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The History of Jobs

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  • The History of Jobs

    Someone mentioned somewhere re: starting a thread about the curious/ awful jobs people have had (or have now!).

    So what's our employment history, folks? :D

  • #2
    The worst job I ever had was stocking shelves at a giant, souless toy superstore, much like Toys'r'Us.

    I had a couple of clueless managers, and a few co-workers who overestimated the importance of what they were doing.

    Worse, customers always acted like it was my fault when the lastest hot toy wasn't in stock, or when the toys didn't do what the television commercials showed them doing.

    Screaming bratty parents are much worse than screaming bratty children.

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    • #3
      I have a brief window of time between the wine hitting my brain and my supper cooking, so I'll try to contribute...

      My least favourite job to date, was working as a "Distribution Centre Associate". In plain English this means that I was packing clothes into boxes prior to their transportation to retail outlets, from the "Distribution Centre" (warehouse). The warehouse was a hot metal box, with various levels divided by metal grill flooring. The highest levels were boiling hot, while the lower levels were freezing cold. they hardly ever opened the "sky lights" to let fresh air in, so it was actually cooler in the summer (when they brought in huge fans to blow cold air at us) and baking in the winter. The work itself involved pushing a trolley around, and scanning bar codes to see how many items from which locations had to go into the box on your trolley. It was mind-numbingly dull and repetetive, and this wasn't helped by the fact that the management piped local commercial radio into the warehouse all day long. The only excitement was provided by the constant battle to secure a working trolley and scanner (there were never enough to go around, and if you didn't have a trolley you would be asked to break health and safety guidelines by carrying one up from another floor), and the occasional malfunction which meant that empty boxes would jam between floors and then fly off the conveyor belts at your head! Add to that fellow employees who were generally racist, sexist, and who mistook literacy for homosexuality, and you have quite a fun little working environment. Oh, and every day the management would make us stop work so that they could lecture us on how much money we were costing the company every time we stopped working.

      Not the worst job in the world, I'm sure, but certainly the wrost I've ever had!

      Ooh, supper's ready! :)
      "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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      • #4
        I worked in a factory for a few weeks making those laminated pages for in-store Argos catalogues. It pretty much involved just watching the pages run through the laminating machine for 7 hours a day, and periodically dumping a new stack of pages in the hopper.

        After a few days of this I started to have dreams in which I panicked that the machine had run out of pages. In the dream it was strangely horrifying to me that the pattern be broken and the machine would either seize up or catch fire.

        I'm sure there's a psychological explanation for that...
        Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

        Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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        • #5
          Working as a research assistant in a university before I went to graduate school probably doesn't count as a bad, strange job, but that's the most arse-grindingly unpleasant, sweat-shop redolent thing I've ever done. I quickly discovered that it's a lot more comfortable to be on top than on the bottom in such arrangements. Sh*t runs downhill.

          While in undergraduate school, I worked summers on a loading dock. Some of the gentlemen with whom I was employed regarded me as, shall we say, "unusual," but because I was good at it, they put up with me and what they regarded as my incomprehensible raillerie. It gave me a certain insight into the mindset of people employed in unskilled jobs, where they're considered by management to be only as good as their backs are strong.

          Of these, I learned more academically on the research assistant job, but the loading dock job had more charms, even though it entailed working in 90 degree Fahrenheit heat, with 95% humidity.

          LSN

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          • #6
            I've noticed that the more people get paid to do a job the less actual work they appear to do!
            I have found that working with the public has been very arduous. Don't they realise how bad they can be? Have they never seen a docu-soap?
            You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

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            Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

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            "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Governor of Rowe Island
              I have found that working with the public has been very arduous. Don't they realise how bad they can be? Have they never seen a docu-soap?
              "Docu-soaps" is Neoliberal BS that spreads the gospel that we are all egotistical shits, and should embrace that aspect of humanity for more self gratification. Humans are mostly ego-minded and need to fight out differences and find meaning to 'work together' or a common ground on which to stand. Not vote each other away from the group.

              Originally posted by Governor of Rowe Island
              I've noticed that the more people get paid to do a job the less actual work they appear to do!
              Well that depends on the workers mental enviroment mainly.. We get really decent wages and even company shares after a few years which the company then buys (if u sell) for a little more then they actually cost. "Just to be nice". But it's management who's stands for the BS and uninvolving dialogue that turns us off. i.e their sneaky view of us workers in general.

              If they treat us right we get more involved in the company and our role in it. I've worked far more overtime now, and helped out, because i was treated more fairly by management. Money wasn't the real issue of that decision either.

              Treating people like shit gets people uninvolved and they tend to disregard quality of service (i.e. The company loses customers).
              Dooming people with plant closure or movement of business represses the creativity of workers. The problem i see with businessmen is that they are mostly too short sighted and figureminded to see how other people work or feel about their work in general. Thinking more stress will move business in the right direction. A little empathy/respect and relative firmness gets workers in the right direction.

