Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Do All Jobs SUCK??? Part ONE

My friends, clearly I am being a little melodramatic.  Surely all jobs do not suck.  I mean, maybe being one of the princesses at Disneyworld is okay.  You get to walk around out in the fresh air a lot, and you wear a pretty dress.  That sounds okay, especially right now, as I am wearing jeans that have completely worn out where my chubby upper thighs have rubbed the fabric clean away, with a waste band that is still damp with the rye and coke I'd been enjoying, which suddenly my Ella launched all over me during a particularly frenetic session of JACK AND ELLA THUNDERDOME earlier this evening.  

My unreasonable hair is reminding me a little of Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, and since all the clean laundry is STILL down the basement, I'm wearing a pair of gitch so large, I could easily sail a small boat.  So, the thought of me mincing around in a sparkly dress with no booze on it (or maybe a little, who knows), and an all-hairs-in-place wig on, while little girls all around me light up with joy--well, that sounds pretty good. 

Also, I want to say "gourmet chocolate taster" would be a dream job, but I think it would fill me with stress.  Who could ever stop at one? 

Oo!  I wouldn't mind being a proof-reader, or a writer for a magazine.  That would be pretty dope.  I lost the contest to become a prominent parents' magazine's newest blogger recently.  Oh the sadness!  Why didn't they choose me?  I tell it LIKE IT IZ.  Oh wait, perhaps that is the reason.  Yes, yes, it's not all smiles undt sunshine here in angst land.  

Perhaps if, after I'd submitted my link to my blog, I had immediately penned an article titled "THE JOYS OF BREASTFEEDING," and then after that, "KIDS--THEY MAKE ME CRAZY, BUT YA GOTTA LOVE EM'!" or, "MY SON MISSED THE TOILET BOWL AGAIN AND NOW MY SOCK'S ALL WET," then maybe, just maybe I coulda been a contender.  

Bah. Potty training and play groups.  I suppose that's what they think it all ads up to.  When we all know the truth, don't we, people.  Yes, sometimes after the fifth day in a row of the little people getting up at SIX, when it's still dark outside, and we didn't sleep so well the night before because we catch ALL THEIR COLDS NOW, well, sometimes it's just not possible to blog about all the FREAKING COOKIE HOUSES WE CAN BUILD TOGETHER.  

Oh my, do I sound a tad bitter?  

chuckle, chuckle...

So, I think any job to do with writing would be okay.  And really--those ladies who work at the "early years" centres?  That's a pretty sweet gig.  You get to gab all day, and every now and then, pick up some toys. I'll bet they don't hire you unless you have some early childhood education degree, which is funny because I have a LOT of experience picking up toys.  Hm...must rethink the zen-ness of this job perhaps. 

And so, the greater majority of jobs suck.  I am afraid, people.  I am very afraid.  When my kids reach an age whereby I can "go out into the real world" and get a job again, what the hell am I going to do?!?  I have a terrible attitude!  I'm a malcontent!  I get super bored super easy!  And, I mean NO offense to the cashiers out there, but I can't do that again!  Serving the public is HORRIBLE.  I think I would swallow an entire bottle of (insert NSAID of choice) just so I DON'T have to serve the public.  More hyperbole.  Whatevs.  I'm wicked tired.

Am I being a little dramatic?  Am I?!?  

Well, let's take a small trip down memory lane then, and remember all the jobs I've had.

Sucko Job #1:  Raft Rental Cashier ~ Wave Pool

I live in a tourist town.  Most jobs available to teenagers are tourism-related.  There used to be a waterpark in town, complete with waterslides and a wave pool.  It was pretty fun..until I WORKED THERE.  

When I was 17, my parents basically told me it was time for me to get a summer job.  So, young self-esteem devoid karen found out through her piano teacher, that a lady he knew was looking for kids that summer for the water park.  My stomach flopped, but I applied for a job.  

I was hired to rent "rafts," or air mattresses, to people to be used for the wave pool.  I had to sit on a stool, under a patio table umbrella, at my little post, INSIDE A FENCED-IN CAGE, and manage the stupid rafts.  I had to inflate them, with the little electric pump.  I also had to take in the deposit for the rafts.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Okay, well how about this:  in order to rent a raft, the customer had to pay $5.  If the raft was returned in the shape it was sent out, I would then give $2 back.  

