All adult world jobs are horrible. But they're not as horrible as those underpaid summer jobs we all worked when we were in high school and college because we were young, unskilled, uneducated, and desperate for cash. (They almost universally involved angry people screaming, unbearable temperatures, and being sticky at the end of the day.) People on Reddit weighed in about the worst summer jobs they ever had.
1. A user named p1tch was the weeder in the onion fields, which sounds like the name of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
My worst summer job lasted for a total of 5 days. I was a "weeder" for onion fields since the weed killer they used ended up killing the onions too. It was in the dead of summer, in Nova Scotia and the temperatures usually went between 20-30 degrees throughout the days I worked.
2. According to this now deleted account, the only thing worse than attending a summer festival is working at one.
Cleaning up after T in the Park (music festival) was pretty disgusting. Used toilet paper, untold number of bottles of piss, condoms and the like. Plus a bunch of idiots working with me, which meant that we didn't finish in time, the festival bosses wouldn't pay the waste company, who then wouldn't pay me. So didn't get paid until after many many letters, the death of the owner and the company getting put into liquidation.
3. This deleted user had quite the choice to make: burn from the heat or burn from the chemicals.
Sealing driveways was pretty brutal. mornings weren't bad, but once the driveway, black truck with black tank, and black sealer heated up, it was a recipe for pain. Lot of sunburn and dehydration. I couldn't deal with the heat in jeans so I wore shorts. flecks of sealer as well as rocks from using a trimmer and leaf blower were all over my legs. The sealer could leave mild pink/red burns from just being hot or purple chemical burns from the vapors as it dried on a really hot day. Really kept me motivated to stay in school.
4. Cylinsier had a job where the only thing worse than being left alone was not being left alone.
Worked at a cell phone booth in a shit mall in a tiny deserted town. Came in on the first day, was haphazardly trained by the boss who only came in once a week, if that, and was told the other co-workers would train me more thoroughly. Came in next day, was told by co-workers, "just tell customers to go to a different booth." Co-workers left. Didn't come back for a month and half, but were still getting paid. I manned booth essentially alone for 6 weeks with no training, sold maybe 2 phones because I had no idea what I was doing, and basically had the most boring job in the world. Finally, corporate HQ guy shows up one day, fires everyone else for incompetence, then brings in real training. Real trainee proceeds to sell phones to people who she knows live outside the coverage area and will get no signal for that carrier, assuring them that they will get coverage, lying through her teeth. I quit.
5. Farkingbrain provides a disgusting lesson about what it's like to work in a pizza parlor, and is sorry for ruining pizza for you forever.
For me it was working at a pizza restaurant. I was one of few people who had already turned 18 so I was able to operate the dough mixer legally. I would work double shifts making pizza dough. Two different kinds morning and evening. After 6 weeks or so the oil that I elbow deep in all the time had permeated my skin and even my hair. When dirty my clothes weighed about 5 pounds more than they did clean. Almost all of it olive oil.
6. User hairycarry picked off every piece of gum you damn kids ever stuck underneath a school bus seat.
Cleaned the inside of elementary schools buses. 5 days a week, all summer before college.
Scraped gum, mopped, wiped all surfaces, the works. We had to be so thorough we basically only cleaned one bus a day.
It got hot as shit in those things and bees were a problem
7. User zbeg learned a universal truth on the job: if you're gonna sell meat door-to-door, you're probably gonna get shot at.
Door-to-door meat salesman. I drove a refrigerated truck and sold steaks and seafood in the Colorado summers. Commission only. I lasted three days until a guy pulled a gun on me and told me to get off his property (I did miss his "no soliciting" sign, so I guess to him that made it okay). I didn't make a sale, and therefore I made no money.
8. Rest easy knowing your pet food is free of excess fat, because big_treacle scraped most of it off the wall back at the pet food factory.
I had a week one summer holiday from university where I had to sweep up dust and scrape fat off the walls of an animal food factory.
It was a 7 story building with machinery on each level. The raw ingredients go in the top, and pellets come out the bottom. It was incredibly hot (unbearably so at the top) & smelt bad. I had to start at the top and sweep the inch deep dust all the way to the pits at the bottom. Inch thick fat spillages had to be scraped off the walls.
My boss was a man who couldn't speak & could gesture and sort of grunt 'commands'.
9. Betcha didn't even realize corn had a pervasive smell until this story from blaisetheginger guaranteed you'll never get that scent out of your head.
It was when I detasseled corn. People from the Midwest will know what that is, but basically you get up at zero dark thirty at the end of the summer after waiting for weeks for a call, put on pants and long sleeves, and walk through miles of corn pulling the tassels off the top to avoid pollination. It starts off cold, dark, and wet, then the sun comes up and dries off all the corn, but you're still wet, and the leaves scratch you up, the dirt and dust and pollen get everywhere, and the smell of corn never leaves, no matter how much you scrub and wash your clothes.
