Next weekend I go back to my alma mater to talk to college kids about jobs, specifically, jobs in my industry. At a time when the business I work in is shrinking somewhat—and hey, what business isn’t?—I still generally feel upbeat about it, and very fortunate to have a job. But going back to campus reminds me of all the weird interim jobs I did to make extra cash while I was getting edumacated.
There was a summer stint as an audiologist for public schools, where I tested elementary school kids’ hearing to see if they qualified for special ed assistance. There was a temp job for a labor union where I spent nearly a month sorting through box after box of death certificates, which was both tedious as hell and intriguing in a ghoulishly voyeuristic way: heart attack, heart attack, cancer, heart attack…ooh, lightning strike! There were a couple of college years where I led Saturday morning tours for prospective students and their families, showing off our picturesque historic campus and hoping there would be no puddles of Friday-night vomit outside the dorms. I nearly got fired from that job for my response to a high school senior who asked if there were any gay kids at my school because “I don’t wanna live with a lot of homos.” After college I went straight into the white collar grind, which has its upside—health insurance, air-conditioning—and its downside: eyestrain, stiff neck, too many meetings.
What’s your favorite or least favorite job that you’ve ever done? Gold stars awarded to the ladies (or gents) with the toughest, ickiest, or downright weirdest gig.