What Was Your Worst Job Ever? Tell us and Win $10!

By Linsey Knerl on 16 June 2009 (Updated 30 June 2009) 97 comments

It’s time for our weekly trivia question: What was your most hated job?  Share your sad, tacky, or scary employment experiences and be entered to win a $10 Gift Certificate!

Maybe it was years ago, or perhaps you’re still struggling through one of the most dismal career experiences in history.  We want to hear about it!  My worst job involved telemarketing for one day… I was called every foul name in the book and I was only 17!  Another horrible job scenario had me peddling pizza coupons on the wrong side of town for commission only.  (Glad I escaped that one unharmed.) 

What about you?  Do you have an icky tale to tell?  Share your thoughts on this provocative question, and be entered to win one of two $10 Amazon gift certificates.  The randomly-selected, winning answers will be read live on Wednesday’s Living Large on a Small Budget Blog Talk Radio Show (where we will be discussing business values and the economy with ING Direct CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann.)

 Those of you who aren’t familiar with the “drill,” read below for full details:

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate

We're doing two giveaways -- one $10 Amazon gift certificate for a random comment, and another one for a random tweet.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer.  Include "@wisebread" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Wednesday, June 17th at 7:59pm CST. Winners will be announced June 17th between 8:00 – 9:00 pm CST during our live Blog Talk Radio broadcast, and will be contacted at the conclusion of the broadcast (or you can call in live to claim your prize!)
  • You can enter both drawings -- once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets with "@wisebread" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

 Good luck! 

 

***We have our winners!  Congrats to these winning entries!  (Your prize is on the way!)

@birdingbev Worst job? Motel maid in college. Only one summer, but cleaning toilets and stripping beds w/ sketchy sheets, too much. 

Comment #13 -Worst job: working for a Submitted by Mary 

 

Worst job: working for a company that didn't pay me for four months straight. I went from October to February with no paychecks. In San Diego. I had to call my dad and beg for money to pay my rent.

Alternately, working at IHOP as a hostess when I was 16. 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM, on your feet with no breaks, and if you were hungry at the end of your shift, you had to pay for your own food. One morning the cash register broke at 10:30 AM - which was right when the after-church crowd decided to come on over for some pancakes.

I did learn how to carry six water glasses at once and how to count out money so it snaps, though.

 

 

Additional Crappy Job-Related Reading:

How to Survive (and Thrive) in a Job You Hate

So What’s Better: A Great Job with Average Pay or a Sucky Job With Fantastic Pay

10 Important Signs that Your Job Sucks

Should I Take A Job That Pays Less Than Unemployment?

6 Warning Signs That it Is Not the Job For You

 

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Chris

My worst job ever was parking cars for a posh condo in Buckhead in Atlanta, GA. The residents were the most arrogant, pretentious pricks in all the world.

My best job ever was chauffeuring old ladies and men around from a retirement home in Atlanta. It was a joy to be able to talk to these people. They were so friendly and just loved having someone to talk to.

Guest's picture
CASEY

My worst job ever was walking soybean fields pulling the weeds. The fields were 80+ acres and we were walking them in the lovely South Dakota July heat and humidity.

Guest's picture

I was a telemarker for a summer. There's nothing like being hung up on hundreds of times per day to boost your self esteem.

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Amber

Out of desperation one summer while staying with friends of friends, I got duped into a pyramid scheme selling discounted ticket books door-to-door. At first it was okay because they send the new people to the rich neighborhoods where people shell out the money. As soon as you seem convinced, they send you off to the "hard sells". This job was pure commission and didn't cover gas or tolls - often sending us from Long Island through Manhattan into Jersey to peddle our wares.

A few miserable weeks in, I discovered that one of the ticket books I had been selling was false advertising and the cruise ship displayed on the front cover didn't exist. When I brought this to everyone's attention, I was reprimanded for making a fuss and assigned a different coupon book. I don't think anyone was surprised when I quit shortly thereafter.

Beware business students! This is what happens if you slack off in even the easiest classes and fail to get an internship to bolster your resume. I was thankfully still in school at the time and therefore in a position to feel very, very bad about everyone who was living their *real lives* at this labor camp.

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Lana

When I was 16 I spent a summer working for the local dry cleaning shop. It was not only miserably hot (well over the legal temperature limit, but the owner kept a broken thermometer to thwart any attempts on the part of the staff to be released early on sweltering days), but extremely poorly ventilated. Dry cleaning is dusty and I often came home blowing black snot out of my nose. We weren't allowed to take breaks (bathroom breaks allowed but definitely not encouraged), and I distinctly remember my boss clipping his nails near my work station one day. ugh.

I also encountered my fair share of screaming and irate customers, as well as many pairs of dirty underpants left in the garments I had to sort for cleaning. Not joking. It was a pretty bad experience!

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Chris

My first real job was for a trust company. Mind you I was not the most efficient person at 22 but I was working 12 hours a day, plus Saturdays, Sundays and holidays and was still falling behind. I was put on probation, on the way towards being fired. They moved me to a new position and proceeded to have three other people try and catch up where I was falling behind. Amazingly, they were falling behind as well, with 3 times the people. One of the transfers I had been working on didn't get completed till 2 years after I left the company, yest somehow I was the screw up.

The position they moved me to, one woman broke her back so I had to pick up her slack, then another person quit, and they couldn't find anyone to replace them right away, so was back to three person job again. Of course I fell behind.

Luckily after 10 months of this, I moved on and was at my next company for almost 5 years. Even though I was a snotty 22 year old I did have ideas to streamline things that they always poo poo'ed. about 10 of those things got implimented after I left.

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guy barbato

my 2nd worst job occurred as a new hire for a major poultry company (yes, the guys that make all your tasty chicken nuggets) in western North Carolina. my boss (the head geneticist for the company) was getting close to retirement and had 2 heart attacks -- so the company forced him to hire a person who was, effectively, their life insurance policy in case he shuffled off his mortal coil....

needless to say, he didn't want to hire anyone and certainly didn't want me around.

at one of our larger breeder farms, their was a stand-alone incinerator for the disposal of dead birds. apparently, the gas burner (which was the business end of the incinerator and located on the bottom of a very large steel bin) broke -- BUT, the farmhands never told anyone and continued to pile around 24 cubic feet of dead birds over the coming week. of course, this occurred in in the heat and humidity of august in north carolina.

several neighbors reported the smell. the gas company came out and refused to fix the burner until the unit was cleaned.

guess who got the job??

right, my boss said -- clean it out. i suggested that the farmhands were at fault and they should clean up their own mess. my boss said, and i quote, "never ask anyone to do something that you won't do yourself. get to work."
the company didn't blink when i complained.

now... i had a wife, 6 month old baby and HUGE student loans at the time. i cleaned it out. my wife had to literally hose me off for an hour in the back yard before i was allowed to come in and take a shower. i think the grass is still dead there.

the good news is that 3 months later i got a GREAT job and left scenic north carolina. 1 month after that, the s.o.b. had another heart attack. 6 months after that the company was bought out and no longer exists.

my WORST job ever also paid the best of any job i ever had. i lasted 3 days on the job (which was 2 and a half days longer than anyone else) and paid for a full semester of college (back in 1972). that one is worth WAY more than a $10 prize.

