Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dirty Jobs

OK, we’ve already confirmed that I’m a lucky bad-ass.

Even in my job, I think I’m pretty lucky. I work with people I like for the most part, and the work that I do translates into good things for the community.

But I wasn’t always so lucky in my professional pursuits. My first two jobs were the worst.

The first job I ever had was sorting through people’s nasty clothing at Goodwill. My sister-in-law worked there, and my Dad talked her into getting me a summer job there. He later told me that he helped me get the job so I would be convinced that I needed to go to college. I was convinced after the first hour there.

My job was to sort through huge crates that came in, to find clothing that was suitable to sell in the store. This meant that it had to have no stains, or holes or rips. Trust me, VERY little clothing that we got in those crates was salvageable. And it wasn’t just clothes. You would not believe the horrible things that people “donated” in those crates. Chicken bones were one of the least disgusting things, if that tells you anything. One time, we saw a pair of child’s underwear with poo in it. That was lovely. Then there were the times when an entire crate would come in stinking of ammonia. Why on earth would people donate pee-stained clothes? Or else they were peed on by someone after they were donated. Yikes! Either way, those crates went right into the garbage.

So we had to stand there all day, digging through these dirty crates, never knowing what we’d find in there. Oh, and everything was so dusty (and I’m allergic to dust), so I had to wear a dust-mask all day long. Man, I hated that job.

Then, in college, I worked one summer as a housekeeper on campus. (People would stay in the campus townhouses for a couple of weeks at a time. I guess it was cheaper than getting a hotel room.) That job convinced me that I do not like to clean up after people. (Yeah, my future kids are always going to clean up after themselves. Always.) I remember one time that I picked up a half-full can of Mountain Dew. I went to empty it into the sink, and gobs of chewing tobacco dribbled out. The smell was even worse than how it looked—I started gagging and almost threw up.

Man, I’m really glad I went to college.


Donna said...

I think thats the problem with most teenagers these days. Too many parents (and I work with a bunch of them) say that they do not want their kids getting jobs in high school, they would rather have them concentrate on their schoolwork (or sports if its summertime). How are they going to learn the value of actual work? We did not have a choice. If we didn't have a job, we didn't have access to a car (let alone our parents buying us our OWN car). Not that our parents neglected us - I consider myself spoiled. None of my friends had wheels. I NEVER took bus anywhere. I have panic attacks even thinking about it. I can ride the L -- thanks grampa!!
You dad gave you the best gift - a work ethic. Seems hardly anyone knows what that is anymore.... and I work with some of them too.

Lorraine said...