Monday, 11 July 2016

What's the worst job you have ever done?


This morning before dawn, a colleague caught me washing a patient's underwear in a sink.
Some people have no one to wash for them, no one to complete those jobs that need doing.
I didn't mind. I had gloves on.
My colleague noted somewhat dryly that it was a scene that you wouldn't see on Grey's Anatomy or on ER
Anyhow, my question for you all on this rainy and miserable Monday morning is inspired from this remark...so,....
WHAT's THE WORST JOB YOU HAVE EVER HAD TO DO AT WORK? 
I'd be interested to know!


And speaking of best jobs...here is a screen shot of The Prof ( left of centre) calling out the new graduates at the university graduation ceremony this morning! How wonderful is that! Hey ho

116 comments:

  1. I can't think of one but my sister had a Saturday job at a barbers shop and had to cut the hairs out of old men's ears and noses! She ran fleeing and never returned!!!

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  2. On a self catering holiday a tin of sausages (obviously bad) exploded into my face and the foul smelling liquid spattered around the kitchen. The rest of the family fled - I can remember the smell even to this day!

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    1. There is nothing worse than a rancid sausage in your face

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  3. Emptying the toilet tanks on a Lockheed TriStar when the outlet valve wasn't sealing properly. Blue foul water and bog roll, and the outlet valve where you're connecting the waste truck is above your head.

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    1. I shall say this slowly
      O......M ........G

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    2. So this is where the phrase "Holy Shit" must have got started.

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  4. Working with severely handicapped people many years ago we came across a 'blob' on the floor - don't know what of. We drew lots to see who cleaned it up and I got the short straw. That wretched blob moved around as I tried to clean it up. Like you - luckily I had gloves on.

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    1. This reminded me of a sign posted in the bathroom at center for developly disabled adults. It read:
      May is don't pick your nose month.

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    2. TV licensing officer, I was crap at it...lol

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  5. Choice of 2....1st was using a huge 2 ton press, blanking out parts from sheets of metal, it was heavy, noisy, dirty and scary, the press went with such a thud it made the floor shake, 10 hour shift in a stuffy hot factory wearing ear protectors and awkward thick rubber gloves which made your hands all clammy, the main objective being to end the shift with the same amount of fingers you arrived with.....2nd, cleaning out a bain marie in a tiny red hot kitchen on a red hot summers day, trying not to wretch at the stench of murky water and the odd mushy rotting vegetable, bending over in my little black waitress uniform pencil skirt with one ear cocked for the lecherous `dirty old man` restaurant owner so I could stand up quickly and not be taken by surprise when he `brushed` by.

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  6. I have been lucky. None of the jobs I have ever been paid to do have been as bad as some of the ones that family ties have demanded.

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  7. Working as a veterinary technician in an intensive care unit: Bathing and blow drying a very messy recently euthanized dog whose owner was coming to pick up the body.

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  8. First day at a dubious '80's mafia run asylum' in S.France. Third floor. I was asked to clean up a pile of warm poo that a resident had just done. I gagged so much I was sick ... The next day they aksed me to work on the second floor, where residents were more sedate. I still have nightmares about that place. Well you did ask x

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    1. They should have taught you to squint and breath through your mouth ( see below) xx

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  9. Back in the 70's I worked in a large London hospital. I worked in Surgical Out-patients and attended the surgeons at their clinics. We routinely washed the instruments that had been used for examining patients namely: instruments for sigmoidoscopies and proctoscopes. We did not have gloves and they had to be washed very clean and then autoclaved. The instruments then went into packs to be used for the next patient. Not the easiest or pleasantest job. Love Andie xxx

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    1. I remember those days very well

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  10. 9 five year old children in my class (and latterly myself) with norovirus or similar in one day. Years later and I'm still traumatised. Whoever says teaching is a breeze will be handed a pair of rubber gloves/bucket and placed in similar situation.

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    1. Me too! I had a little 5 year old who shat himself in the boy's bathroom, got scared and flung his pants off making poo fly all over the place. I had to get him cleaned up, put him in fresh clothes and then his twin sister did the exact same thing in the girl's bathroom!

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    2. " oh what fresh hell is this"

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    3. I feel bad they got scared of poo and flung it away as if it was some alien birth.

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  11. Nothing physical or involving poo or sick but the worst work related thing I ever had to do was put a colleague on a train from Manchester to London to return home when an hour before she had received a phone call to say her son had been found dead in bed..I'll never forget the cry of grief from her.