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Guest

RE: my WORST job ever also paid the best of any job i ever had. i lasted 3 days on the job (which was 2 and a half days longer than anyone else) and paid for a full semester of college (back in 1972).

What were you able to do for three days that was able to pay for college? Do tell....

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Brianne

I got a job during the summer between high school and college with a marketing company. Not until I was seated in room with 20 others during orientation were we told that we would actually be selling knives door to door. I could not believe that I had been duped into attending such a ridiculous scheme that I giggled out load. They immediately told me in front of the 19 other people that they didn't think I could take the job seriously, and I was asked to leave and not come back.

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Paul

I interviewed for my dream job, or so I thought. The interview was excellent and the managers I met with were very supportive of the new role that they were creating for me. The division VP was even supportive and the work environment couldn't be better.

When I started a few weeks later, I noticed that one of the managers who had interviewed me was gone. Upon inquiry, I discovered she had quit in the intervening weeks. Within a month, it became apparent that the job as described to me was not what they were expecting of me. Many managers I had interviewed with were hostile to the job I was hired to do. When I asked my hiring manager why this wasn't told to me in the interview, he said (and this is a direct quote), "If I had told you the truth, you wouldn't have taken the job." He left two months later, leaving me in the lurch.

His replacement, my new boss, had yet another view of my responsibilities which he didn't deign to share with me. I would get called into his cubicle and berated for not doing X when X was nowhere near my purview. When I asked for a new job description so I could better understand my duties I was told that he didn't have time and that I should know my duties and what is expected of me. The project I had spent the previous few months on was looked at and scrapped by both my new boss and the others who were supposedly supportive of it.

The kicker came when it was time for annual reviews. I gave my self-evaluation, as was required. When I had my face to face review, my manager accepted all of my statements as true. Then he added new job responsibilities on the spot and based my evaluation on not meeting these new goals. When I discussed this with HR, they told me that the division VP was rogue and they couldn't help me. They then told me that he was suspected of giving lower-than-normal reviews (we averaged low for the company) in order to save on merit raises to meet his budgetary objectives. During my year there, the attrition rate for my division was 70% (against 30% company wide).

A year later, when I called to see how things were since I had left the previous year, I discovered that the VP and many managers had been fired and they were rehiring staff who had quit or had been laid off unjustly. By then I was completely soured on the place and had no intentions of going back.

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Amy

My worst job pales in comparison to everyone else's stories. I was a cashier for Kmart during high school and on summer break for my first couple years of college.

Standing on one's feet for 8 hours drains the life out of you, and when customers blame you for things ringing up wrong, it's even worse!

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Guest

In college I worked at a biological station, and as part of my lab work I had to wash dirt. This is not a joke.

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Chave

This job totally left me feeling awful about myself. All I did was fold clothes and ask people if they needed help. I also had four different bitchy supervisors. I've worked in many different places since turning 14 (now I'm 31) and this was totally the worst.

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Mary

Worst job: working for a company that didn't pay me for four months straight. I went from October to February with no paychecks. In San Diego. I had to call my dad and beg for money to pay my rent.

Alternately, working at IHOP as a hostess when I was 16. 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM, on your feet with no breaks, and if you were hungry at the end of your shift, you had to pay for your own food. One morning the cash register broke at 10:30 AM - which was right when the after-church crowd decided to come on over for some pancakes.

I did learn how to carry six water glasses at once and how to count out money so it snaps, though.

Guest's picture
Brian

My worst job EVER was working on a campaign in South Texas. The pay was $750 every 2 weeks and we were pushing 70-80 hour work weeks. We weren't taxed as we were contracted out but any expenses I had hadto wait until tax time or they would reimburse me for the next pay period.

Long story short, I gained about 20 pounds. Lost faith in candidatorial politics, was chased by dogs, dealt with very spoiled children (i.e. employees underneath me), had a crap boss that would just disappear.

Eventually I just had to quit because it was thankless and the pay was horrible. It just wasn't worth it for the pay, my health and overall well being. Never again. The candidate eventually won but by very slim margin. His second run he lost by a landslide. I can't say I feel too bad about that either.

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jpts

One summer while trying to make money for University I applied to an ad in the newspaper for a job that was listed as "truck driver/setting up and taking down equipment at local events". After transferring buses nearly a dozen times to make it to the outer-most part of the industrial end of the city, I was informed that the job was actually to power-wash used outhouses. After going all the way out there, I decided to try it for the day. Needless to say, it was not the job for me. I told them I wasn't interested at the end of the day and they refused to pay me. After calls, emails, and finally a threat to sue, I got my pay along with a note that read: "Here's your welfare cheque. Don't forget to claim it on your income taxes".

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Phil

I spent an unfortunate part of my teen years in eastern North Carolina, where the main sources of income come from farming or hog farms. I did both in order to get through community college. As the "assistant", I had a number of duties. Daily I cleaned the inside of hog houses with a high-pressure waterhose and a scraper attached to a broom handle...in 90-degree plus heat. I removed the dead animals from the houses and placed them in the "pit". There were other duties that are too gross to describe here. Suffice to say, I made good grades in community college to get out of this job. To this day, I eat very little pork.

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Guest

The worst job I ever had was unbelievable. I went to work for this start-up, which actually didn’t exist at all. It was a front for a man that was using it to try and kill his ex-wife. He took several of us on a business trip. On that trip he planted several car bombs in an attempt to kill his ex-wife. I was not only “lucky” enough to be present on that trip, I was the one that turned him into the FBI, and had to testify at a Federal Trial. Then to top it off, we find out he had taken million dollar life insurance policies out on his employees and had a plan to kill us off in “accidents”. All of these plans were very nicely documented and confiscated by the FBI. Unemployment never looked so good after this!!

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Guest

During a hot summer, I worked at a conveyor belt factory. I didn't make conveyor belts, but I did ship them out. During the day I could be found rolling long, giant "metal carpets" into big rolls, and building boxes around them. I think I lost all my finger nails during that summer.

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Beth

I was laid off and working for a temp agency. They sent me on a job at a HUGE chemical manufacturer. My job was to sit in the basement office doing data entry on an old grimy pc, tracking chemical testing data on spreadsheets. The basement was filled with giant vats of bubbling chemical carcinogens. All the people who worked down there had deformities and growths and/or hacking coughs. The smell was horrendous. It was the scariest place ever. I lasted for 3 days, then I started to develop a hack myself and said "thats it"! I'd rather be dead broke then ..dead.

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Jamie

I was Christmas seasonal help at Spencer Gifts, that obnoxiously loud store with strobe lights and lots of neon. Because I was only there for the Christmas retail rush, I wasn't trained on anything and simply wore a Santa hat and asked customers if they needed help. Trust me, customers do not want help when they are looking in the kinky sex gag gifts section. My Santa hat had a large red spring on it that got caught in the beaded curtains that hung from the ceiling. It was also the first year the humping dog animated stuffed animals came out, and we sold out everyday. Made me turn into the Grinch!

