Just for fun, the 5 worst jobs I’ve ever had … I’d love to hear yours.
5. Entenmann’s bakery truck assistant: I am absolutely positively NOT a morning person. So this temp job I had for two weeks in college was so far not up my alley, it could’ve been in someone else’s alley.
Basically, I woke up at 4 a.m. and drove to the Entenmann’s bakery store near my house. Then I boarded the truck with this other guy, and we drove from supermarket to supermarket, unloading yummy baked goods, checking expiration dates, and fun stuff like that. My day was over by 9 a.m, but I was exhausted, my back hurt from bending over displays, and I had to listen to Vinny (my supervisor and truck partner) tell bad jokes.
On the bright side, I learned what a brown dot means on a box of Entenmann’s donuts (don’t eat them).
4. Counselor in training, Park Shore Day Camp:
I was a summer camp counselor for four years, but the first year was the worst. I was 14 that summer of 1989, and I was the fourth counselor in a four-man team that ran the lives of 20 5-year-old runts who never shut up and never listened (a lovely combination). I made $100 for six weeks of work, and got like another hundred in tips. I know 8-year-old Nike workers in South America who have a better deal.
3. Gopher/intern, Smithtown Messenger:
My first internship in the “real world” of journalism was for a local community weekly on Long Island. It was unpaid, of course. The only money I ever received was when the chain-smoking, loud boss, Phil, would give me $10 and growl “go get me two packs of Marlboro Reds, and keep the change for yourself.”
Sadly, Phil is now the editor of the New York Times (I’m kidding).
2. L’eggs/Hanes/Bali store opener: I know more about women’s underwear than the average bear, I’m proud to say. I had a temp job helping open a L’eggs/Hanes/Bali women’s underwear store. Me and about 20 other temps were unpacking stockings, sorting negligee, and doing all kinds of things that, as a boy of 19, I had very little knowledge of. Who knew there was a difference between “sheer” and “nude?” Who knew “nude” was a color?
I did after two weeks. One of my proudest work moments ever came not after an editor said they liked one of my stories, but when Jan, our boss at the store, told me I’d done a great job after one particular sorting task.
Ah, women’s underwear.
1. Vitamin factory sorter:
This was the job that, more than anything else, motivated me to stay in college. For three weeks one summer I worked in a vitamin factory, and my job was to grab an order form and a huge cart, walk up and down these wide aisles, and put 50 pills of Vitamin whatever in this box. Then put 75 pills of Ginseng or whatever in another box. And so on, and so on. For 8 hours, with only a 15-minute break every 2 hours. It was mindless and beyond boring, to the point where I actually made up little games with myself to break the monotony.
No college anthropology course was ever so tedious again.