              Working on job mentality can be a goldmine if u ask me..

              If u give workers small 'hedges to jump over' they will perform tasks better. Less sickleave, less procrastination, and more job satisfaction.

              Source:
              A 30 year study from Teresa Amabile, at Harvard Business School.
              And others.


              But as always it also depends on the people you are working with..

              But neo-liberals don't care.. Too much work....

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              • #8
                My worst job was as an 'acrylic polisher' for a marine equipment manufacturer, removing scratches from window panes for posh yachts, I had to ask for ear plugs (only after realising the noise was giving me earache) and got dermatitis from the impregnated wadding. Would probably have got vibration white finger had it gone on past a month. I couldn't speak to anyone - how long the days were! Factory work is an eye-opener - I'd recommend it to anyone to see how the world works.

                2nd worse job was picking tomatoes in a huge hydroponic greenhouse - going up and down the heating pipes on little trolleys like a railway truck. Once again - a local commercial radio station playing the same tunes over and over. Horrid smelly green goo congealing on my hands - I supplied my own gloves after a week. Getting bawled out by a scary biker woman in charge (unfortunately, or quite possibly (very) fortunately I wasn't one of the (many) blokes she fancied...) The only fun was that joints were passed along at the end of the rows! I didn't eat a single tomato for the duration.

                A crisp factory was pretty bad as well - but I was only sent there for oned day.
                \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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                • #9
                  Probably when I was self-employed (as a one man car shop). My boss was an asshole and I had to manage a lazy jerk!

                  All jests aside, I have never worked harder for less. The public perception that all mechanics are crooks can make a very frustrating environment for those who do try to deal fairly with everyone.

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                  • #10
                    Mostly I've worked in offices / warehouses, or custmer service-related jobs. Did a stint as a medical transcriptionist at home, but because I lack discipline to work during reasonable hours, well. it didn't work out.

                    Present job: Selling aftermarket parts for Harley-Davidsons! ZOOOOM! ;) I like speaking with people all over the country and even had the chance to speak to people from Italy, Australia, and England.

                    :) Nice job, pretty good pay. I think I'll stay.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Poetgrrl
                      Present job: Selling aftermarket parts for Harley-Davidsons! ZOOOOM! ;) I like speaking with people all over the country and even had the chance to speak to people from Italy, Australia, and England.

                      :) Nice job, pretty good pay. I think I'll stay.
                      Who are you working for? I actually have occasional need for such items, and I prefer to deal with companies that have happy employees.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mikey_C
                        Once again - a local commercial radio station playing the same tunes over and over.
                        WHY! Do they always keep doing that. Playing the same crap over and over.. It's BRAINWASHING! Did they keep playing that 'Las Ketchup' song while you where picking tomatoes? *lol*

                        Good thing we have a stereo-system where i work!
                        Radio's are just good for news really..

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                        • #13
                          I had several jobs to finance my time at film school, but also got some support from home. Because of the complicated nature of our own projects I couldn't work regularly for any employer. The jobs were nothing too spectacular:
                          Moving decorations at the opera house, looking after art galleries (which meant you got to read a lot), helping out at auctions, being an extra in several insignificant TV series and the occasional movie (met a very grumpy Lee Marvin once not long before he died), translating plays for low budget theatre productions, assisting in a dozen functions on productions for TV, commercials or industrial films. I always tried to avoid jobs in branches too "alien" from my own. A concept which didn't always work so that once I got a job which was extremely well paid, but also by far the smelliest! Selling can openers at a main agricultural fair. The man we worked for wanted us to impress the farmers by demonstrating that this particular tin opener easily went round corners ... Now, what food product often has a nearly rectangular shape??? Sardines in oil!
                          Google ergo sum

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by invalid nickname
                            Originally posted by Poetgrrl
                            Present job: Selling aftermarket parts for Harley-Davidsons! ZOOOOM! ;) I like speaking with people all over the country and even had the chance to speak to people from Italy, Australia, and England.

                            :) Nice job, pretty good pay. I think I'll stay.
                            Who are you working for? I actually have occasional need for such items, and I prefer to deal with companies that have happy employees.
                            V-Twin Manufacturing, aka Tedd's Cycle. :D

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Worst job - picking carrots on a hillside in Northumberland in November, with the wind whistling straight down over Hadrian's wall, bringing much rain with it. Bit like Van Gogh's potato pickers but at altitude :(

                              2nd worst (but quite enjoyable for its surreality) - doing the books in a hotel owned and run by a septugenarian remnant of the Raj, who enjoyed entertaining her likeminded chums in my office. Typical conversational gambit: "Of course, Ted Heath was nothing better than a communist"; "Why can't we be more like the South Africans?" (this was in the mid-80s).

                              Can't really say the current one's much better, but at least the money's good
                              \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"

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