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Tyg

I did nothing buy fry french fries for 90-100 hours a week in a little refreshment shack at an amusement park in 100+ degree heat with no a/c. On top of that I had to wear a uniform consisting of long beige pants, a short sleeve polo shirt (that was a really thick material), a full apron on top of that, and thick gloves. I lost 30 pounds that summer (both from sweating it off in the heat and also because the smell of the hot oil make me sick to my stomach and made me not want to eat anything) and I swear that my skin and hair had oil in them for months after the season was over - no matter how much I scrubbed.

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Samantha

my worst job was working at Project Vote Smart, which is a great organization on paper but is run by an insane egomaniac. When I finally got up the gumption to quit he threw a book at me!

Second worst was telephone surveyor. Not quite as bad as telemarketing but almost. You get yelled at and hung up on hundreds of times a day. Once a guy told me I woke up his baby and then let the baby scream into the phone. Fun times.

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Guest

A temporary job proofing checks in a bank where we were not supposed to talk or get up from our desk except for the orchestrated, timed breaks. Mind-numbing and totalitarian, like a rat in a cage. I only lasted 1 week...

Sandy

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April

I was forced to wear a short, tight uniform and sell door-to-door for hours on end in dodgy neighborhoods that had chain link fences, beware-of-dog signs, and hairy men answering the door in wife-beaters.

So maybe I was nine, and I was selling cookies. I sold over three hundred boxes. This is back in the early eighties when there was no such thing as you mom and dad bringing the sign-up sheet to work with them.

I had to then deliver all three-hundred boxes... on foot. I was Brownie of the year that year. All I got for it was a stuffed animal.

I have hated sales positions ever since.

Guest's picture
Paul Koshy

Being rather enterprising from a young age - I was always looking for ways to make money - I was willing to put in hard work as long as I saw the reward (or at least I thought I was).

Imagine my perceived good fortune when I saw an ad in the paper for "Light Setup Workers Needed for one day job". This was it, this was how I was going to earn that extra money and buy the latest object of my affection. I called the number on the ad, and the guy on the other end said to show up at 8am on Saturday. Easy enough.

Perhaps it bears mentioning that I was 14 at the time, legally unable to work in most states and provinces. Also being under 16 meant I had to take the bus to my one day "contract" job.

So there I was, 8am at the "jobsite" staring at all the others who had answered the ad, all rough looking gentleman clearly all older than I.

Turns out we had been recruited to setup grandstands and a stage for the Circus that was coming to town. Perhaps it was because I was a puny teenager or perhaps it was just because I wasn’t cut out for manual labour, but I left at 5pm with some nominal sum of money in my hand and was absolutely exhausted.

My hands were calloused, I was dripping sweat, and my clothes were dirty. I looked liked I was homeless - as I hopped on the bus to go home I vowed never to work for the circus again.

I have been successful thus far.

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The Diving Belle

I knew the afternoon of my first day at XXX law firm that I was doomed.

To start, it wasn't 'til after I signed on that I learned in the 12 years my boss worked at the firm, she had had 20 assistants -- only one lasted more than 6 months.

Also, the "occasional overtime" mentioned during the interview process? Was actually a minimum of two nights a week ('til 8 or 9pm), every week.

And in the winter, our building would turn off the heat at 6pm, regardless of whether anyone was still in the office.

Yep -- it was fun.

It took me 7 1/2 excruciatingly long months to find a new position. On my last day, the CFO and the CTO took me out for drinks to celebrate my new job and confessed that when they heard that my boss had hired (yet another) new assistant, they actually made a bet as to how long the new person would/could last.

Still gives me shivers to think about it. . .

Guest's picture
Dana

My worst job was my first job...I delivered telephone books during the summer. It was the most boring job ever. I'd have to drive the car and stop every few feet to reach a few houses and then walk back to car and drive a few feet ahead and do it all over again.

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TheFrugalYogi

... 3 letters... KFC! at 14 years old I was a cashier at KFC. The smell of the fried chicken would stick to my clothes, my hair, and wouldnt go away even after washing!

Guest's picture
Mikal

When I was 16, a neighbor gave me a job transferring a huge pile of firewood from one end of his lot to another location. The first day, I had to cut vines away to get to the pile. Guess what? Poison Ivy. Next, I had to carry a few pieces at a time thru his garden to get to the next location. No, I could not use a wheelbarrow or wagon. At one end of the firewood stack, I got into a nest of ants...mean,biting ants. With ant bites and poison ivy blisters, I trudged on for almost a week until I completed the project. Being a kid, I wasn't smart enough to negotiate up front the price I would be paid, so I ended up getting a whopping $40 for a week's work. That barely paid for the calamine lotion and the first aid spray for the bites and blisters.

Guest's picture

One summer during college I found out I was the WWW (Worst Waitress in the World)

On top of that, the restaurant constantly ran out of the basics, like chicken. It was up to me to deliver the bad news to the customers.

One evening, I cut my hand open on a broken glass. I had to get stitches.

Then my employer sent me the bill for the stitches. Apparently they forgot about Worker's Compensation.

And days later they told me I owed them $90 because I didn't balance the cash register that night. I reminded them I was too busy bleeding.

Good Times!

Guest's picture

My worst job was working for an answering service. I wasn't told until the 2nd day on the job that after 6:00 p.m., we were taking orders for a pornographic video company. Around 6:05 we would get flooded by calls for this. Most patrons would just give us the product numbers, their personal information and be done with it. However, every so often I would get someone who wanted to discuss the material.

At the same time, we would get calls for a rape crisis hotline. Being a man, the callers would (understandably) usually hang up on me when I answered. I made an agreement with my co-workers (all female) that they could transfer the videotape sales calls to me, and I would send them the hotline calls.

Guest's picture

My worst job was working as a clerk in a country western store... in northern MINNESOTA... forced to listen to country music all day, usually hit on by sleezy old guys who though they were cowboys, and hardly ever selling anything.

The owner of the store decided to break her lease at the mall so she could move to a new (cheaper) location, and forced her employees to help her sneak all of her merchandise out of the mall store in the middle night.

Toward the end of my tenure there, the owner was having trouble making payroll, so she started paying us in merchandise. But who needs chaps? or bolo ties? Let's just say I had a lot of jeans in my closet for a long time.

Horrible job.

Guest's picture
ryan

I started working for Morgan Stanley in their financial advisor program at 22yrs old in 2003. Cold Calling people to try to get them to invest with me, a kid with no experience, during a recession.

TERRIBLE!

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jessica

Right out of college I got a job answering calls into a tech center which quickly turned into constant pulling of voicemail all day long. That wasn't so bad, it was listening to the male chauvinistic supervisor. He would sit there all day and berate the females working there as ignorant and not worth more than to cook and clean and do his dirty work. Luckily I only worked there 2.5 months before I took my current job.

