Category Archives: bad jobs

Pop Culture Careers: But I don’t wanna be a Pirate!

I think we all have our dreams of what we would really do if we had unlimited time, resources, and could get out of our own way. The alternative to the 9-5, clock-in, clock-out, wax on, whack-off routine we often surmise is periliously close to insanity while in a world full of inept managers and co-whacker sycophants. Instead, we sit down at night, and maybe check out what our alter ego lives might be – if we understand those boobs aren’t real either, and their acting chops aren’t necessarily all that. But these are a few of the work situations I wanted to be in for a while:

Lawyer. It isn’t very droll to be a man of the law. To seek out the truth, Perry Mason style, and get your killer to breakdown on the stand in front of millions of people. But Raymond Burr did it for a long, long time – longest in history. He did it so well, that the Oz man (Ozzy Osbourne) cut “Perry Mason” in tribute.

Who Can We Get On The Case?
We Need Perry Mason
Someone To Put You In Place
Calling Perry Mason Again, Again

ER Doctor. There’s a long history of putting medical shows on the tube – to increase awareness of how hard these people work, and their lives on the front lines of tragedy, technology and dating gymnastics. As shows go, I liked ER the best. Supported by a real life doctor, Michael Crichton, who seems to be nearly a success at everything, including techno thriller writing, ER has finally ran its long course, long after “The Clooney” (right) parted for mega money, power-ball style on the big screen. (Michael Clayton…gotta see. Leatherheads, well, I might be interested. ) But the role of doctor on this show usually involves using some fast action to keep a patient flopping, and then later, some horizontal bopping with a very smart, but seemingly unaware of the doctor tango, nurse or nurses. Granted, it keeps the show on the air, since sex sells, but are all ER Doctors, that interested in the female anatomy of their coworkers? (Since I’ve seen some not so pretty nurses…)

Medical Examiner. I want to say Quincy, M.E. was the first of his kind, TV wise. The crime fighting examiner of the after the crime took place was CSI before really cool technology was around. I was only a young kid, but I thought Jack Klugman was pretty cool doing his due diligence in actually getting to the bottom of a situation. He was an ass chaser too – not that that should be a perk – but that was only after he got his man or woman.

The corporate clog. Yes, this is what Uncle Sam and the Illuminati want us to be. The good ole push-the-broom, run-the-copier-machine, type until carpal tunnel takes over worker bee that keeps the taxes flowing in and the misery flowing out. Where a feudal lord at heart never gets too upset to see his peasants doing the tasks assigned to make the coinage come in. Working was a TV show that I related to in that sense. (Since I was just starting out on the Road to Never-Do-Wellville.) This comedy made so much sense to me…that it probably meant I had no cents. (Or sense…)
But Devo had a nice revival on the TV Theme Song, “Working in a Coal Mine”:

Well I been workin’ in a coal mine
Goin down down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew about to slip down
Five oclock in the mornin’
I’m up before the sun
When my work day is over
I’m too tired for havin’ fun

It is not that I really wanted to be a corporate clog…but it is so easy to slip into that little drainage ditch of society. We breed and teach this at an early age, the whole, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Tons of books on it too. I read some of them. Learning about Flight Engineers, Astronauts, Firemen, Lawyers, Business Managers, Baseball Players, etc. On CNBC, they have a show called the Millionaire Inside where a rich real estate lady pretty much summed up the idea that people were indoctrinated to work for betters, for the good of their will and their ideals from almost birth. We are educated that way.

And lo, what light through yonder window breaks, but your ass working for THE MAN.

So when asked again, “what do you do for a living?” Say, “I’m a Pirate. I cut throats for me gold and don’t serve any master.” (Then, prepare for the committal to your local Bellevue mental ward.)

But you could just say, “I Don’t Wanna Be a Pirate!” and go on watching TV and pretending you are not just another bee in a hive. And Uncle Sam will check his numbers, and see, that yep,
134, 567, 891 people are slogging away on his fuedal farmGotta love Capitalism!

Devo’s song:


Your Last Day & Dirty Jobs: What you would do & what have you done

I was posed a question about what would I do if I had only 24 hours to live. Off the top of my head, these ten items came to mind:

Do all the things I never have done due to fear or some hang up externally or internally.

