The best of jobs and the worst of jobs

Since it’s Labor Day, I thought I’d reminisce about some of the jobs I’ve had over the years.

Best gig: Mystery Author – even if the paydays can be a bit spread out (and paychecks, for most authors, on the thin side). I LOVE that I get to write books! Readers have been very kind, and I still get a lump in my throat when I see my books on shelves in stores and libraries. Plus, I’ve been lucky enough to connect with so many wonderful readers, bloggers, and other authors—including the awesome Chicks on the Case!

I also loved working as a reporter at several small newspapers—which is what I did for the better part of twenty years. Yeah, people occasionally phoned and yelled at me. But so many people shared their stories with me—and trusted me to tell those stories—which was a privilege.

source: pexels

Some less than dream jobs included:

Delivering phone books. If you’ve ever thrown newspapers, try tossing a phone book onto someone’s front porch!

Working the refunds and returns counter at a department store after Christmas. I didn’t mind being a cashier, but people come to the returns counter dissatisfied and out of sorts. I once even had a woman throw a mop at me. I ducked. I also quit that job before the next holiday season rolled around.

Summer job at a factory as a janitor. Wasn’t all bad – the pay was really good for a college kid. Also, I built up some muscles carrying buckets and large trash bins. And during orientation I received basic forklift training. So far, I’ve never needed to drive a forklift, but we never know what the future may hold. Downside: spent waaay too much time cleaning men’s restrooms.

Writing job in corporate communications. The pay was great, and I liked my co-workers. But the head of the company was a less-than benevolent despot who liked to hold video conference meetings with our department just to shout at us – about everything. And nothing. It wasn’t good for my blood pressure.

The one that got away: I guess you’d call it “mascot.” I actually turned down a summer job in high school which would have required me wearing a costume to promote a new business in my neighborhood. As much as I wanted the money, I was just too proud as a teenager to tell my friends that I had a job at Granny’s Fried Chicken, working as – a giant chicken!

So what was the best/worst job you ever had? What would be your “dream” job? Share in comments.

35 thoughts on “The best of jobs and the worst of jobs

  1. A giant chicken!! You’re a hoot!
    My dream job would be owning a small book shop, with room for yarn and a sitting area for book clubs or knit and knatter meetings. I would have a small coffee station/drinks area in the meeting room. While I would love this to be in England, preferably Cornwall, I wouldn’t mind it in a small coastal town in the US. I would love to have local authors come for book signings. I couldn’t even imagine how much fun this would be!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. No doubt – best job is author, even if it’s only part-time.

    My college job (working in a pool store) wasn’t bad. Hot, but that was only problematic when I had to work the warehouse. Current day job (technical writer) also isn’t bad. At least it’s writing and I get to work from home.

    Worst job? Definitely working mall fast food. Blech.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mystery author would have to be my favorite job at this point too, although I also enjoyed working with software systems and databases (my prior career). Worst job would be telemarketing. I can’t even remember what I was selling (American flags maybe?), just that I had to cold-call everyone unlucky enough to be listed in the phone book. I should have known it would be bad when the person who answered my call about the position was more enthusiastic about hiring me than my broke college self was about finding a job. I lasted one day.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. LOL, Vickie! I’m lucky that I’ve gotten to leave my dream jobs – writing for theatre, TV, and now mysteries. Worst job? Waitressing for three days at a chaotic new restaurant in NYC’s Citicorp building. And handing out menthol cigarette samples on 2nd Avenue wearing a styrofoam barbershop quartet-y hat.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Best job–mystery writer, natch.

    Worst job–working at a diaper service when I was in my early twenties. Yep, what you’re imagining is true. Though they did pay cash, and folding the clean diapers fresh from the dryers was actually kind of fun.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’d love to own a bookstore. Or get paid enough for my blog to live on comfortably.

    I also had a job where the manager liked to yell. And it was just in the middle of normal conversation. The pay was horrible, too. Fortunately, I was only there for a few months.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Maybe we should all pool our resources and buy a bookstore! We probably have enough books to stock it — not that I’m willing to part with any of mine!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right?! The only other thing I remember getting thrown at me when I worked the returns counter was a pair of socks! Happy Labor Day, Marla!


  7. The worst situation I was ever in wasn’t the job, it was the working conditions. I sat in an outer office between two offices occupied by a cigar-smoker on one side and on the other side a man who smoked Turkish pipe tobacco. I am pretty mild-mannered, but by the end of the day I felt like throwing the phone across the room I felt so abused. It caused me to change jobs and careers.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My sister worked at a shoe store & often was the mascot. She had to stand by a busy road holding a sign & wave at people as they drove by. Sometimes rude people would throw trash out their car windows at her as they drove past. The clown costume was the worst. It involved a lot of makeup that would melt off her face in the hot summer sun. Even tho you wore your regular clothes under the costume, multiple people sweated in those costumes & they weren’t laundered after every use. Very stinky.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Wow, we’ve had some pretty funny jobs! My fave (not counting writing or my publishing jobs) was moonlighting after-hours as a presidential-year phone pollster for NBC News–live from Rock Center! We had scripts for the surveys (Would you say you’d be very likely, more than likely…?). I rarely had anyone hang up on me–but unfortunately people loved to chat and I got paid per hour by the survey. I called zip codes in each time zone til 10 pm PST. Most enthusiastic poll-ees: Kansas! (“Edna! Guess what? NBC News is on the phone and they want our opinion!” How I miss the 80s…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yay, Kansas! Lisa, I’d say it’s sad to be excited about getting polled by NBC, but we were once selected as a Nielsen ratings family, and I’m still bragging. Like now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, these are so great! And YES…a Chick is way better than a giant chicken costume. ❤️

    I had some crappy temp jobs, like one where I had to drive to different supermarkets and count how many light bulbs were on the shelves…and another that consisted entirely of peeling off labels that said one thing and applying labels that said a different thing, all day long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Driving to different supermarkets to count lightbulbs.” Cynthia, you should list it on your resume as a top shelf job in the lighting industry that required travel!


  11. I delivered phone books-once. They loaded my car down with so many phone books it was scraping the ground. I’ve done the Census twice. That I enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. By the way, Vickie, too bad you didn’t take that job as a giant chicken, or you might have ended up meeting actress-turned-PI Dayna Anderson, who, of course, we all know did promotion for the Chubby Chicken chain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! Leslie, I hadn’t thought about the Chubby’s Chicken connection! But, I’m certain Dayna had a better wardrobe for those commercials. 🙂


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