Warning to readers. This is my first blue humor posting, but it’s only a light blue, say a powder blue.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? The worst job you can think of? Many years ago I taught a career planning class for female community college students. After identifying their interests, values, and skills, the students would begin to do some career exploration and narrow down their choices; then we’d spend time talking about different jobs. Perhaps because of these experiences I still pay attention to the jobs I see people doing and ask myself if I would or would not like a particular job and why.
I know that the best and worst jobs are in the eye of the beholder. That reality became clear to me on a pleasant, sunny evening when my husband and I were jogging around a track, part of a community sports area with an adjacent soccer field. We had to move out of the way of a mammoth truck which rumbled around the track and field to reach its destination: two port-a-potties that needed emptying. As we stood aside to make room for the truck to pass, we heard whistling from the driver’s open window. He waved as he went by. “Beautiful evening,” he shouted, grinning all the while, and then went back to his whistling and his work. We were stunned that anyone could communicate such joy doing a job like this.
Until recently, I believed that the worst job for me (not counting port-a-potty vacuuming) would be working as a parking lot attendant in an underground garage. My reasons? Having to spend eight hours in a cramped, claustrophobic space with limited daylight and little to do but give change, assist drivers who don’t know which way to point the big, red arrow when inserting a validated ticket into the machine, and watch the clock. However, a new job was recently created that has risen to the top of my list: transportation safety groper, a job that accompanies the introduction of full body scanners in airports, which is reputed to be a “feel-good” type of job. It’s just as well this job didn’t exist when I was teaching career planning; I’m having trouble imagining how we would have discussed the interests and values needed to be successful. I can, however, picture the interview. “I like working closely with others.” “I’m good with my hands.” “I have a great sense of touch.” “I’m sure your customers would be tickled if you hired me.”
It might be time to update your career workshop to fit the new job opportunities. You could call it “Privy to Privates.”
Love your touching and in-depth thoughts on a career that has too long been kept under wraps!
Whenever I see a dead animal (raccoon, possum, deer) on the roadway, I almost instantly think about the public works employee who will have to come out and remove the carcass. That, to me, would be the most depressing and horrid job imaginable, and yet someone has to do it. At my previous workplace (dare I mention it was a transportation-related workplace?) a small group of employees regularly shared news items about “road-kill.” That was too much black humor for me, and I opted out. Porta-potty cleaner would be a close second to “road kill cleaner-upper” in the worst jobs category. Third? Maybe serving as a George W. Bush speech-writer? Talk about cleaning up awful messes!!