Do you KNOW how many people only saw that the raft rental was THREE DOLLARS, and I had to explain a, a trillion times a day that they had to pay 5 bucks up front.  I got very tired, very quickly of explaining this.  So, I made my own handwritten sign: 

"when you rent a raft, you must pay $5 up front.  Upon return of your raft in good condition, you will get $2 back." 

Brilliant.  The most satisfying thing was watching the numbnuts customers read that sign, and then happily offer up their $5.  But my boss didn't like it.  She felt it would be "better" if I just explained it myself.  Sigh.  So, every morning I showed up for my shift, and began my examination of all the hated rafts.  Some of them were in sh*tty condition, but the boss was cheap, and didn't actually throw them away.  They would be the rafts that rented last.  I wasn't allowed to pump them up too firm, because in the sun, they would expand and BECOME firm enough.  

Imagine, just imagine how many times someone grabbed their raft, squeezed it and inevitably said; "can ya pump it up a little more?!?"  No, I explained, I wasn't allowed, becaue if I pump them up too firm, they'll burst.  Blah, blah, blah, tongue falling out, yackity yak.  Plus, most of the rafts in time developed slow leaks, so I had to pump MOST of them every morning.  My fingers soon became raw after fighting with the metal, threaded lids.  

Whenever it rained, it's not like anyone was there after hours to put my stool inside either.  So, after a good rain, that thing would be like one big wet sponge.  I could either sit down and get all wet, or stand the whole day.  I had to wear really thick, blue sweat-pants material shorts, a yellow shirt and a baseball cap.  Very, very not-cool in the '90's.

One guy took his raft, tossed it into the wave pool and JUMPED on it.  The thing burst, of course.  He brought the deflated raft skin back to me and was totally miffed when we wouldn't give him his $2 back. 

    Still, there were some highlights at that job:  like the time the French strippers came in, creating a stir at the family park, with their super high healed shoes, and their thong bathing suits.  Big Ted, the retired cop who was now park security, could hardly toss them out fast enough.  Ah, and I can't forget the time a kid was SCREAMING because a bug had flown into his ear, and his mother sucked it out. 

Sometimes I got to work in the gift shop though, where I'm ashamed to admit I swiped, and chowed down a ton of these chocolate/caramel squares. 

Sucko Job #2 - Charwoman

Okay, so, for the four years I went to university, I paid my way through school by cleaning hotel rooms during the summer.  This was extremely hard work, and I would like to say that those ladies deserve a freaking tip people.  Surely you can leave a couple of bucks on the pillow and a thank you note, when you check out of your hotel, provided your room was nice and clean?  

I used to have 14 rooms a day MINIMUM, and that was only when the other dirt bag maids weren't calling in sick just for the hell of it, because it was SUMMER and they wanted to go to the beach.  Seriously.  When those girls called in sick, we all got extra rooms dumped on our list.  And guess what--everybody had to stay until until EVERYBODY WAS DONE.  So, that means that even though you may have hustled ASS all day, if Sally Slowpoke wasn't done, you still had to go help her. Grumble, grumble.  What a job. 

Let me paint a little portrait for you:  

a young, soft porkchop karen, with delicate sensibilities showed up for her first day of work  at the hotel.  A hardened maid came up to greet her at the lobby, then proceeded to lead her down, down, down past the nice rooms, down past everywhere, and down to the BASEMENT where the lunch room and lockers were.  

There was no mistaking it for anything but a basement, because there were pipes and such snaking across the ceiling.  karen was given a grey, prison-issue smock to wear, so karen threw this on over her shorts and t-shirt.  karen would be training with Marg (rhyms with 'argh') that day, and Marg had very little empathy, patience, or even general people skills.  

Marg was a petite beast of a maid, and she whipped through there at a pace that poor butterlegs karen could barely keep up with.  After whizzing through who knows how many rooms, they got to have a break.  Back down to the basement...and it was the good old days, whereby smokers could still smoke wherever they wanted to.  

