Yup, that’s right. The topic this week is fabulous (and when I say fabulous, I mean not fabulous at all) jobs we’ve had.
I’ve had a number of strange jobs over the years. First and foremost, you have to understand I grew up on a farm, so my early jobs were rural jobs. Then I became a forensic anthropologist, and my clients–in a manner of speaking–were the dead. Dealing with the dead and the natural world tends to let down some buffers that I have grown to appreciate very much.
This isn’t a full listing of all my career choices, but just the high points, so to speak.
Asparagus picker: This entailed sitting on a wagon being hauled behind a tractor. The wagon held four of us about eighteen inches off the ground plus had rooms for boxes at our sides. Little metal bars poked out straight ahead of us with an L-bend at the end. We sat at the edge of the wagon with our feet out on the stirrups, leaned forward, and snapped off asparagus stalks as they rolled between our legs and under the wagon. We then piled them in the boxes, all oriented in the same direction. My sister kicked ass at this job. Me? Not so much. Still, I did my best. Plus side: It paid relatively well. Minus: My hands smelled like asparagus for six weeks or so each spring. Mmm. Yumm.
Worm picker: You know those little cottage cheese-looking containers at rural gas stations filled with night crawlers? For a brief–and it was brief–period, I picked worms for those containers. It was what it sounds like. A shallow ditch was filled with mulch and soil and covered over with leaves. It was also salted with worms. Once the bed has time to mature, kids were hired to crawl alongside the bed and fill the cottage cheese containers with fifty worms. Remember my asparagus-picking champ of a sister? Yup, she kicked butt at this one too. Me? Not so much. I had a bad tendency to lose count around thirty or so. Then I would have to dump the squirmy little critters out and recount. I usually lost five or so escape artists each time this happened. I also was known to get to fifty and then accidentally spill the container. Did I mention this career was short lived? I’m having a hard time coming up with a plus side for this one. It wasn’t one of my success stories.
Decomposition research facility: The title speaks for itself. I got one word for you–maggots.
I don’t know if I’ve grown soft or if I’ve just developed an appreciation for those buffers I mentioned earlier. I enjoy dirt less these days and hot showers more.
Be sure to check out my partners in crime for some of their fabulous (and by fabulous, you know exactly what I mean) job experiences. Bronwyn Green, Jess Jarman, Kris Norris, and Gwendolyn Cease!
How about you? I know we don’t have the market cornered on bad jobs. Give us the scoop on your worst!
13 thoughts on “If It Was Fun, They Wouldn’t Call It Work”
WOW, I’m glad I never had some of those jobs. I bet that makes for wonderful writing ideas.
It does help! 🙂
I feel your farm pain. I used to haul hay, pick strawberries (and other stuff) every summer when I was a kid.
And can I just say…ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww maggots. *gag*
So not a fan of the little white monsters. 😦
You definitely have me beat. Though I’ve done my fair share of wrangling worms (not as a paid job, more’s the pity.) The asparagus picking sounds…riveting. 😉 I am thoroughly intrigued by the forensic anthropology and decomp research, I have to admit.
I still eat asparagus–I just don’t pick it anymore.
Decomposition research? Was this for anthropology? Was it a body farm?
Yes it was, and yes it was.
Forensic Anthropologist?? Like Temperance Brennan (from the books not the TV show)? OMG, you’re totally cool too. I am so totally impressed. I didn’t realize my writing friends were so talented and incredibly educated. Wow, you all blow me away.
Asparagus, worms, and decomposition? YIkes! I’ve spent 25 years as a teacher, and this year I discovered that the Powers That Be do not value my experience at all. I was recently rated “proficient.” while some perky second year teachers were rated “distinguished.” I have no say over what grades go on the report card. I administer tests, input the scores, and a computer decides the grades. A 20 minute reading test, based on a 3-page story, outranks all the work my students do in class reading and analyzing novels.
That’s why I handed in my resignation letter and decided to write full time,starting at the end of this school year.
Still not quite as bad as worms and maggots, though.
Okay, the farm jobs… so not what I’d want to do. I’d suck, too. The forensic job… totally rocks, though not sure if I’d get used to the maggots or just want to hurl.