Monday, April 23, 2007

Odd Jobs

For no particular reason, I was trying to recall all the various forms of employment I've held over the years. This is what I've come up with:
  1. Farm hand (I don't know if this technically qualifies as a job since it was for my parents when I was growing up and I didn't actually get paid. But I did receive room and board, and you can't tell me it wasn't work.)
  2. Dish washer
  3. Lab assistant
  4. Sandwich "artist"
  5. Carpenter's assistant
  6. Pizza cook
  7. Docent (a.k.a. tour guide)
  8. Wine store clerk
  9. Temp (for a variety of NYC employers: currency trading, insurance, publishers, record companies, cosmetics, aging retail dinosaurs, etc.)
  10. Fair housing spy
  11. Waiter
  12. Bartender
  13. Web site designer
  14. University instructor
  15. Computer geek
It's a reasonably eclectic list (though I know some folks whose résumés would dwarf mine in both breadth and oddness). The early years were heavy on the food service; the later years tend towards the bits and bytes. "Fair housing spy" probably rates highest on weird-o-meter.

What's the weirdest job you ever worked?


  1. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Nude art model.

  2. Anonymous10:49 PM

    I, too, was a lab assistant. I attached electrodes to the heads of small children and recorded their brainwaves while they looked at pictures of stangers' faces.

  3. truck driver.

    (kid you not...)

  4. Anonymous8:35 AM

    fluffer tester

  5. so which one was your favorite?

  6. Anonymous3:10 PM

    We paid you for really crappy work sometimes(!!) and you forgot pool attendant.

  7. Anonymous4:52 PM

    In 1983 I was the night butcher in a convenience store. (While freelancing in corporate PR by day.)

  8. Anonymous6:56 PM

    dog food factory painter

  9. Anonymous6:59 PM

    shameless promotor: i was that person who tries to hand you stuff while you are walking down the, cds, ect.

  10. Anonymous8:06 PM

    emergency room parking attendant
    adder of artificial flavors to coffee beans (in NOLA)
    cab driver

  11. Anonymous8:50 PM

    Um, they called it a "pitter" - I worked at a remote control race car track. Mostly I had to run and grab the cars and put them back on the race track. I also repaired them. I knew how to take apart and repair teeny tiny transmissions.

    scarf merchandiser
    extra in a really bad movie

  12. Anonymous6:48 AM

    Peanut saleswoman. (at the much-mourned "Peanut Shop" on Main St. in Annapolis.)

    I went up to each customer with a double basket of peanuts, asking "Would you like to sample our peanuts? We have Spicy Cajun Style and Salted Blanched". They kept reducing my wages until I finally quit to stuff envelopes in the Advancement Office.

  13. -animal caretakert at St. john's. In the little room. I fed and chased around two iguanas, a turtle, a black snake and rats cast off fromother science labs.

    I refused to feed the snake live mice because I was vegan at the time. Now, I would just plain refuse.

    -loungerie salesperson at Walmart.

    -bridal gown model in annapolis

  14. Back in the '90s, I was the lone 'true' female working at Lucky Cheng's in the Quarter. It was a restaurant where the waitresses were Asian transvestites. I was a cook. That was a weird, wacky place to work.

  15. I notice my fellow alumni are well represented in the above comments. Clearly, the Great Books are an excellent preparation for a life in odd-jobbery.

    MC, as for your question, I think I'll decline to pick a favorite—the merits of a job are measured in many ways—but I do have a fond spot in my heart for my years spent waiting and bartending at the little uptown French bistro. It was the rare highly-functional restaurant with a close team of employees who knew their jobs and did them quickly and well. I enjoyed the camaraderie and fast pace and the ever-changing spectacle of people who came through our doors.

  16. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Medical center laundry tech,

    Santa Claus for an outdoor display.