So, karen sat in a room filled with hardened, slightly miserable, overworked maids, who smoked, and smoked and smoked, and complained, and swore, and used grammar that karen knew was simply incorrect.  And then, it was back to work.  

karen busted her nuts, if you will, for several more hours, had a lunch break somewhere along the way, and then was spat back out of the hotel at quitting time, completely exhausted, and shell-shocked from the rough and tumble women she'd encountered.  

karen's brother was there to pick her up, and she happily told him; "wow, that sucked!  Good thing I'm not going back tomorrow!"  karen's brother, incredulous, said; "but you have to!  You have no choice!  You need the money to pay for school."  Tender, soft hearted karen, now filled with despair, burst into tears.

And so I went back to work.  I stuck it out.  I even had my own floor eventually, and my own cart.  Here are some highlights from that job:

* one time a kid called me "the janitor," and for some reason, that was more than I could bear

* after a team of baseball players checked out, my entire floor was DISASTROUS.  I particularly enjoyed finding that the garbage can had been used as a "loogie" bin the entire night in one room, which was DISGUSTING, but I suppose I should count myself lucky, since other ball players on another maid's floor had used a garbage bin as a barf bucket.  And guess who had to CLEAN that people?  It wasn't like we could just go get a new garbage bin

*sometimes Stan, the BIGGER boss, and total A-hole, would go around the bathrooms and spray straight bleach on the tiles to get rid of the mildew, and we'd have to scrub it.  MMmmm....nothing like sucking bleach fumes all day.  I heard that chainsmoking jerk tried the nicotene patch at one point, but would peel it off to have a smoke, then stick it back on again.

* none of the maids liked cleaning "the bottom Sixes."  This was a very small floor of rooms, (in the 600 series of numbers) way on the other end of the hotel, in the basement.  
These rooms would usually be rented last, and the rumour was that the evil hotel people would rent them to tourists who didn't speak very good English.  Terrible, but I think I believe it.  

These rooms ALWAYS smelled like mildew, and were always damp.  There was no cart down there, to carry cleaning supplies, so whichever maid won the "bottom sixes" lottery had to carry a plastic basket of supplies instead, and had to keep running back to the linen closet to get sheets and towels.  Total pain.  

Also, there were bugs down there.  Weird bugs.  There was this thing that was kind of like a huge, walking mosquito with no wings.  I threw the telephone book at it, and the book bounced off, the thing uncrumpled itself and kept on walking, until I finally crushed it for good.  Shudder.  But the best part was the linen closet, which had a rodent trap in it.  A GIANT rodent trap in it.  Too big for a mouse, ie., and tied to the wall with a rope.  Yeah.

* Once, a nice single man with some tour group stood and yapped my ear off for a bit before he checked out.  Then he left and said his room was available to be cleaned.  So, in I went and found that he had picked his nose and wiped everything he got out of his shnonk on the counter.  This was particularly confounding since he'd just stood and chit-chatted happily for like five minutes with me. 

* There was another block of rooms that were always rented after all the others--the "bottom 9's" (900 series rooms).  These too, were the lowest rooms, but they had patio doors that opened to ground level.  One time my job for the whole day was to be in the bottom nine's scrubbing mildew off the walls, and vacuuming bugs (none of the rooms had been rented out).  Those roly-poly potato bugs would just march right under the doors into the rooms. 

* never put your ice directly in the ice bucket.  Just take my word for it. 

* we loved it when tours of old people would come through.  70% of them never bathed during their stay, so, no tubs to scrub.  Hooray! 

*Speaking of old people, there was at our hotel, briefly, a kookoo maid who would just fold those sheets and blankies back up and tuck them back in, if she'd had a tour of old people stay in her rooms. Sometimes those teeny elderly tourists hardly even wrinkled the sheets, so she figured they weren't dirty.  Yeah. 

* I don't know about other hotels, but those blankets and comforters on the bed only get washed once or twice a year for spring cleaning, or if there's an obvious stain on them.  The laundry people, who worked in constant thousand degree conditions, would get P*SSED OFF if we maids requested more than one clean bedspread per day.  But then, the laundry people hated the maids, and the maids hated the laundry people.  It was one of those weird, unspoken rivalry things.  I had to go to the laundry one day to pick up a king-sized bedspread.  Those women were URGLY.