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    1. Oh no...how awful and how sad

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    2. Libby that experience, however awful made you a better person

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  12. The daily grind of serving drunk people in pubs was pretty bad, then I remember that this is what Albert Pierpoint used to do when he wasn't hanging them.

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    1. Nothing worse than old drunks in a pub xx

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  13. When I was working as a bagger boy at a grocery store, I also had to clean some pretty shady-looking restrooms every night. I still have some nightmares.

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    1. Put the poo down...walk away from the poo!

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  14. I worked as a cleaner in an old people's home during one university holiday in the early 80s. I lasted two weeks and I felt bad saying I could not work there anymore but the manager said don't worry, most student cleaners never returned after the first day. I can't remember if gloves were supplied but I used to cycle home and hose myself down in the garden. Great to see the Prof in full graduation regalia. My son graduated a couple of weeks ago and it made me so happy to see all the young people graduating. The best day of the year so far.

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    1. We never used gloves in the early 80s when wiping bums in the psychiatric hospital i worked.....!

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  15. While working as an EMT in NYC had to remove the corpse of a man who had been hit by a train, it beheaded him and one arm was tossed quite a distance so he was in 3 pieces. And then there was the World Trade Center where I was assigned in the temp on site Morgue trying to ID bodies, I have many more HORRIBLE memories to work on coming to grips with. Burned out on that occupation after 6 yrs.

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    1. Sondra ... As usual i started this blog lightly, but am reminded by this, your reply ( and others) of the seriousness of the subject
      God bless you

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  16. Writing a letter of condolence recently to a volunteer at the shop whose daughter had died in a tragic accident was hard.

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  17. I called a client and told them that their dream home, that they had been waiting six-month for, and thought they would be moving into the next day, had been broken into and vandalized - repairs would take a month to complete. Then there was the house we built in the wrong place and had to tear down, that was a tough one to explain.

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    1. Breaking bad news, no matter what the subject is bloody awful

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  18. It's not as bad as the jobs above, but until my early 20'so I had managed to never handle raw chicken, until my part time job at Winky's Chicken. I handled a lot of chicken and skin...yuck.

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  19. It's not as bad as the jobs above, but until my early 20'so I had managed to never handle raw chicken, until my part time job at Winky's Chicken. I handled a lot of chicken and skin...yuck.

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  20. I used to work in the roughest pub in Norwich where I along with the owner did everything, cleaned shit from walls, threw out drunks, shagged him by the safe, loved every minute of it. The worst job? Typing insurance policies on a manual typewriter at Norwich Union in a typing pool and being paid on output and havibg to ask permission of Supervisor, who did nothing but watch us from a high chair, to leave the room to go to the toilet. I lasted a week.

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    1. Norwich-what a beautiful city-and a pub on every corner.

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    2. And Rachel with her knickers off x!

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  21. Mine pales in comparison to the others: being a busboy in a pancake house. I felt at age 19 that nothing could be worse than handling sticky plates and tables. I guess I led a sheltered life. I do remember several months of having to carry the pot of excrement from the bedside commode of my dying mother to the outhouse 50 yards from the house and then washing the pot afterward at age 16 and doing it all over again the next day, but that was not a job, that was a privilege.

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  22. I worked in a sausage factory and was transferred to the cookhouse. They sent me to a large walk in fridge and asked me to load up plastic buckets full of blood and pig guts onto a trolley and move them to the savoury ducks making area. I lasted ten minutes, the smell was horrendous, I came out of the fridge in tears almost puking. I got the sack because I couldn't do it. I got a job at a toilet roll factory the next day, much better.

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    1. My mind is boggling with all of these answers

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  23. As a young librarian in Sheffield, I was asked by my boss to have a word with another girl who had terrible BO.

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    1. Where in sheffield? I lived in walkley and hillsborough, both with sweet little libraries

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    2. I was i/c of Walkley Library around 1970, but this incident occurred later in the Central Library in town! Did you patronise my library?

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  24. Doesn't this sentence sound so wonderful? I'm am so proud of my husband.

    I would rather doctor and care for a dozen death bed animals than pick a sticker from a human hand. I don't belong in this world. I should be in a jungle alone.

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  25. Cleaning dentures !!!!!! XXXX

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  26. Worst job ever? I have two. First one in a chicken processing factory, where rows of dead, freshly plucked chickens swung along on an overhead conveyer type thing, (I don't know what they're called) we girls had to pull the guts out and drop them in big bins by our feet. I lasted half a day, quit by lunch time.
    Second was a commercial laundry where I applied and was shown the clean part of the job in the sorting and ironing room. When I turned up for work the next day i was put into the dirty sorting room where truck loads of filthy, stinking sheets, towels and tablecloths from hospitals and restaurants were dumped onto a conveyer belt and we had to quickly sort and toss them into the appropriate bins for washing. I didn't go back the next day, never even went back to collect the money I'd earned.