1) anything enjoyable or risky. If you got little experience in taking risks, why not use that last day to accomplish it. It is amazing what you’ll do in a time-compressed situation.
2) tell people off that deserve it. There are a select few people I would love to bang on before I pass. I wouldn’t go out of my way, but if I had a personal assistant who could track them down, then yes, tell them to get ready for a haunting they’ll never forget.
3) go skydiving. Nothing like terminal velocity to wake up the senses inside you as you cheat death at least one last time.
4) make love. It’s a given with me, the amount and quality of that particular activity has been crappy. Paying for it or hoping at least one lady actually finds that to be an activity she likes, would make for good going-to-death present.
5) eat great seafood. Something about the oceans’ catch is more pleasant that a cheeseburger, and healthy for you too. Maybe some blowfish or exotic fish would be a plus.
6) say goodbye to a few friends. If they could understand it was done in a short fashion, I would be also happy to go play a baseball with them, to do something else enjoyable.
7) Watch a sunset by the ocean. Never been to the Pacific…would like that.
8) Fly a plane. After making love mile high style, flying a plane would be pretty tight.
9) Give all my money remaining to a down-on-his-luck person. I assume that my immediate family will be long gone. I also assume my remaining cash is substantial…
10) Kiss the woman I love before I die. I assume there is a one woman to love. She might be the mile-high darling that sends my dreams to the moon on a frail light beam of everlasting hope. Let it be.

Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel is a pretty fun show. Mike Rowe is the host. (See right.) And it reminded me of the dirty, fortunate, and crappy ways to make a living…
  1. Newspaper carrier. Did that first at age 12. It was a good after school job, except when it rained, snowed or got cold, which was a lot. The tips at Christmas made it worthwhile and the fact I had more of my own money that 95% of my middle school companions. That was then..
  2. Mowing the Public Library. My grandmother cleaned the library for 20 years. She was usually there on Weekends to straighten out the place. So, I got to mow the 1-acre lot with a push mower, and go inside, chill and talk to her. Once I got to College, that ended.
  3. Cleaning horse stalls, painted fences and feeding the horses, etc. I spent a summer working for a local bigshot. My grandmother cleaned their house. Nick Rudge was an interesting sort…He allowed me to drive without a license/permit his big, new Suburban. (He had an expired license.) He never was uptight about anything. “Don’t you worry about the police?” I asked in regards to my driving. “Not if the police chief wants to keep his house…he’ll listen to me.” (Nick was the former Bank President.) He paid well – $50 per day in 1987 dollars was big time cash for a 15-year old. And we took those 1 1/2 lunch breaks. Too bad he passed away in 1988.
  4. Dishwasher. “High-end” Italian Restaurant. 150 person Banquets galore. Cheap boss. 9 months of bad operations, late nights (past 1 AM at age 16),OSHA violations and (in his case) drug-laden leadership. I quit on a Friday night with 2 banquets expected…I enjoyed that Friday.
  5. Grocery packer. Not a bad gig usually. Plenty of attractive cashiers, a few dates, plenty of chaos on Saturday. Got stuck doing the cleanup of the joint at night: facing aisles, mopping the aisles, cleaning the carpets, taking reusable bottles in the back, etc. College intervened – so I went to the next level of dead end jobs.
  6. Grill Cook. Hardees, Burger King and Taco Bell (Hell). I did them all. Not that there is much to them, except for the greasy feeling you always have and the uniform that smells like a bad batch of fries.
  7. Clerical Assistant. Work Study for 3 Ag Econ Professors. Did mailers, fliers and sorted out countless files. One Professor enjoyed my library research skills so much I spent most of my time doing his tracking down of books for articles. Purdue has about 15 seperate libraries –at least then — so items were never exactly in the right places. Another professor liked to violate copyright on a regular basis, as I copied nearly an entire book, 200 pages, for his 12 graduate students to have for free.
  8. Inventory Analyst. My boss was 1 year older and knew EVERYTHING. The company was bleeding money, didn’t have a Bill of Materials and put me on some really worthless tasks. (Like taking 34×76, 36×80, 36×82 storm doors, right and left, crossbuck, white and brown and moving them to a back area on a dolly. 520 doors later, they decided to move them again. I quit after 6 weeks.)
  9. Industrial Engineer. First real job. Enjoyed the pay — sometimes — the hours were not all that. (60 hours+) Between the politics of management & labor, you get the fight the good fight of highest efficency at the lowest cost. Design facility makeovers, time study some boring operations, create labor standards, cost analysis of assembly area/logistic operation and plenty of dragging of feet by whomever thinks your job is to ruin their lives.
  10. Line assembler. Part-time job I had at a computer center to make more cash. Wasn’t bad, but they had goofy policies.
  11. Janitor in Prison. That was my job. To clean the head, mop floors and wax the main lobby in the holding area. Not at all sane and normal. Cleaning supplies? A joke. No one cared but the guards that got uptight and chew out if things were out of sync. Nothing like mops in the hands of offenders that have a penchant to break them for other uses..

    All total, I would say I’ve had 20+ different positions. Some only lasting 3 months. Longest: 27 months. I worked in a -20 degree warehouse, and picked cases to test labor standards. I walked around a Foundry for a few months…that’s a dirty air place.