*We would frequently be out of supplies, and because the maids were the ultimate pee-ons in the great hierarchy of hotel staff, new supplies wouldn't necessarily show up too quickly.  So, we all soon learned that we could clean the tubs with those little complimentary bottles of shampoo.  

*We ALL hated cleaning the suites that had jacuzzi tubs in them.  Those things were a total pain.

*eavesdropping on lunchroom conversations could be a total treat at times.  Once a maid tried to emphasize just how tired she was at the end of each shift:  "At the end of the day," she said, "I'm comatoast."

- once a few maids were discussing a woman they knew whose man had cheated on her.  "If that were my husband," one of them said; "I'da CAUTERIZED him."  The other maids all nodded in agreement.  "Yeah--cauterized him."

*that hotel no longer exists. 

Stay tuned for PART TWO, where I will rant about more sucky jobs! 


  1. I don't think there is a dream job. Work sucks, thats why Adam was punished with work. It will never be fun. It will always be what it is,WORK.

    If anyone tells you different they are on glue.

  2. on glue...ha ha ha ha..well, now I have to make it my mission to find someone who likes their job! Illustrator for childrens' books??? That sounds okay...

  3. It's only okay if your pencils don't break and your ink does not run dry...or if your publishers aren't riding your ass.....see every job can be full of crap..LOL

  4. Every job I had sucked big time! This is why I no longer work !! The stress and crappy pay was enough for me.
    I love being home and I find it urks people because I constantly get asked when I am getting a "job" . I figure they are suffering and want me right along with them. No thank you besides I have alot going on at home especially now since Ray works from home. And the reason he works from home? Hated his job so much he quit and started working for himself.
    Loved this post Karen!

  5. ever wonder why touristville always promoted the stupidest people to management, my one manager told me he was going to take his wife on a trip to europe, or maybe paris... ah i said paris is in europe long pause "uh i knew that" like i said dummies lots o' dummies!

  6. Thanks Pam. I agree--I'm not in a hurry to find that perfect CRAPPY job out there. Shudder. I have no idea what it will be, but hopefully I'll have finally finished my book, and I'll just be a rich author, and that'll be the end of it. Ha ha ha...ugh.

  7. Paula, that's great. For some reason I am completely not surprised however. I worked for a woman who was a total moron. But I'll be getting to her in part two...

  8. You should consider writing a book! I will be your first buyer and promoter!!!! Yes you can do it!
    This blog thing is just practice for you!!

  9. I think you should compile all your blog posts into a book.

  10. oh, WAY too many comments and WAY to many directions to take with this one!! I'll have to comment more fully later...

  11. Thanks Pam, and Melissa. I've actually been writing a book off and on for years. If I ever get it finished! Some of it is damn funny, if I do say so myself.

    I had actually considered compiling my blogs Melissa. I just wonder if they'd hold up in print form, because I put a lot of silly nonsense links in just for knows?

  12. NO worries Matt, I'm sure you'll come up with something typically hilarious to say.

  13. a book of all your blogs would be awesome i even thought of a name : housewife hell:
    whats its really like to be a full time stay at home mom.
    i know lots of people who would love this and you could even market it as birth control! you will be a rich woman and be able to hire a nanny cook and maid! ya hoo!{i'll need 10 % of course}

  14. I had one great job, that I LOVED...working at the candle factory! It was the best job ever...making candles all evening:) Loved it..the pay was okay..not great , but at that time in my life that was all i "needed" Oh how I miss that job. (yes there were days when I wasnt happy..for really for the most part..yay! great job!) too bad it closed down. Bummer.
    I now have a "SUCKO" job..but again shhhh..dont tell my boss I said that:) Sure the perks are great...but listening to people endlesly complain complain complain...and get YELLEd at almost every day by old(ish) people ...ugh...drives me crazy! One thing I have learned in this job..people freakin LOVE their newspaper in their flyers even more...and HAVE to have the newspaper on time, not one minute later:) Oh the fun:)
    I was totally laughing my butt off reading about when you worked at the hotel...took me right back to the summer I worked with Aimee...I remember like it was yesterday...ask her about room 208!! Oh the nightmare!!