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    1. Dirty sheets.....i destest the smell

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  27. Working in a group home for mentally handicapped adults who had been somewhat neglected- brushing one woman's teeth, I about tossed my cookies twice a day for a while there!

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  28. dentistry. i'd rather work on assholes, at least they don't have teeth.

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    1. Hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

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    2. LOL! As a former dental hygienist, I have to say that some assholes do, indeed, have teeth! I've worked on many of them.

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    3. Texas! Fantastic comment

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  29. There's something so wonderful and touching about the prof calling names at graduation and you cleaning underwear in a sink.
    I never ever stopped heaving at changing my children's filthy nappies. A job? Of course it was.
    XO
    WWW

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  30. I volunteered at a hospital for about a year and did a lot of that kind of thing. I'm sure my stories would pale next to yours, but I remember cleaning up a guy's vomit. Then I learned that volunteers weren't supposed to do that, and were supposed to notify the cleaners to insure proper infection control procedures were followed. Oops!

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    1. I can hear the health and safety department screaming as i type

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  31. One was cleaning up a neat steaming pile of poo from the changing room in a charity shop. A child had left the gift and it's mum had departed the shop pretty sharpish without saying anything. I couldn't let one of my volunteers do that particular task. I had them spraying air freshener around the place. (Why is it easier to deal with your own kids shitty arses I wonder.)

    Another was breaking the news of a very popular mans sudden death after a motorcycle accident the previous weekend to everyone that phoned for him on the Monday at work. As he was the traffic controller for the company 9 out of every 10 calls was for him.

    We only found out the news ourselves as we arrived at work and had to immediately start answering the phones. The first day was horrendous and we all left completely shell-shocked, as the days and weeks wore on it got easier but each time was like a little twist of a knife.

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    1. I still hate breaking bad news, even though i must have done it hundreds of times

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  32. I'm lucky as I've never had to do anything too bad but two that stick in my mind are when I worked in a vets and was sent to collect a deceased dog, allegedly it had died a couple of hours previously. It was runny, we had gloves and a basket, bits of it were running through the holes in the blanket, and it stank, to high heaven.
    the other horrible job, I temped on reception in a housing society. It was a blazing hot summer I wasn't allowed a fan on my desk in case a client threw it at me. The housing officers wouldn't ake calls so I took all kinds of abuse from the clients. I was charged £5 a week to use the tap to get a drink. There was a stabbing in reception and my desk was covered in blood.

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    1. Was this in Dickensian london?

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    2. Nope, it was in Berkshire about 19 years ago, but the vet's was in Putney in the 1960's

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  33. Cleaning my brother's Viva out after discovering the source of the ripe stench that had permeated it for two weeks was four long lost pork chops festering under the drivers seat.

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  34. Cleaning a hotel room toilet after a Batchelor party. Oh gawd....NEVER again

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    1. Did you wear a space suit?

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  35. Assisting a developmentally disabled man who had a recent colostomy. The exposed tissue sloths off and he had much healing to do and the smell was horrific. You can't hold your breath that long and gagged much when changing the bag. But it wasn't his fault and I did care for him and did my best. Also giving a enema to another developmentally disabled man who had snuck a large bunch of bananas and was very constipated. And then the time another DD man ate a whole jar of hot peppers and had a very sore butt hole. Not much I could do to help him but he never ate hot peppers again.

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    1. Yes the old general nurse rule
      " squint and breath through your mouth"

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  36. Saturday job in Sainsburys in the 1970s. Boxes of broken eggs had to be sorted, so that the whole eggs could be removed and reboxed - probably a complete contravention of food hygiene laws even back then. None of the regular staff wanted to do it, so by the time I got to it on Saturday some of the broken ones had been there since Monday .... rancid doesn't describe it.

    You're a very kind and compassionate man, John. Your patients are very lucky.

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  37. The public restrooms at the bookstore where I work have a nasty surprise waiting for us almost every single day. Sometimes people go in there and (I shit you not!) finger paint the stalls with poo. Disgusting!

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    1. Ive seen worse believe me.....once a patient flub a turd down the back of my shirt collar

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    2. WHY???? Why would anyone write with their poo unless they were severely developmentally challenged and did not understand??

