Published: 7 years ago

Choose Your Own Labor Day Adventure

I’ll be honest: I’m not sure I understand Labor Day. Memorial Day? I get that. Veterans Day? Yep. Independence Day, Presidents Day, even Arbor Day…those all make sense to me.

But I’ve always been befuddled by Labor Day. Are we celebrating the American worker? Celebrating the American worker’s ability to have one final day off before summer officially ends? Celebrating the fact that we’re just adding to the bottom line of the Greeting Card Cartel?

Labor Day is here again
We thank you for your work
(Except for Bob who works down the hall
He thinks you’re a royal jerk)

So today I thought it would be fun to take Labor Day a different direction, since none of you readers know what we’re celebrating either (and no, you can’t Google that and get back to me). I’ll ask the question, and you get to answer with the story of your choice:

What was your worst job ever?

I’ll go first. In college I landed a summer job working for the English department. Well, not the entire English department. Just one very rotund, very goateed professor within the English department. He carried with him the musty smell of a first-edition Edgar Allen Poe book. He could have hidden Anne Frank in that beard of his. His personality was so dry, he made War and Peace look like an episode of Phineas and Ferb.

And my job for the summer was to take stacks of his old literature books and copiously transfer the notes…are you ready for this?…into stacks of new literature books.

That’s right. For an entire summer, I took up residence in one corner of his dark, musty, goatee hair strewn office, and transcribed every single jot and tittle. Where he’d underlined, I underlined. Where he’d highlighted, I highlighted. I took the notes from decades-old, dog-eared tomes and gave them new life in volumes that hadn’t yet had their spines cracked.

It was horrible. And I barely survived to tell the tale.

So that’s my story. Now it’s your turn. Yes, I realize that about 120% of my readers check out the blog while they’re at work, so this could go very, very badly since no one is working today, therefore no one is reading today, therefore no one will comment today. I also realize that one of my current or former direct reports could just write “I work for Danny Franks. ‘Nuff said.”

But on the off chance someone is reading this in between flipping burgers, or you’ve never worked for me, it’s time for your story.

What was your worst job ever?

(By the way, if you really want to know what Labor Day is all about, Trevin Wax breaks it down for you.)

  1. Carla Webb says:

    Worst job ever for me was in college. I got a part time job with a country radio station in Altoona PA. First not really a country fan, but it paid $50.00 a hour and who in college could pass that kind of money up. It was a summer job, repeat summer!!! I did the unthinkable, and dressed up as a frog for Froggie 98 country radio station. In the hot heat of the summer for $50 a hour. Yes and others had worn this frog costume before and after me sweating and breathing in it. I dcould not talk to anyome also while in the suit, and this is from someone who loves to talk…Repeat again love to talk. ok that is my worst job ever. Carla

  2. Carla Webb says:

    Also I am working today on “Labor day” so what does that mean?

  3. photorobin says:

    While at SEBTS I worked at the local zoo for about 2 months painting various cages.

  4. Danny says:

    Robin, a couple of things:

    1. Merriem and I knew you and Mike the entire time you were at SEBTS. We lived beside you, for crying out loud. We do not remember the zoo incident, and we call foul.

    2. I’ve been to that zoo. You could’ve painted all the cages in two days, not two months. How slow a painter are ya?

    Carla, the frog story definitely beats out Robin’s story, which may or may not have happened.

  5. Veronica Greear says:

    snack bar at 14 of local community pool. had to serve nachos and cheese from DISGUSTING vats of fake cheese and warm up all manner of suspect other foods that all smelled more foul than the last. and there were mice and roaches. and no ac. awful.

  6. Connie Pearson says:

    Well, my worst job had to have been on the assembly line at Prestolite in Decatur making car batteries on 2nd shift during the summer of 1969. Bear in mind that I was a very prissy music major at Samford University and about as sheltered as a good Southern Baptist girl could be. The hours allowed for NO social life. I got calluses on my piano-playing fingers. And, I was surrounded by very resentful girls who worked there full-time and had a major disdain for the summer college folks. At break one night, they shared a “Fart Calendar” with me. Until that night, I had never heard the word “fart.” Let’s just say that my weeks there contributed to my “education.”

  7. Laura Hendricks says:

    I work for Danny Franks. I do, but it’s not my worst job…ever (depending on what day you ask. Just kidding Danny!) I worked for the lovely Winn Dixie grocery store in high school and it was tolerable up until the day the store manager got irritated with me over something dumb and decided to hit me in the head with a roll of frozen cookie dough. Then it quickly became the worst job for me and for him once my dad found out what he did. Let’s just say my dad has perfected the evil eye and his verbal threats can make anyone soil their pants.

  8. JeremyW says:

    I worked for a vet clinic/kennel. On day one I saw a hamster put to sleep. One time a standard size poodle somehow flipped it’s stomach. The vet had to stick a tube down it’s throat and suck the air out of its stomach so he could flip it back. I picked up a 60 pound cocker spaniel with really oily skin. Cleaned cages for dogs who went pee and poop and stepped/rolled around it in. You name it, I smelled it. I had no desire to be a vet after that job

  9. Danny says:

    Jeremy, wanna know something funny? I just realized I asked this exact same question on the blog two years ago. And even though I couldn’t remember that I asked it, I remembered your answer to it.

    So what is that saying when I remember your comments better than my questions that prompted them?

    Exhibit A:

  10. Jon Thommarson says:

    Worst job i ever had was for about 2 hours. I worked for a temp agency in college and they moved me to a new assignment one morning. The shift started at 5 AM. It was a a facility that manufactured HVAC ducts that had fiberglass insulation in them. My job was to take 2 of the the connector pieces, apply duct tape, iron the glue dots all around, then move to the next piece. All in a hot and dusty warehouse with 4 different kinds of music playing within 10 feet of me. I got so itchy from the fiberglass I was miserable. Called the agency and i was out by 7:30. Horrible

  11. KimB says:

    i had very few paying jobs over my lifetime. No i was and am not spoiled. Basketball was my job for most of my life. my paying jobs included babysitting, landscaping, lifeguarding, car rental agent, admissions counselor at MMC and now aquatics coordinator at MMC. But i can tell you what i will never want to be and that is a PLUMBER. david and i were having plumbing issues sometime around January and i am so cheap i did not want to pay someone to fix the issue so my dad and i went under the house to repipe and clean out the old piping. Everything was ok other than the awful smell of pee and poop. so in march when the same issues came back i thought i could fix it, so i crawled underneath my house with my 5 gallon bucket, wrench and hose. i unscrewed the clean out valve like my dad did in january and as i was unscrewing there must have been to much pee and poop back up that the whole think exploded in my face. yes i had pee and poop all over me. After i vomited and cried i composed myself and finished the project at hand. i know now why plumbers charge so much per hour. they deserve every cent.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Wow…I need some new stories. I say that job was a bad one but it was a good one. Had I not done that job, I might be a very miserable vet. How about this one…

    I had a temp job one Christmas break working for the Charlotte Hornets (NBA basketball team). My job was to bring the tray of popcorn and beverages to the person who ordered it. These people sit near the court so you don’t want them getting up while the game is being played. I finished a shift and felt terrible afterwards. I got home and vomited. Turns out I had the flu. I wonder how many people I gave the flu too.

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