How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed…brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
– Charles Bukowski, “Factotum”
A large portion of finding our place in this world revolves around finding the right job.
Most of us, unfortunately never seem to ultimately find “the right job” and instead we have to make do with what we get. Personally, as the creator of the world’s original Online Alarm Clock, I too, have experienced the pain that comes from not having or even knowing what the right job for me is. With this is mind, here’s a short list of the different kinds of jobs I’ve held in my life. I’m sure that many of you can relate…
- Cleaning tables at a combination Buddhist bookstore and cafe (those Buddhists in Boulder were cool people)
- Working at an ice cream store (after a week, I couldn’t eat that stuff any more)
- Working in the warehouse of a large furniture store (hanging out behind the scenes)
- Working as a “trainee” at a large insurance company (I left that job after two weeks. I didn’t want the Yuppie career path. :D)
- Working as a “bus boy” at many different restaurants in NYC
- Working as a freelance advertising copywriter (Chicago)
- Working as a full time advertising copywriter (fired from that one!)
- Working the night shift at the reservation desk of a seedy hotel
- Writing mail correspondence, answering customer questions at a mutual fund company (I just stopped showing up)
- Working as an office assistant for a producer of art videos (that boss was very weird)
- Creating coffee drinks for customers at many different cafes (how do you like your latte? Well, I don’t care…)
- Working as a bartender (I was my own best company)
- Working as a cook at a Catholic retirement home (those nuns were actually very nice to have as my boss)
- Working as a manual laborer and construction worker for a temp service (ouch)
- Sorting garbage at a recycling plant (the night shift! ohhhh, the smell of it)
- Working on renovating old apartments (removing ten layers of old wallpaper by hand with a spatula-like device; just doing nothing when the boss wasn’t around)
- Sorting out non-wood on a conveyor belt at a wood recycling plant (sawdust in the ears, eyes, nose, etc.., despite goggles and face mask)
- Teaching English as a second language (cute young groupies)
- Working as a web developer (my first really fun job)
- Working as an online marketing manager (good work if you can get it: requires no heavy lifting)
And you know what? The truth is, I’ve probably forgotten several jobs along the way, in the process of writing this down, and have inadvertently omitted a few jobs from this list. No matter…I trust that you get the idea. And, looking back, I regret nothing. 🙂
Having had all of these different jobs in my life, however, is probably responsible for my recent fixation on the subject of work, as you can see in previous Infographics instructing people how to sleep on the job, as well as how to get away with being late for work, that could hopefully help a few of you if you’re ever forced to explain yourselves to your boss.
But my fixation with the subject of employment is not new, as you’ll read below…
Long before Online Clock was created back in 2006, the creator of the world’s original online alarm clock website lived a previous life as a (more or less failed) writer. We’ve mentioned this a couple of times in posts like these.
Although much of what he wrote back then should perhaps best be used to line the bottom of bird cages, there are a couple of things he wrote that are halfway decent.
We’ve decided to highlight some of these writings in the form of a new series of posts here on the Alarm Clock Blog. The first installment in this series can be found below. Let us know what you think of it via the comments form found at the end of this post! In addition, feel free to let us know: what’s the worst or craziest job you’ve ever had in your life? How many different jobs have you had in your life?
The Unemployment Office – A Short Story Written by Online Clock’s Creator
A man walks into an employment office. He is naked with half-dead animals strapped to his chest with baling wire: half-dead chickens, cats, dogs, rabbits, raccoons, birds and rats are tied down to his torso in many bulky layers with the shiny black wire.
The man lumbers, with much difficulty, up to the reception desk and asks the woman behind it for an application. She is understandably startled but, not knowing what else to do, hands him a brown clipboard with an employment application attached to it. He takes it and goes to sit in one of the few unoccupied chairs in the reception area. The other applicants waiting there look up at the squirming menagerie attached to the naked man. Many get up immediately and leave, not even bothering to turn in their finished applications.
Just then the receptionist remembers that she forgot to give the man a writing instrument. “Would you like to borrow a pen,” she asks him. “No thank you,” he replies politely, “That won’t be necessary.” And he reaches down to his waist where he grabs the claw of one of the chickens strapped to his body. He brings the claw up to his face and bites off the tip of it with his teeth. Then he uses the blood oozing from it to fill in all of the information about his education, work history and references.
Once he has completed the application and signed his signature on the bottom line in chicken blood, the man gets up and gives it to the receptionist. She accepts the application, saying, “Okay, now it’s time for a little typing test” and ushers the man with the animals attached to his body over into a corner where several typewriters are set up. She says, “Now, when I say ‘go’ you will have five minutes to type the page in front of you…A bell will ring when your five minutes are up.”
“Go,” says the receptionist, and the naked animal-strapped man begins banging away at the keys in earnest, trying his best to type rapidly but with no mistakes. Things seem to be going well for him in the beginning of the test, and he begins to increase his speed with confidence. Just then, however, his concentration is upset as a shrieking and crying breaks out amongst the herd of beasts strapped to his belly. He pauses for an instant or so to pummel the half-dead carcasses with his fists. They quiet down at first. But then, as he restarts the test, they use their wings and claws and paws to hammer the typewriter’s keyboard. Before long the man’s test page is a mess of indecipherable errors and typos.
The bell rings and the receptionist says, “Time to stop, please,” just as she’s done at least two dozen times a day for the past seven years. The man is relieved. He stops typing and looks on as the receptionist prances over and removes the bespotted page from the typewriter’s carriage. “Oh, too bad–looks like we had some difficulties, didn’t we,” she says to the man in a rote attempt at consolation. Then she motions him and his animal brood back over to the waiting area. She tells the man that a placement counselor will be interviewing him shortly.
Twenty-five minutes pass while the man leafs through the ancient magazines scattered on the table in front of him. On two separate occasions various species of woodland animals, still not quite dead, attempt to bite persons seated in nearby chairs. One raccoon, too stupid to realize the difference in species, futilely attempts to mount a dead poodle. And, from inside the bundle attached to his chest, some creature breaks wind and then urinates against the man’s naked back.
Finally, a spectacled, schoolmarmish woman enters the reception area from the offices behind it and calls out the man’s name. He dutifully introduces himself, shakes her hand and follows her down the institutional carpeting to her office, where she inquires as to the nature of the work he is seeking. “Public Relations,” the man replies. And the woman interviewer says, “Well–We’ll keep you on file here…and we’ll see what we can do.” She gives him one of her business cards and walks him back to the reception area.
“Thank you very much for seeing me,” the man says, as those few animals on his chest which have not yet expired go “UGGGHRAAWWR!” in unison.
The interviewer opens the door for him and the man leaves, shutting the door on his way out.
An odor of wild game lingers behind him.