Bad Jobs – Volume 1: Two Pepsi’s and Hold the Red-Eye

If you've worked, you've had at least one crappy job - maybe several.  This is an example of just such a job.  It turns out that the skinny guy had terrible gas, making for a horrible work environment for the gentleman on the left.  (Image from sodahead dot com)
If you’ve worked, you’ve had at least one crappy job – maybe several. This is an example of just such a job. It turns out that the skinny guy had terrible gas, making for a horrible work environment for the gentleman on the left. (Image from sodahead dot com)

{The following was originally posted- sans photos- at The Green Study as my entry in her “Worst job I ever had” competition.  She’s a great writer who occasionally sponsors blog contests for lesser writers and rewards us with generous donations in our names and at the very least with postcards from the frozen north.  I shouldn’t have to tell you to check her out, but I am anyway}

Naming your worst job is not as easy as you might think.  On any given day, even the best job can seem like the worst one.  Keeping track of the truly awful jobs can be a good exercise to help you appreciate better ones.

I looked at my sordid career history and tried to narrow it down.  Though I had a few doozies back in my youth, I felt it wasn’t fair to look at any of those jobs, since there were no mortgage payments or little mouths to feed.  To me, any job you can walk away from without big repurcussions couldn’t have been that bad.

Overall, I’d have to say my worst job was one which never actually had a single good day.  It was a blissfully short in duration, only a few weeks, but everytime I think of it, I get a chill and a slight wave of nausea.  It was back in my bartending days, before embarking on my current “real” career.  I already had a decent gig slinging gin and light beer, but the commute was brutal.  I was getting old for the bartending scene and driving 45 minutes each way was adding time to my work-night and sucking precious tips out of my pocket and into my gas tank.

There was a buzz about a new place opening up just minutes from my house.  New places are always packed around here.  People go to the “new place” over almost any other choice.  Local bar and restaurant owners have been known to change the names of their establishments just to cash in on this phenomenon.  Getting in on the ground floor of a new place also meant an equal footing with other bartenders when it came to getting the best shifts.

As soon as I got a chance, I rushed over and got my application in.  The bar was huge and had a theme.  I’d have to wear a silly get-up – so what?  I got the job and went in for training.  The little voice in my head which tried to tell me that things might not be so great was drowned out by the amplified crooning of Billy Ray Cyrus lamenting his Achy Breaky Heart.  The specter of dollar signs blinded me to just how absurd I looked in a cowboy hat and bolo tie.  That’s right – investors had gotten together and decided that a country bar with line dancing would be a gold mine in suburban South Jersey, just minutes from Philadelphia.

You'd never guess it, but this ornery old cuss isn't actually a cowboy after all.  He actually works in accounts receivable over in an office building in Voorhees. (Image from fruitless pursuits dot com)
You’d never guess it, but this ornery old cuss isn’t really a cowboy after all. He actually works in accounts receivable over in an office building in Voorhees, New Jersey. (Image from fruitless pursuits dot com)

I already knew I could put up with any music in a bar, as I had done for years.  What I didn’t realize was that even a thousand miles from Gilley’s, people took their country line dancing seriously.  They came out of the woodwork and wore their very best western garb.  I suspected that many of them were closet cowboys, wearing pinstripe suits and hair gel most other waking hours, as there’s just not too many jobs for cowpokes in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Those boots and big belt buckles must have cost them a lot of money, because these folks had scant change left over for yours truly.  In addition, they were so wrapped up in avoiding any missteps while performing the boot scootin boogie, that they didn’t want to risk clouding their minds with alcohol.  Time after time, some middle manager dressed like a ranch hand would saunter up to the bar and order $19.75 worth of sasparilla, hand me a 20 and wait patiently for his quarter.

My tolerance of bad music and idiots playing dress-up is apparently directly proportional to my love of a fat wad of damp dollars in my pocket at the end of the night.  After two tortuous weeks of making less than nothing and listlessly participating in demeaning-but-mandatory staff dance numbers, I’d had enough.  I hustled my backside 45 minutes west and somehow got my old job back.

