Monday, September 10, 2012

Play it Again, Sam

Thought for the day:  Some things are too much fun to do only once.

Know what THAT means, dontcha? Time for a (ta-DA!) re-run. This post was first run almost a year ago, so lots of you haven't seen it. And for the rest of you, maybe you've seen it, but completely forgot about it. Cool. At any rate, my brain's on strike today  what's old is now new again. When first published, this post was entitled, Bad Day at the Office?

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. Compared to your long list it probably doesn't seem too bad, but the worst job I ever had was doing furniture removals one hot summer when I was a student.

  2. Susan, you are very fortunate to have enjoyed your jobs. When I think back on some things things I did to keep food on the table, I cringe, but there's pride in it and, yes, sometimes even humor--retirement helps the humor part a lot!

  3. I've had some lousy jobs in my time, but I've never caught elephant flop in a bag and I've never had a jellyfish on my ass.

    In my mindless youth I was a dishwasher in a kitchen that had no air conditioning and it would often get up to 114 degrees in the summer.
    I also had a fifteen-hour-a-day shift as a security officer - - - seven days a week!
    I still get tired when I think of it.

  4. Ha, ha -- I remember this post!

    And I'm not surprised you had to fire volunteers. Some people think that since they are volunteering, they can do whatever they want!

  5. I do remember this and am again reminded of the great Bob Newhart skit where he's a diver at the bottom of the ocean when the guy on the air machine above confesses he's having an affair with his wife.

  6. Ha! I remember this. It's STILL hysterical. *grin*

  7. I've had to put up with a lot of crap in my working life but none of it ever fell out of an elephant lol.

  8. This after just reading about your talking fish heads. :D I am trying to return to the land of the living, and now you are on a brain break. We really must synchronize these things. :) Enjoy the break, luvvie.

  9. Cro- Nothing like sweaty manual labor to give one a better appreciation for working behind a desk.

    Geo- Oh yeah, for sure, nothing makes a cringe-worthy experience more enjoyable and funny than looking at it in the rear view mirror. The farther away, the better.

    Jon- You haven't? And here I was beginning to think you'd experienced just about everything! Fifteen hour shifts? OY! I thought only interns worked those kinds of hours. After about the first nine or ten hours, I think I would've found it hard to summon enough energy to give a good diddle if anyone wanted to rob the place.

    Dianne- You're right about volunteers. Some of them don't seem to realize that bad behavior exhibited by an individual can taint the good reputation of the entire organization.

    Mr. C- I don't remember that Newhart skit, but I can just imagine. His deadpan delivery used to really crack me up.

    Linda- Good memory!

    Delores- There ya go. Kinda puts the crap into perspective, doesn't it?

    Carrie- Hey, my brain takes frequent vacations, but I'm not far from the computer this time around.

  10. Yup those are some crappy jobs and oh. boy, that poor guy in the suit. Reminds me of the movie Evolution when Orlando Jones gets an alien up his butt.

    my job doesn't seem half so bad now :)

  11. OMG, my job is a piece of cake. Easy peasy piece of cake.

    Now I'll probably get fired tomorrow and knowing my luck, I'll get a job standing behind the elephant...

  12. I've had some great jobs and some not so great jobs, but even the not so great jobs had some good points. It was kind of boring when I spent most of the day giving drug tests. Yup! I made 'em pee in the cup, and then I had to test the pee or prepare to be sent on to a lab.


  13. No matter what job you have, there is always a poopy day now and then.

  14. Marcy- I reckon it's always a matter of perspective.

    Pixel- Nah, the elephant is probably the "choice job" for someone who's more experienced at that sort of thing. Newbies probably start by following a pig.

    Janie- Doing any kind of clinical test over and over can get pretty boring, but look on the bright side. At least you weren't smashing dreams of fans worldwide by busting popular... but doping... athletes.

    Arleen- True, but if we're lucky, when a poopy day does come along, we aren't the one who gets stuck cleaning up all that poop.

  15. OMG what on earth is the armpits job? LOL LOL I can't imagine. I think I'd prefer the elephant poop to that one.

    A friend gave me the card with the toothbrush and toilet paper when we both hated out jobs, it was fun to see that again LOL.

  16. This post was so gross, I couldn't even finish reading it! The elephant poo...oh my. You are a brave girl to post these pictures! I have to laugh though. There ARE worse jobs than the ones I've had.

  17. Juli- SOMEBODY has to judge how effective a new deodorant is, I reckon. (But not ME!)

    Mare- Yeah, there's jobs lots worse than I even realized before researching for this post. (Sorry for grossing you out.)

  18. This was great and definitely worth repeating! I do remember when you first posted the photo of the armpit sniffer. That's something that I probably could do, and I'd feel important wearing a lab coat.

  19. Julie- It might not take a lot of training to sniff armpits, but it does require a cast iron stomach.