Guest's picture
Ashamed

Cocktail waitress for an all nude strip club off of Harry Hines in Dallas. If you know Dallas, you know that Harry Hines is a.k.a. Prostitute Row. Lots of unsavory characters. I needed quick money (was in a car accident that was my fault). At least I kept MOST of my pride and didn't strip!

Guest's picture
LaDonna

I was a telemarketer for a security system company for one week. The only people who would listen were elderly folks, and then I felt like I was taking advantage because they were so lonely. I had one guy tell me he couldn't talk because he was, um, "in an intimate moment" (my words, definitely not his) with his girlfriend. "You must be having a really good time if you're answering the phone," was my response!

That was the worst week of my life, and I'm much nicer to telemarketers now because of it!

Guest's picture
Lyndsae

My first job was at McDonald's, during the summer after my junior year in high school. I really don't know what I was thinking when I took the job. I just wanted to make a little cash and keep myself from getting bored over the summer. As a 17 year-old vegetarian, McDonald's was not a pleasant environment. I would stand all day in polyester pants, taking orders from hungry, frustrated customers with loud, cranky children, serve hundreds pale grey burgers and limp french fries, then come home at the end of a 6-hour shift smelling like grease--all for $4.25/hour minus taxes. I lasted 8 weeks. I have never had another food service job and hopefully, I never will. I always try to be extra nice and make friendly conversation with restaurant workers, because I know how they probably feel.

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Julie M

I spent a summer cleaning hotel rooms for minimum wage. It was a hotel that allowed animals. You would be surprised at what people did to those rooms!

Dog poop, mystery food ground into the carpet, stray hairs in the toilet that I had to wipe off...it was gross.

PS Hotels don't wash the comforters on a regular basis.

Guest's picture
Dan Holt

I am not making this up (I wish I could make up something this funny.) I wanted to work when I was fifteen, but legally couldn't in Texas. So, I got an off-the-books job as a ranch-hand (read:yard-slave.) The pay was $15 per day (this was 1994!) Highlights:

1. I couldn't drive, so I was stuck there until my father arrived. one day my boss took me to his front lawn and told me to remove one of the 2 types of grass that made up the yard while he got ready to go to a party. It was 1:30 and there seemed to be more grass to remove than to keep.

2. Picking rocks out of a field. If you don't know the Texas Hill Country well, the ground has more rocks than dirt.

3. Standing on my boss' roof with a rope tied at one end around a tree branch, and at the other end around my waist. The job: I was supposed to keep the tree from hitting a nearby window on the house. The catch: I was fifteen and the portion of the branch to be cut clearly outweighed me. The result: I fell, was dragged to the edge of the roof, and the window broke. At least I didn't fall off the roof.

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martha in mobile

Midnight to 7am shift on the sorting line at a tomato canning factory. I was viewed with pity and scorn since I was the oldest unmarried woman. I was 19. I got my sorry ass back to college the next semester.

Guest's picture
Guest

One of my very first and very short lived jobs was attempting to sell cutlery door to door.

"Hello. I was hoping you might have a few moments to allow me to show you my very sharp knives. May I come in?"

My only sale was to an older gentleman who answered the door smelling of beer and swaying slightly side to side. I would show him a specific knife and tell him it's purpose and then he'd slam his hand down on the table and say "I'll take it!" He ended up buying a complete set with extras.

Guest's picture
nora

after college, since the economy is so great, i was only able to find a job at a department store. this has been the only job that i singlehandedly hate with all my heart. management and the company in general did their best in screwing their employees, store management had favorites and as long as you are not on the list, you get kicked around and abused.
thankfully, i have found another employment at a great company.

remember...even bad experience is experience...as hard as it may seem...

Guest's picture
Russell

Killing and cutting up animals for drug research when I was 16 years old. I wanted to be a scientist and hadn't thought through the issues in this particular job (thought I would just be preparing microscope slides). When I saw a dog being killed and its skull being sawn open to get the brain out for dissection in order to research drugs contained in a hair dye ... I came to my senses and quit - without any other job to go to. I lasted only a few months. I have been making amends ever since.

Guest's picture
Tim Copperfield

Seems like all of you have lived sheltered lives if working at KMart for a summer or being berated by some dork manager is the worst you can summon.

I was a cop in a major mid-atlantic city. During my first month on the job, somebody tried to stab me, I dealt with three suicides (one by gunshot), two homicides (one of which was a double homicide), an aborted car chase (called off by my sergeant), and so many domestic disputes that I can't even begin to count them. In fact, the first call I was ever dispatched to was a traffic fatality where the person was nearly decapitated; the corpse was so mutilated that I didn't find out what sex he was until I pulled his drivers license from the wreckage.

Upon joining the department, they sent me to the worst precinct in the entire city. 70% of the residents of my precinct were below the federal poverty line. So many people were addicted to narcotics that we didn't even bother to detain someone with drugs or paraphernalia-- only the dealers. My entire day was spent running calls, most of which were domestic disturbances. If the work itself wasn't demanding enough, I had to deal with horrible supervision and outright hostile and equally miserable co-workers. The mentality was to shove as much work as possible onto the next guy and get out of having to write reports. My entire day was filled with misery, 5 days a week. Miserable work, miserable supervisors, miserable coworkers. And to top off all that misery, I ended up in court on my days off.

The saddest part is that I stuck with that job for nearly 2 years. That job did more to shape my personality than any single event.

THAT is my worst job story.

Guest's picture
A

Thank you, Tim Copperfield.

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Lesa

walking beans! ugh! when i was in my teens, many of us would get summer jobs walking beans. some of you may not even know what this is. if you live around soybean fields then you know exactly what i mean. i still have scars on my legs from the crazy hook used to cut down the weeds amongst the beans. the suckers are sharp... they have to be, because you haven't seen a weed until you've seen ones that can grow in bean fields.

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Jules

I had scullery duty for two weeks on an aircraft carrier in the Navy. That means scrubbing the grime out of the biggest pots and pans you've ever seen, and doing it as fast as you can.

Not the worst job on this list by far, and actually kind of fun once you get used to it. You're certainly busy, with 5000+ people to feed and clean up after. It's amazing the amount of food that gets thrown out.

Linsey Knerl's picture

I have more than a few "bean hook" scars, as well.  My legs will never be the same again! LOL

Thanks for all the amazing (and kind of scary comments!)

Linsey Knerl

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CvK

I came back from studying abroad for a year and decided to blow off the next semester of college so I got a job at AT&T in customer service. I spent 8 hr shifts in a gray office tethered to a desk taking calls from NYers that were complaining about their phone bill, as if that wasn't enough stress the computer system, policies, and procedures were all bass ackards.

My very first call came from someone with multiple personality disorder (no joke) I had to tell everyone of her personalities why her phone was going to be cut off and where she had to go pay the bill. As soon as I'd think she got it her voice would change and I'd have to go through it all over again with my fat supervisor sitting way too close to me in a very tight light blue seer sucker suit, writing notes on a legal pad for me to read like "use more authority in voice" or "tone 2 rude".

