Jobs I Would Never Want

As Squish gets older, I find myself contemplating what my next career move will be. Will I be a full-time writer? That actually gets paid regularly? Do I pursue something at the zoo for fun? I’m not sure yet. But I do know that there are some jobs I hope I’m never forced into.

1) Barista at Starbucks – I once took my coffee cup Edward to Starbucks. As I handed him over, the guy behind the counter looked inside and said with heartbreaking sincerity “Thank you so much for bringing it in clean!” I don’t want to know what he was expecting to see.

2) Children’s hair stylist – I don’t know how they do it. It takes me four days to get from this:

A little shaggy, yes?

To this:

Blame the caffeine in my bloodstream or the bounciness of a three-year-old boy, but every time, he ends up nearly losing an ear. It’s bad enough when it’s my own kid. I can’t imagine gouging a stranger’s child. Because I would still expect a tip.

3) Any kind of costume character – especially the ones that stand on the street corner and wave to people. There’s a business who does tax prep in my area that has someone on the corner dressed as the Statue of Liberty. Rain or shine. Because nothing says America like being squeezed for your hard-earned bucks by the IRS? The worst I ever saw was a poor guy dressed like a mattress. I am sure there have been a few misunderstandings.

 4) Janitor at Wal-mart – I have been in lots of soulless big-box stores, and I’m not sure what makes Wally-world so very special in this way, but on any given day, I’ll tip the doorman if any of the toilets are flushed. Raised in a barn? Go do your dirty business at Wal-mart.

5) Taster in a fast-food test kitchen – because if a taco with a shell made entirely of Doritos actually made it to market,  I really don’t want to know about the stuff that didn’t.  I’m pretty sure it’s nothing I’d want to eat.  Although if Marble Slab Creamery needs a taste-tester, they need only ask.

6) Electronics store employee – on Black Friday. I hope they provide decent life-insurance policies. I think I would rather poke rabid squirrels with sticks than deal with bargain-maddened shoppers.

7) Party host at Chuck E. Cheese – Unrestrained kids on a caffeine/sugar buzz. That I’m sort of responsible for. Where do I sign up?


76 thoughts on “Jobs I Would Never Want

  1. I’m not sure there’s a job out there that I really want to do anymore. I’m at the point of just wanting to stay home in my pajamas and not venture out except to garden or walk my dogs. I used to think that being a successful novelist would be the dream job. But even that’s fraught with distress. Hemingway, Sylvia Plath – they were miserable. Frankly, as long as it’s a job that involves other humans, it’s going to be occasionally or always filled with distress, stress and anguish, punctuated by episodes of shrieking and spitting.

    And for some reason, no matter where you work, there’s always one or two people among us who simply can NOT flush the toilet! They need an outhouse.

  2. When I was a teenager I had one terrible job – soda vendor at an amusement park. Then when I was in college I took a course in Beekeeping. I had more bee issues at the soda concession.

  3. I would take ANY of those over working in a call centre. Ok, maybe not the janitor at Wal-mart one but any of the others. Can you imagine sitting in a windowless office and having people hang up on you all day long? Or even worse, having them not hang up and then you have to drone on about the joys of double glazing. Aaaargh. My weekend job when I was in high school, working for the coat check concession at a restaurant where no one wore coats, or at least not coats they wanted to check, was the worst I hope it ever gets.

  4. I think my dad is probably one of the guys that barista was talking about. His coffee mug gets washed approximately once a month. If I try to wash it more frequently than that, he gets really mad.

  5. There’s a Statue of Liberty person in my town too. However, we also have two real “fake” Statue’s of Liberty. One of them is gold, and the other is at a vet’s office with dog statues around it.

    I kind of like the ones who hold signs outside of gold stores and play air guitar on them.

  6. I can’t find anything wrong with being a janitor, those people get to see more action than most of us, and they move like turtles, I can’t imagine breaking a sweat doing that job, as long as its part time.

  7. I could never work at Chuck E Cheese’s! I can’t pretend to be that perky. Actually, I can’t see myself doing any of the jobs you listed… really I could not see myself being a janitor at Wal-mart… but I would add that I think being a janitor at an amusement park may be worse.

