie. Yeah, you're right. Jellyfish stings are awful, and if I reeeeally believed this story were true, I'd be cringing for this poor guy. But I kinda doubt its veracity, and look at it more as a funny story. (If it is true, after this many years, he'd probably be laughing at it by now, too.)

  6. I'd just love to know the internal workings of your mind - how do you come up with these ideas. That was hilarious. Thanks for the morning lift.

  7. I have had seven jobs in my lifetime and have been content for the most part with six of them. The one job that was unbearable for me was working for three professional men who would get mad and throw chairs at each other. I had to learn how to move quickly and duck for cover. Needless to say, I did not work there long.

    Over the years, if I was having a bad day at work, I would think of worse situations, like having to scrape up road kill on the highway. Somebody has to do it and heck, a paycheck is a paycheck, especially today.

  8. OMG! I know I shouldn't laugh at another's pain, but that's hysterical! Poor guy.

  9. The jellyfish story made the rounds of my workplace in hopes everyone would feel better about where we worked. We didn't. :)
    Thanks Susan, love your posts.

  10. Loved the cartoon but loved the jellyfish incident even more. Thankfully it hasn't taught me a lesson as I would never ever allow myself to be in that situation!

    My worse job was teaching a class of hyper-active, unruly kids who thought I was evil because I shouted at them. I'm not teacher anymore... thank goodness!

  11. Thank goodness I've never had a job as bad as any of those. Armpit sniffer? They just don't pay enough to sniff a guy's armpit. No.

  12. Trainee STOCKBROKER. I lasted 18 months! No humour in stockbroking, only vast amounts of alcohol to numb the pain.

  13. Musical Gardener- Glad you enjoyed it, but you probably don't wanta know how my mind works. Silly thing thinks EVERYTHING's funny.

    Starting Over- Professionals who threw chairs at each other? Yipes, I trust they were't anger management counselors.

    Linda- Glad you thought it was funny. (Your sense of humor is every bit as inappropriate as mine!)

    Austan- Boy, the place you worked must've really been bad!

    Rosalind- A classroom full of kids can either be the best thing in the world or the worst. (especially if their parents are uncooperative.)

    L.G.- Yeah, can you just imagine??? They'd have to pay me a LOT of money to sniff armpits.

    Cro- That sounds like the sort of job that could suck the soul right out of you. (You're much better suited to being an artist and gentleman of leisure.)

    Thanks, y'all. Take care.

  14. In my working life I've only had one job out of about eight that I really liked. The rest were all soul suckers. But as someone mentioned, a paycheque is a paycheque. Have fun on your own time.

  15. Hi-ya, Delores. Gee, I hope the one you really liked is the one you had the longest.

  16. omg, now that is a very bad day at the office.

  17. This is hilarious! Thanks for the smile & more than ever so happy with my new job & adventure. Smelling armpits?! Lol...sometimes mine are bad enough. :-)

  18. "Highly unsemenly" LOL. I used to work on the nursing staff at a nursing home. I could fill a book with the gross and horrific things I had to do and see - the thing is, who would want to read it?! Yuck!

  19. follow that story!
    I doubt I could!!!

    chin up
    I am a professional arse wiper!

  20. Hi, Marcy. Yup, and worthy of winning that contest, too.

    Hi, Tracy. Glad to provide you with a smile, dear lady.

    Hi, Kara. Glad you caught the "unsemenly." It cracked me up when I wrote it. I dunno, I might enjoy reading about your gross job. As you may have noticed, I write about a lot of gross stuff.

    Hi, John. Being a professional arse wiper is a noble calling. (and I'm not being a smart arse when I say that, either.)

  21. Oh man...can you IMAGINE? OWWWW!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  22. Hi, Angela. Thank you so much for dropping by. Always good to hear from you.