      John - Oh My God.

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  38. I'm a PR and was working for a luxury hotel in a famous holiday destination, where one of the guests, a beautiful young woman, was murdered. My job was to look after the distraught husband for most of the day after the murder. In the process, I also had to bodily remove an aggressive reporter who forced his way into the poor man's (the bereaved husband's) room. Talking to that devastated man the day after his beautiful bride died in a horrid way was the hardest thing I've ever done. They were on honeymoon. Enough said.

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  39. You have genuinely brought a tear to my eye, what a lovely kind thing to do for someone, helping them keep their dignity.

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    1. Pant washing doesnt make me cry

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  40. Nothing to report here :)

    I've always been aware I don't handle bodily fluids all that well, so my jobs have been chosen with care! (and I'm gagging just at the descriptions of a few of today's commenters)

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    1. Come live in our cottage and you'd be puking for Britain all day

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  41. I worked my way through school at a hospital. First in the kitchens and then as a lab tech.
    In those day when when a drunk driver accident came in we had to take a clean blood draw for the police. I usually got the call if I was working, I remember one man, blood everywhere with the ER Doctor, Nurses and Police. The blood sample was to be used in court, so no alcohol swabs. Lots of blood.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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  42. In a very different category than many of the above: Director of Diagnostic Medicine at West Seattle Hospital, a 150 bed hospital now gone. All people did all day was come to me and complain, day after day. It was my one venture into administration. I did it for 2 years and hated every minute.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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    1. Baby birds with their mouths open eh?

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  43. Washing dentures - even though I wear gloves makes me gag. Cleaning up waiting room after someone had number 2 accident and spread it far and wide. Lovely

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    1. Especially if there is some masticated food stuck on the roof of the denture

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  44. Chris has a pretty cool job there, so much neater and cleaner.
    Seems as if you have a chapter for your upcoming book, John, with all these gooey comments. ;-)

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  45. Telling a wife her husband was dead.
    I also have lots of poo, sick and other revolting tales but this was the hardest and most harrowing. You can wash the shit off but the pain on people's faces never leaves you as you probably know John. X

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    1. Well said my friend x

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    2. "You can wash the shit off, but the pain on people's faces never leaves you". How absolutely true - thank you for that.

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  46. For two weeks I worked at a factory that produced cardboard rolls, the hard ones inside a toilet paper roll. I was the only woman. I needed the money and I thought it would be a brilliant ethnological experience. I had just moved to Dublin and was going to be the biggest feminist ever.
    The factory was divided up in "stations". My nasal mucosa started to bleed after two days at the station where the silicone is added to make the cardboard bend and I fainted when I worked at the glue line. I was politely made to leave and took up a position as au pair to two total brats who picked up new swear words every day. Actually, that was my worst job.

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    1. The more stories i read the luckier i feel

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  47. Picture this... an outhouse in Alaska.. no electric, no running water. Teenagers think it's such fun to take a crap on the floor... place firecrackers in that pile then run like hell. The volunteers (such as me) go in the next morning and see the results literally hanging from the ceiling, the doors, the mirrors over the sinks... well... you get the picture. But you know, even that isn't as bad as working for a person who treats you as a lessor human being... I can take the gross crap, but I'll never allow someone to try to make me feel like crap.

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  48. When I was in my early 20's I worked in a nursing home which had the policy of not leaving their folks to die alone; they would pay employees overtime to sit with patients who were dying, if no family was with them.

    One evening a lovely lady, a former schoolteacher to whom I would read at least once a week after she lost her eyesight, had just passed and I was waiting for the DON to come to her room, when the woman's son walked in. He was so upset and crying so hard that he began vomiting, managing to liberally splash his mother's body, and when I tried to help him to the bathroom he rounded on me and gave me the worst black eye I'd ever had. Once they got him calmed down and out of the room, I cleaned his mother up as best I could; of course I forgave him... anyone would who'd seen the grief on his face.

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  49. Up until now, I haven't commented because I havent done any truly horrible jobs but it has just struck me that last time I attended a birth, I was elbow deep in a warm bath rubbing the mother's sacrum and (naturally) there was poo floating around for the last little while. It's a lot different to having to clean it up though

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  50. One summer when I was at university, I was a tobacco picker. I lasted two days! Took weeks for the nicotine stains to leave my hands.

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  51. Perhaps this is not the right time to come out of hiding, but I so love your stories,John.
    I believe in finding the fun side of life, so when asked to chaperone a dozen down syndrom adults on outing to Busch Gardens, of course i said yes. Keeping them all going in the same direction was a challenge, but to be told I was given the group that had seizures only after we all got off the roller coaster was just downright unfair.

