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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

3 Bad Jobs

Ever since "Dirty Jobs" reached a measure of fame as a show on Discovery, we've become fascinated with some of the truthfully and horribly dirty jobs that some people have - the majority of which seem to involve some contact with feces. But after watching dozens of episodes of that show, I'm convinced that there is a vast difference between a dirty job and a bad job. Most of the folks who had those dirty jobs seem to relish their inherent dirtiness and who amongst us hasn't secretly wanted to spend some time doing something completely and viscerally dirty for a little while? There are, however, some truthfully awful jobs that seem to be devoid of any sort of quality, benefit or tolerable conditions; some jobs that I just couldn't imagine doing, and especially not for the meager pay rates that they no-doubt offer. Here are three jobs I'd never, ever do.

1. Discount Store Customer Service - I'm not the kind of guy who could be in customer service in any setting. The thought of regularly dealing with people's complaints seems like just the sort of thing which could push me straight from continually losing faith in humanity straight to shopping for an assault rifle. But having to do it at a major chain discount store (e.g. K-Mart, Target, Wal-Mart) has to be the sort of hell that is reserved solely for people who committed genocide in a previous life. The lines of folks I've seen at these customer service counters look like the extras from a George Romero movie, complete with the lifeless stare, slack jaws and aimless shuffling gait. Having to listen to their mindless warblings in justification of returning an $8 lawn sprinkler they bought six months ago would end me more abruptly than a Sopranos finale.

2. Movie Theater Ticket Taker - With the exception of the Arclight chain (and others like it), the modern movie theater is a shadow of its former self. Gone are the gentrified days of courteous ushers, a respectful quiet decor amongst the audience and a ticket price in the single digits. Additionally, the quality of personnel they have staffing these prefab strip malls of video entertainment seems to have been reduced to the point where they are interchangeable with the kids running the local food court. Of particularly miserable note is the young lad or lass that's stationed to take tickets and direct the would-be moviegoers to their chosen theater. To be clear, this person's "job" is take movie tickets, rip them and then tell people (despite the conspicuous and large-fonted signage) how to get to the right doors. Aside from the horror of having to watch an endless parade of simpletons parade in to watch the latest Twilight installment or similar mind-numbing fare, I mention this job because it appears to be a demotion from the concessions counter which houses the slowest moving food sales staff on the planet.

3. Wrong Way Airport Guy
- This one takes the cake. Of all the jobs I have ever seen, this is by far the worst. You know this guy. He is to the airport security team what the junior equipment manager is to a football team. His job is to sit on a stool at the "Point of No Return" in the airport gate area to make sure no one suddenly turns around and makes a break for it back into the "secured area". This young man has to sit and watch, for hours on end, a continuous stream of travelers exiting the airport, simply to make certain that no wrong way traffic occurs. Why this job isn't accomplished by a camera I do not know. These "one way" hallways are always located next to the security screening area, manned with armed law enforcement personnel - and yet, they've stationed a minimum wage, unarmed employee there to keep an eye out. I've personally never seen anyone manning one of these stations that could reliably stop a runny nose, let alone a sufficiently motivated terrorist. What's more, they are usually so brain-numb from the banality of their assigned task that they'd be lucky to notice an armed robbery. There can't possibly be a worse job.

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In the end, I suppose that in this day and age, those of us who are employed ought to be glad to simply have a job, when so many around us don't have that same luxury - but I'm not certain that I'd be willing to do anything even if I had to. Besides, I'm sure there's something much, much dirtier available than the relatively clean vocations I've mentioned above that's looking for people (no doubt something involving feces). It's got to be better to clean toilets than to endure daily the mindless fare I've cited here. But if nothing else, these folks remind me that the seemingly endless paperwork, stress and craziness that my job provides, really isn't so bad after all.


Anonymous said...

I agree with these, but I think I would've put Waiter, Personal Assistant and Fluffer.


Glenn H. Truitt said...

Kevin... are these all jobs you have had? Or are these from Bryant?

Anonymous said...

Nice Glenn. How about gas station window worker on an overnight shift? You are mind numbingly bored unless somebody comes in to hold you up.


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