  15. oh and I agree with everyone...Karen write books, books and more books! Its your calling!

  16. I think the ability to like your job is greatly influenced by the people you work for and the people around you. I've worked for the same company for over 17 years and had the same position for 7. Over the last 7 years my general work has stayed the same but I've had numerous coworker changes and management changes. My outlook has varied from "I'm sticking it out as long as I can" to "This is awesome". The environment can make even a job you like be untolerable.

  17. Paula, I dig that title. Very eye-catching. It really speaks to my bad attitude as well. Me likey. 10% though eh. Obviously you have great faith in the amount of money it could make, har har.

  18. Steph, the candle factory job does sound pleasant and relaxing. Good for you for having a job that you could look back on with fondness. I will ask my sister about room 208 Cleaning hotel rooms sucked large.

  19. okay, who is "Anonymous" today. It could be one of three peeps I know :) Thank you for the kind words. If by "Calling" you mean, the only thing I'm actually good at, then, hooray! Hee hee.

  20. Lisa, I'm pondering this. The last place I worked at--I loved the women I worked with. They were fantastic. The job itself was "enh." So, perhaps you're right. If the people there had sucked, I'd have been less content with the job. The ladies there elevelated it to the only place I've ever not minded working. Yay, me.

  21. Lisa is full of wisdom. I have personal experience with this over my 25+ years of working.

    I had never heard your 'mystery bug' story before, my imagination makes me shudder.

    Paula should get 15% for also being beautiful. :)

    Hearing about your brother's comments must have given you that sick 'trapped' feeling that is oh-so-helpful in the workplace. Next time you see your brother you should give him a hug for his practical advice, then punch him in the jaw.

    The candle job makes me think back to my time at a frozen food shop - lots of predictability and time to let your mind wander - these days my mind only wanders off a cliff...

  22. OMG MATT, I think you'd probably have some good stories from when you worked at the meats place. I forgot about that. Didn't you serve ice cream on Clifton Hill as well? Or wait...did you sell tickets at Maple Leaf Village...
    anyhow, could you and Paul please refrain from being nice here, within my blog? This is a place for negativity only. Har! I kid! Also, that was a lovely thing to say to your lovely wife.

  23. Hey! I have WISDOM! Cool. Thats way better than what most people say I'm full of. ; )

  24. Hey, where's Part Deux?

    Yes, I worked at all those places, many stories, and I ended up at the frozen food place, because I vowed to never work with tourists ever again after only 2 summers of tourism-industry jobs. Easier said than done in our tourtraptown! Which place do you want to hear a story about?

    Lisa, I have yet to hear foolishness come from your person.

    Karen, you can delete my sappy comments from your blog anytime you like! ;)

  25. I put in 5 years at a tower, worked year round. The only good thing I can remember is the friends I made. Lots of good friends. Oh but the bad... .

    Oh, and our 8th grade teacher was a waiter there too. That was weird.

  26. Lisa--a waiter?!? OMG. I can picture him flouncing around though...

  27. Which 8th grade teacher? Mr R? Wasn't he way too old to be a waiter? That is weird. Karen - was it me that introduced you to the joy of charwomen work? It paid ok but that was it. So sorry! I didn't realize you did it that long - it was awful, gross and hard work. I think I had blocked out how bad it was. Ugh - I got stuck one day in the laundry room at one of the hotels. It was worse than cleaning rooms - felt like hell (hot and nasty) The only good thing that came out of all of it for me was it was prime motivation to finish university so I could do something (really anything) else! -
    Christy (I'm not sure why google is going by my full name)

  28. Oh Christy, for heavens sake, why didn't I realise it was you? Duh. Anyhoo, it wasn't you who told me about the job, but it was a nice surprise to find you working there! Yeah, that was one lousy job. Remember when you drove us to our boss's house in Youngstown? She had been so excited all week, that at the staff party we'd be having "beef on weck."

  29. Yes, Mr R was the flouncing waiter. He told me he'd worked there during the summers for several years.


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