Published: 10 months ago

Choose Your Own Labor Day Adventure!

[This post originally appeared Labor Day 2011.]


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 you. ‘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.)


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