10. A friend of mattyb712 had to ask people if they were dead yet, which is basically the same as being a doctor.
A close friend of mine worked for a local energy department one summer. Apparently they keep a list of homes with individuals on life support systems, so that they know these homes get priority in case of outages and they know never to shut off their power without warning, even if bills go unpaid. A large part of my friend's job was to call these homes one by one and ask if the person on life support was dead yet... Many calls were ill-received.
11. This job from a deleted user is like every weird Florida news story.
My worst job ever? Has to be the summer between sophomore/junior year of college (age 20ish). I was working in a trailer park in South Florida as the maintenance man's bitch. I wasn't even the maintenance man, I was his "assistant". Working full days outside in 90-100 degree heat with ±80% humidity.
I have nothing against trailer parks or the people who live in them, but the neighborhood left a bit to be desired. Hey crack whores: I was a 20 year old kid in good shape, why the fuck would I want to pay to bang you? I was approached by some of the foulest creatures you can imagine.
This wasn't a particularly good area (North Fort Myers, FL) so my boss always kept a gun on him. I was always looking over my shoulder making sure noone is creeping up on me or trying to steal my bosses truck/tools. That might have been the worst part. You'd get lost in your work and zone out then start to panic because you let your guard down and someone might be creeping up on you.
Then there's the actual work. We weren't normal maintenance men. The owner of the park would buy trailers at auction for next to nothing. These things would be destroyed: holes in the floor, ripped out piping/wiring, missing appliances, missing toilets, missing everything not bolted on and a lot of stuff that was bolted on. Our job was to rebuild these fuckers. Fix the holes in the floor, repaint, etc in the nastiest fucking trailers you can imagine.
12. If this is a contest, Rebel_guy wins because his job involved multiple hepatitis shots.
I uses to climb inside septic tanks and shovel the shit into buckets because the shit tank wasn't working perfect that summer. I was 14. I also got hepatitis shots before and after that summer. I was given no hazmat suit or anything. I wore my waiters and jeans.
13. You could've stopped at "slime line," nikosey.
I worked the "slime line" in a fish processing plant in Seldovia, AK for a summer. Boat comes in, dudes pull fish off, chop off the heads, slice them open, and throw them on a conveyor belt. I and 9 others stand there on the conveyor belt below in wet gear holding spoons attached to hoses linked up to pipes overhead. Water sluices through the hoses and over the spoons. You grab a fish, scrape the spoon down the spine to remove blood and other junk, and throw it back on the belt. 12-15 hours a day.
14. Unidan was a masseuse. A manure masseuse. For science.
Over the summer, my lab partner and I worked probably the most miserable experiment in history.
We were investigating cows in a wetland and while she was doing plant work, I was doing soil work. We were testing to see how the cows affected plant communities and soil processes. As part of an experiment, I wanted to see how cows pooping in a wetland would fertilize the soil, change nutrients, etc, so we thought 'hey, we should do a few plots that get cow manure put on them!' A little gross, but fair.
What we didn't realize was that to adequately "apply" the manure, it would need to literally be massaged into the ground and put around every single blade of grass. So we gathered two 55 gallon drums of FRESH cow manure that we scraped up ourselves and drove with in the back of our SUV to a scorching hot wetland in the summer and massaged it in by hand.
15. Apparently everyone who ever lived in a college dorm used the same ineffective life hack, according to user wisdum.
I had a summer where I worked for the college I was attending and my job was to scrub the dorm walls, for minimum wage, 40 hours a week. Room by room, floor by floor. I washed off soooo much toothpaste. Also, fyi, peole are dumb and would patch holes in their white walls with odd colored toothpaste including blue aquafresh. It was the most horrible job ever. Just a wet rag and scrubbing walls.
16. BigJDizzleMaNizzles shows us that working at IKEA is as soul-killing as shopping there.
I worked as a greeter in the IKEA returns department one summer. People would come in spitting feathers. "This fucking billy bookcase has one beige panel and the rest are all black." "My kid lost all the screws and it's all your fault." "This 8'6" sideboard won't fit into my Nissan Micra. How dare you sell something that you can't transport home yourself?" all I could reply with was "Welcome to IKEA. Take a ticket. " and point at a little box with 1,2 &3 on it for missing parts, exchanges or refunds. I was a 17 year old kid. I didn't know shit about billy bookcases. Most mind numbing, painful job I have ever had. Plus side though, free meatballs.
17. User billyK_ came for the 43-cents-an-hour wage, and stayed for the temporary homelessness.
I was 15, worked at a summer camp. I worked there for 2 years.
We had about 800 campers a week, but the first 2 weeks of the summer were always overcrowded, cause people don't know how to count. The second year I was there, they over-booked by about 400 campers. So the higher ups told staff "..so...yeah, you guys are gonna need to clear out of the staff cabins for about 2 weeks, so we can have places for all these people" Where are we gonna stay? "Figure that out yourself; you need to be at staff formation at 7 AM every day." We bought hammocks at Wal-mart, and hung out in trees for a month.
Oh yeah, the work/pay. Because they never really considered you off the clock, as an emergency could happen at any time, we didn't have the best pay. Starting price for working was $60 a week. We averaged out about $0.43 an hour.