  8. I suddenly remembered the worst job I ever had – working in a ladies shoe department of a major department store. Not only do you have to deal with touching other women’s feet (& they’re not all clean I assure you), but you spend a great deal of time running back & forth to the stock room bringing out a whole bunch of shoes for the woman to try on & then she doesn’t buy any anyway! Or she insists she’s a size 6 (when she’s actually an 8 or 9) & then complains because none of the shoes fit her! Then of course there are the darling little children who like to swing their feet while you’re trying to get them fitted & they swing them right into the end of your nose or into your mouth!

  9. Ohh… could I ever pick up the ball and run with this topic! Having spent most of my working life in a career indirectly related to manufacturing and the construction industry in the Northeast, getting laid off or having the company I work for go bankrupt, has been as regular an occurrence as each recession and new construction bubble that has burst in the last 30 years. I’m not sure I have the courage to blog about some of the odd jobs I’ve worked, while waiting to get back into my real profession.

  10. Hmm, not sure if I approve of your choice of name for the coffee mug. If he has its namesake’s properties, wouldn’t it be pretty hard for him to keep your coffee warm?

    I suppose as long as the name keeps YOU warm…

  11. A very dear friend of mine sent this to me in an email, knowing I needed something to lift my spirits a few days ago. It felt appropriate in this instance. 🙂


    When you have an ‘I Hate My Job day,’ (Even if you’re retired, you sometimes have those days)… try this out:

    Stop at your pharmacy

    go to the thermometer section

    purchase a rectal thermometer, made by Johnson & Johnson.

    Be very sure you get this brand.

    When you get home, lock your doors, draw the curtains and disconnect the phone
    so you will not be disturbed.

    Change into very comfortable clothing and sit in your favorite chair. Open the package and remove the thermometer.

    Now, carefully place it on a table or a surface so that it will not become chipped or broken.

    Now the fun part begins.

    Take out the literature from the box and read it carefully.

    You will notice that in small print there is a statement:

    “Every Rectal Thermometer made by Johnson & Johnson is personally tested and then

    Now, close your eyes and repeat out loud five times…

    ‘ I am so glad I do not work in the thermometer quality control department at Johnson
    & Johnson…’


  12. Haha, I was skimming through and thought these were jobs you *wanted* at first. The one that really stopped me us was the Walmart janitor, because you couldn’t pay me enough money to even step in one of those bathrooms!

    • They’re even more fun with small kids. Because kids want to touch EVERYTHING. We started teaching microbial theory to Squish when he was born in the hopes he wouldn’t want to touch anything ever again.

  13. How inviting is the job at a local Dominos?

    NATIONAL COMMERCIAL: “We recently had an employee at one of our local stores come up with an idea that our national science kitchen had never come up with…parmesan bread bites. Brilliant! They should make him CEO. (CEO: I don’t think so!)”

    Really…how many things can you find wrong with that company/job?

    • I can’t even imagine dealing with frou-frou people. Who can’t be bothered to wash their cups.

      ***disclaimer – I am in no way implying that everyone who frequents starbucks is frou-frou.

  14. I see the Liberty Tax person in their costume every day on the way home for work and every day I take pity on them.

    I used to dress up as the red robin at Red Robin in highschool. Surprisingly, I loved it because it meant I didn’t have to talk to the rude customers for an hour or two. Don’t get me wrong though…I would never do it again.

  15. You’ve got a great list here! Reminded me of the first job I ever had. In high school, I worked at a jewelry store in our mall and part of my job was to pierce ears. I HATED piercing the ears of babies, little babies! They would just cry and cry! It was terrible to know I was causing them pain. I get it’s something they don’t remember but I sure hated doing it.

    Oh, we’ve got the Statue of Liberty folks in my town, too. Maybe one of the worst costumed folks I’ve ever seen was one who was dressed in jail stripes, standing on the street advertising for a bail bonds company! I actually stopped my car and took a pic of that guy! LOL!

    Have a great day!

  16. Today I drove by someone dressed as Uncle Sam trying to wave people in to the tax prep store and I thought: who would be driving down the road, see that, and say, “yes, I’ll get my taxes done there right now” Does that sort of marketing really work?

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