I took so many calls from people with very thick accents arguing that they should not have to pay for a certain call back to their homeland because the connection was so bad, well if the connection was bad why did you talk for 124 minutes????

The worst was once I took a call from a lady just back from her honeymoon about some 900#s that appeared om her bill. The # was a gay mens sex chat line. I wasn't even in a serious relationship at the time and I started crying with her on the phone.

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sbm

Retail.

Walmart.

Cashier.

Need I say more?

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I worked as a "beach attendant," in other words - ticket checker. I got to sit in a little hut near the beach and hassle people all day long for their beach passes.

Unfortunately, I didn't work at one of the booths that took money, so if people didn't have their passes, I'd have to make them walk 4 blocks in either direction to pay.

Needless to say, I was also called every name in the book, and even had to call the police a few times.

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Guest

I worked as a laborer for two years for a office furniture installation company. My duties included loading and unloading trucks, staging product in building areas, and removing trash and excess product from the build site. The physical labor involved was draining. We often had to carry product manually up several flights of stairs. I lost 30 pounds in the first two months on the job. I was at least 20 years older than the next younger laborer, but after a few weeks on the job, I could keep up with the best of them.
Times were tough, and I was fortunate to have have any job. I don't miss the hard labor, but I do miss the great friends that I met while there.

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David

For anyone out there romanticizing about roasting coffee for a living, it's pretty much like this - Stare into a gigantic pop-corn popper / clothes dryer tumbler in a 100+ degree room with a jet airplane taking off next to you for about 10 minutes. Then haul 120KG (250lbs) of beans to reload the machine and repeat for the rest of the day. It's dirty, exhausting, mind numbing and I'm glad I left that place.

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NRM

Took a job at a drive in theater one summer as a second job to save up for grad school, worked only the weekends, but ended up quitting two weeks early. I originally signed up for kitchen staff, they added security to my duties the second week I was there because the guy who was supposed to do it disappeared and he couldn't find anyone else. Let's just say that many people didn't feel like listening to a girl even with the security vest when asked to move their big truck because they were in the front rows blocking the view to everyone behind.

Also the food standards there were horrendous, the floor was so coated in grease it was hard to walk, and they let their 5yo granddaughter run around in the kitchen while we were busy trying to get orders out. Twice I burnt myself when I turned around and found a kid under foot. Often we were so busy that we wouldn't get a break in the 6hr plus shift, and if you got stuck doing dishes you could be there well after 2am on a busy night, the kitchen generally closed at midnight.

Dealing with this on top of a full time job sucked, but I made the extra money to cover the move to school and the first two months of my budget from this crap job.

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Kristina

As a farm kid, you'd think I knew everything about bad jobs.

But in college I waited tables for a well-known restaurant chain that is famous for its pies. There were 10 waitresses hired when I was, but only two survived the training. That should have been my clue. All of the managers were male, always raised from busboy (no busgirls, either), and you could be "written up" for cutting a pie with the wrong pie cutter (no kidding). It was the most toxic atmosphere I've ever worked in. I couldn't wait to get out of it. Maybe that's what gave me the perspective, when I graduated from a completely unrelated graduate degree, to become a farmer again...

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barks

I worked maintenance in a production bakery. How bad can that be...well if the temperature outside was 90, it was 115 inside. You would walk through the place and icing would drip down on you from the conveyors overhead (sweat and icing, great combo). Oh, that was the good part of the job. If the conveyors got stuck inside the oven (350 degrees) somebody had to go inside these huge ovens to break the conveyor free with a crowbar. Otherwise production was stopped in the enire plant. The only thing you wore was a thermal suit, gloves and head shroud. You had to breathe the 350 degree air. No external oxygen tank. You had 5 minutes to correct the problem and get out before you would pass out. Somebody outside the oven watched in case you passed out and then they would have to drag you out. Yes, and the pay was 8 bucks an hour.

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Drug dealer...details here: http://tinyurl.com/kqaobf

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David

I grew up on a farm and had all the standard farm-type jobs: shoveling pig crap, shoveling cow crap and baling hay in 100+ degree weather. That was a joy compared to most of my other jobs. At least you feel like you've accomplished something when you're done...

I quit working on farms when I became an EMT. I only did that for about six months before I was called out on a suicide. A teenage girl had decided life wasn't worth living while at summer camp, and she used a shotgun to end her life. Fishing around under a cot to separate brain tissue from dust bunnies was not my idea of a solid career. (On a separate note, the summer camp in question no longer offers skeet shooting as a camp activity.)

The hospital I worked at as an EMT offered me a job as a specimen collector for their occupational health clinic. While not technically "the worst job I ever had" (at least from my mental health perspective), this position is the most likely contender on the surface so it's the one I'll write about:

I was responsible for collecting urine samples from employees at any of the 300+ client companies we had, whenever they were in an accident or were suspected of substance abuse. I was the only person that did this 24/7 at our clinic, so I had a pager and I had to show up at the local emergency room within 20 minutes to conduct the test whenever I was paged. It was cheaper for my clinic to perform the tests than the emergency room, so I had to work around the ER staff. I was frequently bled on, and I had a gun pulled on me once by a schizophrenic patient. Someone bumping something gently with a forklift or dropping a package was considered an 'accident' according to the clinic rules, so I was paged frequently. On some nights there were so many accidents that I just stayed at the emergency room waiting for my dayshift to begin. During the dayshift, I mostly collected urine specimens from employees on a randomized basis.

During the randomized collections, there were always paranoid types who were convinced we were singling them out for the drug tests. I was slapped, punched and spit on by these people at least once a month. The truck drivers and coalminers were especially fun. The accident/substance abuse employees, on the other hand, were also loads of fun. Employees that were suspected of trying to cheat on the urine tests (using another's urine and a "Whizzinator", for example) had to be observed directly. I had to watch the urine come out of their penises [penii? ;-) ] Those who felt that this was a gross violation of their privacy often chose to urinate ON ME as a form of protest. Some of the wittier clients chose to defecate and/or ejaculate into the specimen cups.

Having a drunken janitor who has just shat in a plastic cup question YOUR career choices is nothing if not depressing.

Guest's picture

My worst job was when my sister and I first moved to L.A. in 2004. I took the first job I was offered because our 16-year old cat who had been diagnosed with kidney disease took a turn for the worse and needed extra care (his vet bills for the first month were close to $1,000 and we needed to give him daily saline IV's indefinitely.)

The job was at a small youth sports photography company, and at first it seemed OK and the boss seemed really nice until the 2nd day when my co-worker, who was also new, and I heard the loudest shouting coming from the warehouse adjacent to our office. It was our boss, a really big/tall guy (about 6'4") shouting at the guys working in the printing packing department. The shouting (w/ profanity) went on for a good 5-10 minutes and we were petrified at our desks.

The shouting, sometimes accompanied by throwing of large-sounding things, turned out to be a regular occurance at that company, and one day 4 months later, it was turned on us when we made a mistake and I quit the next day.