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  52. Thinning neeps with a hoe in a field that stretched to the horizon. I deliberately made such a poor job of it that the farm foreman stopped me after a few hours and let me drive a tractor, and thus I learned a technique for getting out of unwanted tasks that I have used more than once through my many years: Just make a hash of it and you will be moved to something else.

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  53. delousing an Inuit who was drunk and homeless

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  54. Perhaps this is not the right time to come out of hiding, but I so love your stories,John.
    I believe in finding the fun side of life, so when asked to chaperone a dozen down syndrom adults on outing to Busch Gardens, of course i said yes. Keeping them all going in the same direction was a challenge, but to be told I was given the group that had seizures only after we all got off the roller coaster was just downright unfair.

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  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  56. Amongst the bad ones was the time I had to catch a rat that was running loose in the shop I managed. A New York City rat who'd entered via a door left ajar to the back alley. I will say no more.

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  57. As a young nurse in the "good old days" collecting, emptying and sterilising the sputum mugs in the TB hospital. The "sputum round", it was known as. Good times.

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  58. Without a doubt it was working in an intensive piggery. I liked the pigs but it was hell on earth for both of us.

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  59. I worked a HUGE beer & food hall for a renown bull market in CH. Think: Munich's Wiesn/Oktoberfest & add a full kitchen, many stier-selling Swiss dudes, and raucous locals looking for a good time. The shift was 13 hours long, the trays were enormous & the customers 'grabby'. We were constantly running out of cutlery, but we still had to run the food out. 'Go, take it! Go!' We servers buzzed around like dervishes while the manager & her cohorts chatted comfortably tucked away in the kitchen area. There were 80 tables filled with twenty, or more boozed-up patrons wanting everything all at once, and it sucked. (Did I mention that this all took place in Swiss German?)

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  60. Ok, I don't often tell people this, but, I was a chicken plucker at a chicken processing plant. On the days it would get over 100 degrees and the sweat was pouring off you, the feathers would stick to you. Not. Fun. But I learned the value of an education because I was sure this was not going to be a career!

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    1. LOL,same for me with the piggery! I came back to town and went to Uni. No more guiding pig plonkers or shoveling maggots for me! :D

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  61. I've read all of these and I can honestly say that the jobs Ive done involving cleaning up after elderly etc were just fine. I don't mind or care about that kind of thing - for me it's all about how one is treated. I've had a couple of jobs where on Sunday I felt sick at the idea of going into work the next day. one was teaching primary school - loved the kids but the parents and the school principal and board were just awful.

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  62. Peeling onions. Paid by the kilo. Cried for the first 15 minutes EVERY morning.

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  63. Worst job? Discovering that a sixteen year old girl had blatantly cheated with her English coursework and then having to tell her that she would therefore have her exam entry cancelled and then having to tell her parents that this had happened. Nobody wants to be labelled "cheat"... it's the kind of thing that is remembered forever.

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  64. Two of my worst was when I worked at a vet's. I had to clean maggots out of a terrier's arsehole. He was left outside all day with a bout of diarrhea. I couldn't face rice for 6 months. The other was an owner that let a dog go for 5 days after a due date to have puppies. The pups had quite deteriorated and we had to remove them from the mother. I had just switched jobs from another vet for that one, my first day.

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  65. I moved to a small Germann town called Hermann, Missouri. It was founded by Germans. It's wine, cheese and sausage little town now. I married young and two of my friends one the DON, Maryann worked in a local nursing home. I thought it couldn't be that bad. I lasted a few months. There was this patient named Marie, she was bedridden most of the time. We check them every hour and a half to two. I go in her room and she would say I think I stink. She's about 500 pounds. And it was a hot mess to clean up sometimes I would just take her down the shower. I wanted her comfortable and clean and even though I didn't like, I liked her. I fell in love with so many of the patients I made them smile and they made me smile. One day came, I just couldn't do clean adult poo anymore 😐 Went back to my old boss, and I got my job back.

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  66. Rotten Potato Poker. I studied plant diseases, including those that cause potatoes to rot, with goal to prevent said rotting. Had to experiment with different preventatives, put potatoes in ideal rotting conditions, then evaluate. By "evaluate", I mean feel all over the potato to estimate the % of rot. So, with gloves, poke thousands of rotten foul-smelling tubers and try not to hurl. Did this for a whole summer, along with a suffering visiting scientist from Peru.

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