What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

May 27

That’s one of my favorite questions to ask people. I like to hear about the worst work experiences people have had… I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I have had some terrible ones and it’s fun to swap stories. I’ve been thinking about a “group writing project” around this subject for a while now- let’s share our worst jobs for a little amusement. I’ll get us started, and then you post a link in the comments to your worst job story on your blog and I’ll start a little list at the bottom of this post. Or, you can just share in the comments area if you like. I’ll get us started:

My worst job ever has to be the paper route I threw for a year in college. It was the Dallas Morning News and it had to be delivered in the middle of the night. I would get up about 2am, go to the place where the papers were delivered, roll them, bag them and load them up in my 1979 El Camino and take off. I had about 180 papers on the weekdays and about 250 on weekends to deliver in neighborhoods and apartments. I would finish about 4am and get home to sleep for a couple of hours before I had to get up for my 8am class. On the weekends it took longer because I couldn’t get all the papers in the pickup and had to go back for a reload. Those suckers were HEAVY on Sundays- 7-8″ thick rolled up. It was a challenge to get them from out the car window and up onto the yard, or up to the 3rd floor landing at the apartment complexes. The worst times were when it rained and I and the car would get completely soaked, and/or when it was cold (about the coldest it got in Denton, TX was in the upper 20’s). You can’t roll papers in gloves, so my hands froze. The pay was also pretty bad. Every once in a while I was able to get someone to help me out and do the driving. I would sit ensconced atop the giant pile of newspapers and yell “turn right!”, “take the next left!” etc… I’m sure it would have been an amusing sight for anyone who looked out their front window by chance at 3:30am!

I had a couple of other terrible ones in college, including teaching voice lessons to 7th grade boys who didn’t want to be there and whose voices were changing, and temping in a 2nd shift job at a place that made little rubber pieces for cars in the middle of the summer in Texas with very little air conditioning. I don’t regret having any of these jobs though. Doing things like that and sticking to it gives you a much better perspective when things don’t go quite your way in the cushy job in the cubicle farm. It could always be worse. Much worse.

Here are some others who’ve had some terrible jobs:

Katelyn at WorkinginPJs.com


  1. Here’s my worst job:
    I know what you mean about paper routes, though. I had one growing up and I hated delivering in the snow or rain.

  2. Laura Cloud /

    I used to infect guinea pigs with Chlamydia (a sexually transmitted disease). I also had to take blood samples from mice that I had infected with Chlamydia. You can only get two blood samples from a mouse because you have to stick a capillary tube behind their eyeball to get a sample. After the second sample, you have to euthanize the mouse. Oh, and I almost forgot the vaginal scrapings I had to do from the guinea pigs! I sure hope you don’t have any PETA readers, Randa.

  3. That newspaper job of yours brings back memories: I had a similar position with the Charleston (SC) Post-Courier back during the 1980s — it was the worst eleven months of my life!

    I had about 400 newspapers daily and over 500 on weekends. During that time they also had an evening paper so I would split my sleep into shifts in order to deliver both editions.

    You can imagine what that type of schedule does to one’s life, never mind the wear and tear on the vehicle. Although I have had some lousy jobs since, nothing comes close the the “adult carrier” position.

  4. Flurrzah /

    In an office I had a terrible boss. She had me trying to file about 8 large heavy boxes of files, into crammed cabinets with no room. The whole place had no order, and none of the other girls would help do it. We were only paid $7.00 an hour, full-time, no insurance or benefits. We had to work 8 1/2 hours, for our lunch break. BUT we couldn’t take one. We were TOLD, 1/2 hr. lunch and two 15 min. breaks, we were allowed none! If we went to use the bathroom, you’d have to find somebody in another dept. to watch the phone line, and they’d gripe about you going. And we had to bring in our own items, like pens and such because the company was small and they were too cheap to supply things for us. Yet the bosses would take our stuff and use it. I went so broke working there I HATED IT!

  5. brett /

    I totally agree! I just got a paper route job in Tucson about five DAYS ago and i’m already making plans to leave!!! It’s AWFUL! My life is being turned upside down and it’s all a half-remembered haze of sleep, eat and work. I would quit based on that alone, but with no days off a week this job is screaming at me to leave. I will lie on every subsequent job list and not even list this one, it will be the shortest job i’ve ever had.

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