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hippykidz

My worst job ever was right after High School. I took a job at an egg packing plant. I worked on the front end of the machine that scans and packs the eggs. Not so bad right....? WRONG!! That is the same end of the machine where the eggs that don't pass the inspection or won't come out of their flats go. Imagine standing 2 feet from a 55 gallon drum 1/2 full of rotten eggs with the expectation that before your day is over you willl have filled it and moved on to the nesxt. NASTY,NASTY,NASTY. If nothing else I can say one day to my kids "If I could pack egss for a pay check then....."

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jason

At 15 I managed a work permit and found a job with a family friend about one hour away from home. after having to pay for hotel and such we then learned that we had to work the overnight shift due to "extreme" heat conditions. Our job was running insulation down tunnels at a mental institution. The tunnels were approxim 160 degrees after a few hour cool down when we started and they open the hatches every 60 yards to help vent. I still have two scars from the burns I suffered from bumping into an uncovered pipe while running pieces of insulation. I managed to finish the 3 weeks of work but my mother was horrified when I came home since I had lost so much weight. To add to this fun and joy one of the nights a "resident" of the mental institution managed to escape his room, cut his way into the tunnels, and chase us with a pair of scissors until security could catch him. The night that happened we also had to work extra since we did not meet the quota for the evening. to this day (20 years later) when I see that family friend asks if I want to go back and work the tunnels.

Jason

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Suzanne

I was working as an executive assistant for a senior manager at a well known regional bank. I got my 30 day evaluation and received negative reviews for "being too friendly"! This solidified my earlier feelings that I was in the wrong place!!
I initially became suspicious when on my first day I never saw one person smiling!

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jeremy

When I was 14 I took my first job at an animal shelter in the hot and humid state of South Carolina. My job was to keep up the grounds. Sounds easy enough but unfortunately what that really meant was I was in charge of doggie doo duty. So everyday I would wake up,get to the shelter and start scooping. Once A week I was also in charge of mowing the grass, and to top it all off I was in a leg cast from a soccer injury resulting in 7 fractures. In order to keep my cast clean I had to put my leg in a trash bag and seal it off with duct tape. Im sure everyone who drove by that summer was getting a good laugh. My pay for this wonderful work was an amazing $2 an hour! But I did learn several life lessons from the experience. 1. the value of hard work and 2. Grass is easier to mow if you clean up the doggie doo first

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Peggy

My first job out of grad school was as a data analyst at an ad firm, and while the job itself was lucrative, my crazy lady boss made this the worst experience ever. On my first day, I walked in at 8 only to find her glaring at me and saying she expected to see me here when she arrives at 7:30ish. So the next day I got here by 7:20 to find the door locked. Started knocking on the door and then had no choice but to sit and wait outside. Boss lady showed up at 9:30 that day with her S*bucks latte and fresh manicure and then yelled at me for banging on teh door and "breaking the security lock" (but I didn't open the door).

During my first month I was working overtime, meaning I was putting in 15-20 hours/day. Yes, I did sleep over a few times. I remember one night going over a presentation with Boss Lady and my stomach was growling too loudly for her tastes, so I asked her if I could run next door or order takeout. She proceeded to berate me on my eating habits, and then pointed out that SHE did not have to eat, so why should I? Then she told me I could run downstairs and grab a "greasy, disgusting slice of limp pizza" (her exact words) which I proceeded to do, but pretty much ate it crouched outside the office because she was making faces at how "bad" it smelled. So that was my 10 minute dinner break...and the next day, I found her standing in the middle of the office, telling the other coworkers (who incidentally were gossipy and malicious themselves) about how I couldn't handle working hard and had to eat- god forbid. I was really a wimp and started apologizing (for being hungry???) and was saying how I get headaches if I don't eat/drink for 12 hours- and then Boss Lady rolled her eyes and said, "Oh so now you get headaches, too, if you work too hard?"

WHAT THE H***

Anyway, the happy ending is that after 3 months (yup, I survived that long) I found another job and happily told her I was leaving, at which point she suddenly started giving me normal project deadlines and being significantly nicer. I left anyway and to this day (3 years) I'm told she still has not filled that position. Wonder why?

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Guest

bussing tables in the guys dorm cafeteria in college. The guys found it amusing to make huge teetering piles of dirty dishes in hopes that they would crash to the floor during cleanup. They also liked to turn full drink glasses upside down on the tables. I was a sticky smelly mess up to my elbows at the end of my shift, and no gloves were provided.

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S.

My worst job was also the SADDEST job I can think of...

Helped kick helpless elderly, families with kids, everyday people out of their homes.

In college I worked for a moving company. Not so bad right?!? Well, this moving company had a contract with the city Sheriff's Department. Our job was to follow the Deputies into homes of people that were being evicted due to foreclosure or failure to pay rent.

95% of these people were just like you and me. Good, hard working, normal people with families. They had just fallen behind for what ever reason ( runaway medical bills, family trauma, financial mismanagement, etc. ) to the point that they were so far gone it was too late. These were often people too proud to ask for any public assistance or any handouts.

The first day that broke my heart was the day I met Steven. He had to be no more than 4 years old. His family was unable to pay the bank ( this was before the market crapped the bed ) for the one-family home they were living in for years. Though his family had plenty of warning of our arrival, there they all were to watch us take their stuff to storage for the Sheriff. Steven could not understand why we were taking his family from the only home he had ever known. It's been 5 years and memories of that kid's tears still haunt me. And he was only one of many people that summer that I wish I could have helped instead of hurt.

I lasted far too long at that job. It was an rough few months. That experience pushed me to help those in need, and I went into a career that helps people, people like Steven. Nowadays I am happy to go to work.

Thanks for letting me share my experience.

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Wendy

I once had a job where I counted redeemed coupons all day - by hand. You can count up to about 20,000 coupons when you have nothing else to do.

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kimberly

Working at a candy store while I was in school. My bosses were paranoid and sexual harassy and my co-workers were evil. I can't believe I out up with it for so long.

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Diasdiem

The worst job I ever had I got the summer after my freshman year in college. I got recommended to this guy by my old high school chemistry teacher. He had a "telecommunications" company, but really he just did home video, phone, and stereo installations and was trying to branch out into network installation.

At the time the guy was running for state representative of his district, so he was really more concerned with that than the business. So I did most of my work under another guy who actually had some idea of what he was doing. But this guy wasn't really happy working for him either.

My boss had somehow managed to land a contract for a new apartment complex to install their network lines. The other guy I worked with was really the one handling it, but even he wasn't too sure about what to do. We were pretty much putting together jerry-rigged wiring boxes made from cheap PVC parts, and most of the time on that project I was left alone all day on the site, the only one from out company, which made me the only guy who the head contractor could talk to, and I didn't know anything. I also once had to borrow a drill from an electrician to bore a hole through a beam, because the one my boss gave me sucked. That's an embarrassing situation for a 20-year-old college kid, with all those weathered construction workers around.

Most mornings I'd sit in my truck until 9 or 10, trying to get a hold of him to find out exactly what I'd be doing that day, and couldn't reach him. I still counted that in my hours, because he had hired me for full time work, and it's his responsibility to either tell me what I'm going to be doing or tell me to stay home. It was still very frustrating.