Somewhere in the weeds and detritus of the side of Philadelphia’s Schuykill Expressway lies an ill-fitting ten gallon hat with a bolo tie nearby.

Write your own damn caption!  This blog post is turning into a bad job itelf!  (Image from date hookup dot com)
Write your own damn caption! This blog post is starting to feel like a bad job itself!. The weekend can’t come soon enough! (Image from date hookup dot com)

36 thoughts on “Bad Jobs – Volume 1: Two Pepsi’s and Hold the Red-Eye

  1. Um…I’ve got nothing. That last photo has me speechless. I shall go over to visit the Green Study at once.

    I have been very fortunate…my jobs have all been pretty tolerable – except the current one (where I am doing two jobs for one paycheck, spending countless nights and weekends working at home, and commuting an hour each way during the week).

    1. You’ve probably been through Cherry Hill at some point in your life. I’m sure my description of some of the town’s residents becoming weekend cowfolk does not come near to doing them justice.

  2. I’ve had some pretty icky jobs myself. I’m trying to decide which was worse: cleaning a fast food restaurant or working as a barmaid. Both were full of disgusting sights…

  3. That sounds like torture. It’s the fake-ness of it that would drive me over the edge. Even if I didn’t like everything else about it, I might be able to tolerate it if they were, in fact, cowboys. But that would put me over the edge.

    1. I went back out to my other job, where every Friday night, DJ’s would play gangsta rap and middle class suburbanites would pretend to be thugs. As I wrote in the post, I’d already perfected ignoring horrible music while bartending.

  4. Did someone say “Worst Job?” I am totally there, pardner. Ooops. Sorry. I’ll just saddle up to the bar. Dammit. I gotta tip my hat to ya, this was one damn fine post. I’ve had a bad job or two, but I’ve never been forced to dance. You just gave me a whole new perspective!

  5. I’d like to hear more about this mandatory dancing you did. I always feel bad for the waiters when they have to pretend to be happy while singing Happy Birthday to someone. I can’t imagine having to dance.

    My worst job? I worked retail for years. that’s bad enough, but my worst was probably as a housekeeper. I quit after one day after I was told to clean a toilet with a toothbrush. I was only 16 at the time, so I was happy to go back to my job folding clothes at L.L. Bean’s.

  6. Enjoy reading you; even though I can’t relate, honestly..liked all of my jobs and absolutely LOVE the career field I’m in presently. BUT the question that is begging to be asked..What in the heck is that in the last pic you posted?!? Been sitting here a few minutes trying to figure it out. Lmao! Is that a little ugly horse/a shetland pony/a mini lion/or a deformed dog? Whatever it is I could say more; but its Sunday and I’ve got my good behavior hat on..

    1. I Googled a bunch of idiotic cowboy pics to illustrate the post. I felt a need to put that one in, but couldn’t come up with a caption. I think it’s one of the characters from the Jackass series.

  7. Come clean. If it wasn’t for the mechanical bull you’d of been out of there the same day. It took two full weeks for your butt to scream “Uncle.”

    1. They didn’t have a bull…didn’t want to waste valuable dance floor space on such a thing. These account managers and used car salesmen needed every inch of those floorboards to execute their spins and doh-see-dohs (Homer Simpson style)

  8. I “liked” the post because I probably can’t top (or bottom) you worst job. The worst job I had was a substitute teacher: someone would call me at 5-6 in the morning and would tell me if I’m supposed to be teaching art in an elementary school, or chemistry in middle school, or French to high-schoolers. This is not a full list: I’m pretty sure I’ve subbed every possible subject on every grade level K to 12.

    1. Sheesh! Any one of your assignments could have trumped cowpoke-bartending in suburbia! Luckily for me you weren’t in the contest, or I might not have even scored an honorable mention.

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