What was your first/worst job?

Have you seen that thing going around on Facebook asking people what their first 7 jobs were?  It’s a fun one, and it got us reminiscing about our first and/or worst jobs.

Katie’s worst job:

Did you know that those velvet-flocked posters of kittens and unicorns were made in Eugene, Oregon?  Me either.  Not until, desperate for money to buy a plane ticket back to a fun and lucrative job in Alaska, I applied for work through a temp agency here in town.  Shifts were long, and by the time I’d punch out at day’s end the unicorns would have morphed from mystical into menacing.  The sweat born of tedium – not activity – would create an effective adhesive for all the airborne velvet fluff, making me a sad approximation of the posters I spent all day wrapping.

Mera’s first and worst job:

From my teen years all the way into my early thirties I had pretty much the best job ever, deck handing, and later skippering, a small passenger ferry on Kachemak Bay.  But before I got that job I paid my dues with a brief foray into the worst job, as a toddler runway escort for a baby pageant company.  Each Saturday I would don a sparkly prom dress and accompany nervous, makeup-laden toddlers down rickety raised runways in hotel banquet rooms.  I kind of loved the prom dress part, but even back then I remember feeling like I was gently shepherding little girls toward a lifetime of insecurities and eating disorders.  The boat was a better gig, and we even sometimes had prom-themed parties so I still got to wear frilly dresses.

Red House West || First/Worst Jobs

Atop the wheelhouse of the M/V Danny J, circa a thousand years ago.

What was your first or worst job?

9 responses on “What was your first/worst job?

  1. isabel

    in high school i had a job as a gift wrap “girl” for the christmas season, with the promise of weekend work thereafter. the gift wrap job turned out to be quite demanding with very little monetary reward. they set-up was simple: i had 3 box sizes to choose for any and all gifts, and one type of wrapping paper, streamlining my task considerably. sadly, there was always a long line of impatient customers waiting who had limited time, or had fidgeting children begging to leave. Thus, they were annoyed with the line and the person wrapping the gifts. while the female customers waited in line, the male customers were stowed away to a secret rendezvous. Our boss took all male customers (anyone over 18) to a backroom where they were offered hard liquor; then sent back to me to pick up their wrapped purchases. after the christmas season was over, a very flustered young man returned with his gift box hand. He said that he had presented his gift to his girlfriend in front of her parents, but when she opened the box it revealed a scant negligee. He had been extremely embarrassed and tried to explain that he had actually purchased her knee socks. i was called over by my angry boss and, of course, apologized profusely as my boss returned the customer’s money back with a gift card. Afterwards, my boss said he had docked my pay to cover the gift card. My life in this retail store was short lived and i was let go 3 weeks later. However, it is interesting to note that the person who got the knee socks never came back.

  2. Carol Bryner

    This was my first and best job ever:
    When I was eight or nine years old I discovered I had a knack for finding 4-leaf clovers. My dad took the clovers to his office and “sold” them to his colleagues for a quarter each. It didn’t earn me much money, but I’ve always felt lucky. And I’m still really good at finding 4-leaf clovers!

  3. Jennifer Witaschek

    Right after I graduated from college, before I started my first teaching job, I worked on an assembly line in Spokane, WA making fly traps and yellow jacket traps. It could have been a worst job because it was long hours, the building was hot, and it was monotonous , but the people I worked with were so fun and energetic that it actually was one of my favorite jobs. Hands down my worst job ever was being a cashier at Wal-Mart!

    1. Mera

      It’s really saying something that working at Walmart was worse than assembling bug traps! I’m guessing that, like all things you do, you were the star employee at both jobs! xoxo

  4. Emily

    My very worst job was working as a waitress, which I was terrible at. I once spilled gravy onto a lady’s white trousers, and it was the sort of fancy restaurant that meant, when I rushed to the manager saying “I just spilt gravy on that lady, help!”, he replied “It’s not gravy, it’s jus.”

    A slightly less perilous job, but still pretty soul destroying, was my year spent writing instruction manuals for wood-burning stoves. I now know inane amounts of detail about the proper installation, usage and individual parts of stoves, including the proper distances away from combustible materials, what to do if your stove is gathering condensation, and other thrilling factoids. One of my friends gleefully pointed out that all my hard work was probably the first thing people used as fuel on their fires.

  5. Leslie

    I got my first/worst job when I was 11 years old, working as a roadside clown for a local florist. I would ride my bike to the shop after school, put on a polyester clown costume and wig, then stand out on the street wearing a sandwich board with the price of a dozen roses on it, waving at traffic for 2 hours. Embarrassment, boredom, standing in one place for long periods of time – all the things 11-year olds love!

    1. Mera

      Ooft, that’s a doozy. I always feel terrible for the people dressed in foam statue of liberty costumes who occupy certain corners around town at tax time. April in Alaska is no time to stand on a street corner for hours on end, plus the costume doesn’t provide much in the way of anonymity. But, as my dad used to say, all work is honorable!

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