After a week of that I figured this wasn't going to be a good job and told the other guy I worked with that I didn't think it was going to work out. He panicked and offered me a dollar more an hour than I was hired for (retroactively) and I reluctantly agreed to stay one. The boss later reneged on the retroactive part, and I would have been better off cutting loose then.

Twice my paychecks bounced when I tried to deposit them, and I had to corner him to get my money. He was clearly having money problems, as not long before I quit he moved his operation out of the rented office space and into the house he rented. But a couple weeks before that he hired a pretty, young 18 or 19 year old girl as an office worker, when he obviously couldn't afford it. I think he didn't exactly have pure intentions there. I mean, his wallpaper on his work computer was of some scantily clad model, and he had this little animated woman desktop apps. Real professional. All in all the guy just seemed really sleazy.

So, after 2 bounced paychecks and the moving out of his office, I read the writing on the wall and quit after last check cleared. But by then the summer was half over, and no one was hiring, so I ended up sitting around the house or going to work for my dad when he needed extra help.

My chemistry teacher was more or less unapologetic for setting me up with this guy, who was a friend of hers. So I was pretty satisfied when I heard later that he had moved out of the house he was renting into a home owned by her, skipped out owing her rent and leaving the place a mess. Later heard he had a couple warrants for fraud out on him. Not surprising.

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Guest

Back in 1976 when gas stations were still full service, I was in high school (16) and landed a job at a small gas station on a major busy road in southeast Michigan. I got night shift. When I got to work my first night, they told me I would not have access to the cash register and they gave me a wad of money to make change (this was also before debit and credit cards could be used at the pump), and I was left alone. Through the night, I was pumping gas, cleaning windshields, and checking oil with my jeans pockets bulging with money. Every time I had to make change, I would have to pull the whole wad of money out of my pocket. Talk about a setup. It would have been so easy for somebody to rob me. Luckily, nobody took advantage of the situation that night. But, I didn't go back the next night. I was scared to death the whole time I was there.

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Michelle

Reading these comments makes me realize how good I've had it. I've been working since I was thirteen (I'm 42 now), and I don't have a story that can hold a candle to most of these.

Overall, the job that was the worst was the one that I quit after less than two hours. It was telemarketing--selling photo shoots starting at 8:00 in the morning. Besides the general distastefulness of the job, there was the fact that it was far too small of a town to be waking up your neighbors and making them mad.

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kaitlyn

So, you would think that my worst job would be the one where I waitressed in a low-income high-crime area (we had to have a security guard on weekends, waitresses weren't permitted to walk to their cars alone, etc.), but the one I consider the worst was hostessing at an upscale Irish bar.

To give you an idea of how horrible the place was, I had a customer physically attack me. I had a panic attack and fainted. Management woke me up, handed me my keys, and sent me home without making sure I was okay. I later learned they were legally obligated to call an ambulance and should have sued. And the customer that attacked me? They got free drinks and an apology from management for my provoking them. The best part is what I said to set them off: "I'm sorry, the bar is 21 and over only. May I please see your ID?"

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Amanda

I was in college and got laid off from my full time job... so to make ends meet I took a job selling shots in a night club. WORST JOB EVER! I had to wear a hot pink shirt so I could be seen in the dark crowd... but the worst part was getting groped and hit on all night every night! It took me 4.5 months to find other employment, the money I made at the night club made it worth it (I only worked 3 nights a week) but just barely...

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Jamie G.

My worst job (so far) was when I worked as a dishwasher at a major chain buffet restaurant. The dishwashing area was disgusting and smelled awful. After a month I was "promoted" to slicing meat for customers in the buffet line This was terrible as customers had requests like "give me the fattiest piece." I became quite good at balancing a slice of meat on top of plate that was already towering with buffet food. I never felt like eating during my lunch break the entire time I worked there.

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ladygoat

One summer I was a telemarketer, and it was AWFUL. I got yelled at some many times.

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Diane

It's a toss-up. Years ago I had 2 jobs in a row where I was hired as an assistant to someone who didn't actually NEED an assistant.

One was at a local bank, and the other was at the local Equifax office. I spent my time looking for things to do, asking people for work and sitting on my hands. Thankfully both ended quickly.

More recently I had a job where the boss was a jerk, changed my hours (which I couldn't do because of day care hours) yelled alot, and the other administrator worked at getting people fired... I lost 20 pounds in one summer from the stress!

I'm sure others have much worse stories, so I count myself lucky overall!

Guest's picture

Wow! Amazing stories! I worked at Jack-in-the-Box starting the day after high school graduation, and I'm sure it's just par for the course in fast food. I was a vegetarian at the time, which made it hard to recommend burgers. The assistant manager would sexually harass us, one worker sold drugs through the drive-through window, and construction workers building a hospital across the street would amuse us with tricks like the one guy who could make the naked lady tattoo on his forearm dance while I took his order. Not to mention the 100% polyester blouse (buttoned to the top) and thick "jeans" with no pockets. I just wish I'd been at work the day the assistant manager pressed too close to one girl's backside and she punched him out!

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Guest

Actually, this is my husband's worst job (as I know he won't post it). He worked one summer at a waste water treatment plant. I think that says it all; the stench followed him all summer.

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Lady Rachel

When I was in my 20's and while married I was brainwashed into working in NYC right on 8th ave & 42nd street at a place called "Show World" Men relate to these places more so than women... but then again in NYC you never know. It had to do with peepshows and booths with sliding glass doors. I don't regret that I ever worked there because it has been one of my life experiences and today I am who I am from those experiences, but I gotta say looking back and reminiscing on some of the men that would attend these places just makes you think of the sickos out there.

So I have to say this is my worst job ever.

Lady Rachel (used to be my stage name)

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Guest

My dad used to work during the night shift at a PR lab and had to test samples of urine. Every night he had to PERSONALLY sniff the hundreds of samples to confirm it was actually pee.

He fortunately got a new job right after that.

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dawn

My worst job was one summer in high school I worked at a NJ factory that made the electronic devices that turn street lights on automatically at dusk and turn them off at dawn. My job was to stand inside a booth shrouded by a black curtain and to plug in 8 or so electronic devices to a circuit board at a time, then flip a switch and time it to make sure they went off and on as they were supposed to. I was on an assembly line, so you had to move fast. Problem was, if you forgot to turn the power off when you reached to unplug those you'd just tested, you'd get a nasty electrical shock, and i got shocked several times.

the plant supervisor was not a nice guy. He'd try to sneak up on me to see if i was goofing off in my little booth. the curtain extended to about 1 foot above the floor, so i'd see his shiny black shoes and next thing i'd know he'd flip the curtain open to see what i was doing.

Awful

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Brad

I had my 2 worst jobs ever back to back! I responded to an ad in the local paper for a job I could work 4 day a week and make $60,000 a year first year. The company I worked for was Family Heritage. I'm sure I could've made that much money in my first year, but the job was just so frustrating and nerve-racking that I quit after a month. I was essentially a self-employed contractor. But since the company doesn't advertise and won't let the agents advertise, I was up the creek without a paddle. My training consisted of driving out of state to stay in a hotel for a week which I later found out that if I didn't sell anything I had to pay it back to the company. The hiring manager didn't tell me up front about that and claims it's in the contract. I am still paying for it so I can avoid it going to collections that'll hurt my credit. But as a sales agent for them, I had to go door to door which is illegal in most parts of the area in which I live. And since that job was my only source of income, I didn't have the funds to go out of my area and stay in a hotel and pay for gas. After leaving that company, I found a job online to be a "Merchant Consultant" for Summit Merchant Solutions. I had to call in daily to my manager (who was out of state) to get my first appointment. Well, they called it an appointment. When I got to the appointment, the store owner said they had no clue I was coming or told the appointment setter to not send anyone. That was 9/10 times. I was also expected to do cold calling on unsuspecting store owners. The pay was decent, but I quit once one of the merchants I had signed up had $4,000 drafted out of the business's account from Summit Merchant Solutions. Honestly, they're not the solution to anything. They're just part of the problem. The manager has to talk to all the merchants that were appointments to convince them further that it was a good deal. The managers are all trained sweet-talkers that seem to be honest people. The company sets up their contracts to where it's nearly impossible to get out of the contract without spending a ton of money. I am so glad I am as far away from those companies as possible. But after working those jobs, my self-esteem hasn't been the same.

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Vacuum cleaner sales

Brad, You got hosed, that's for sure. But it could happen to anyone.

I took a job as a "Marketing Management Trainee" right out of college that looked legit, with a formal application process and training at a local office building complex. Turns out my job was to sell vacuum cleaners by appointment. In this case though, the appointments were legitimate at least.

I needed the money after college so I stayed on for one month and sold three units. But I wasn't getting paid, when I insisted, the owner said he needed to use my demo machine for his own demo and I never heard from him or anyone at the company again (I heard the owners skipped town or maybe filed BK, but was too young at the time and having to work two jobs to make up for lost time that I wasn't able to track everything down).

Alas, there are scammers everywhere. You tried your best, and believed in people that let you down. That happens to us all. Now get out there and realize that it's them that has the problem, not you.

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PDXVolunteer

As to my worst job, I've enjoyed them all. The worst memories though are of a) getting yelled at as a form of "communication" at one job and b) changing linens (complete with certain latex unmentionables) as a motel maid on a summer job to save for college.

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MeOhMyOh

My first job out of college was to work as a proofreader for a law firm to ensure that documents that had been scanned in via OCR were correct. This involved using two rulers to go line-by-line through 100+ page SEC filings, in 8-point font, to try to find the four errors that were in each document. We worked in 6 x 3 windowless rooms, and I made the grand sum of $21,000 a year. The worst part was that it cost $8.00 a day to park in downtown Houston, and I had to wear skirts and pantyhose to work. Yay, English degree!

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MikeTM

My worst job was my first job, washing dishes at a BBQ restaurant. By the second month I had lost feeling of temperatures in my hands since the water I used was over 150 degrees. Plus I had to make coleslaw in 55 gallon batches in a trash can.

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jadefly

One of my former bosses and his wife were the reasons I hated one job so much. Both of them were micromanagers, distrustful and often condescending. They're so bad that when we, their employees, network at industry events, we hear, "Oh, another new face? Your company's always had a hard time keeping people." One of my coworkers there was a veteran, having stayed two years, during which time he counted at least 15 people had come and gone through just MY position - at a small non-profit of 12 people in the office, two of whom are the bosses. My coworkers would add that there was one woman who was supposed to become the Director of a project, but that she quit after two days because she couldn't stand the power struggles.

Anyway, the few times at the start of that job that I tried to use my brain to improve upon a project, I was met with distaste, possibly contempt - which is a great way to kill a new employee's desire to invest herself in the company. Whenever I'd ask for more work (and I did, often, at the beginning), there wasn't anything to do, or rather, nothing that the higher-ups would trust underlings to do.

After my first month at work, I started every morning of the subsequent eleven months calculating in my head how much time remained until I could go home, and then ticking off every fifteen minute period.

Yes, I have a lot of bitterness! But at least in the face of this adversity, I came away with many great friends. :)

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Jonny

One summer I worked at a country club in North Carolina. I'd never seen such a bunch of overfed sanctimonious pricks in my whole life. One of the hideous events I had to work was a lobster feast. I would wait in the oven-hot kitchen while they shoveled hundreds of screaming lobsters into huge boiling pots, then carry scalding trays of them out to the nouveau-riche klansmen and their clown-faced wives, who would only eat the lobster tails and pile up the half-eaten carcasses elbow-high in garbage cans placed all around the tables in the dining room. I'd drag the garbage cans outside into 100 degree heat to dump them in a festering pile of swollen shells, then return to the hellish kitchen to start all over again. All for barely over minimum wage, with no tips, serving hillbilly country club members who looked at everyone as slaves.

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Kristin

When I was 17, I was a telemarketer selling season tickets for the local symphony orchestra. I learned quickly that I'm not a natural salesman.

When I was 18, I worked for the summer at a women's clothing store that was located at the end of a strip mall. Women would load up their arms with clothes and the just run out the door and around the corner with $2000 worth of clothes. Then the two assistant manegers, who resented me because I was in college, were caught for returning items without receipts and trying to cover up their insider theft with the real theft. Not nice.

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The worst job I ever had was as a bill collector. They worked 365 days a year. Can you imagine calling someone on Christmas day over a credit card bill. There were so many people working there that sometimes by the time the person got home there were 6-10 messages on the machine so naturally they weren't happy to talk to us. I only last about 3 weeks. I am not a very pushy person and I had the lowest collection rate there. Not to mention I kept losing my voice from talking for 8 hours constantly. It had reached the point that I just cried at the thought of going in, there were times I thought dying would be better than working there.

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Gues

bad i missed this contest

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Brian B.

My worst job was working at Wal-Mart - I'm sure a lot of other people could say the same (and might have, though I didn't read through the mass of comments above). I was supposed to be a cashier, they had me pushing carts in 100 degree weather... The Gatorade cooler we had for water? The other cart guys kept their drinks inside of it, so the water was literally moldy. I went in to get a glass of water from the in-store McDonald's (which they had said was okay to do) and was chastised by management for it. I quit on the spot. My (now wife) worked at the same time as me and had quit a month before for the same kind of petty crap.

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Kris

My colleague was a nutcase. She sang to herself, wrote curses and talked about UFOs. But she seemed very sane at times so it freaked me out and I left the job.

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Tim Copperfield

Should have changed the rules to "Not so bad jobs that upper middle class yuppies had to 'endure' for one summer when they were 16 years old." Meanwhile, in the rest of America...

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vee

The worst job I had was cutting up meat at a butcher's shop.  I hated that summer job because first, I had to ride the bus home and spelled like stale food and my clothese were forever red and smelly.