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Discussion in 'Jobs I Have Had' started by Lon Tanner, Sep 16, 2020.
Customer service for the electric company. Ugh.
Anyone ever clean a railway tallow tanker?
After the tallow is pumped out, the tanker needs to be cleaned. They leave the heat on so the leftover fat is still in a liquid form then the inside of the tanker has to be completely degreased and sanitized.
Directly after finishing the cleaning, one goes home and jettisons his or her clothing into the nearest trash bin and showers until there is no longer any hot water. When the water is finally reheated, one showers again and if needed, again all for $100.
I only did it once just to help out a friend and wouldn’t do it again for 5 times that amount unless of course, my friend came back from the dead and asked me to help out again.
I enjoy most any kind of physical work. And dirty work doesn't bother me, because you can always clean up afterwards and it feels good. The best part is you almost never have to take your work home with you. Sadly most physical jobs don't pay enough now to make a living, so you need two of those jobs.
The absolute worst "chore" I've ever had to do was putting up fiberglass insulation. I have a phobia about working with it. You can't wash that stuff off immediately. It has to grow out of your skin. It's mostly psychological. I know the itchy feeling won't kill you. But still...
The glass fibers irritate the skin; thus, long sleeves are needed when working with the stuff. But what about the very fine, airborne fibers? Did you wear a mask?
I'm right on board with that.
I used to install security and access control systems in office buildings, and they soon put me and another guy in the owner's old Ford Country Esquire station wagon (The Blue Goose, as we called it) as their first full-time service crew. I got a lot of satisfaction out of that, and there was never worrying about the work that was left on my desk. No two days were the same, I was out in the field, and I got to used my head and my hands. As you know, it's got immediate satisfaction and there's actually a conclusion to each task.
But like you said, the money is not there. It's almost as though we are compensated for torturing our psyche. The other thing that drove me to white collar work was knowing that if I were physically injured as a physical laborer, I could not earn a paycheck.
If I had it to do over again, I might be an electrician. I've had friends in the trades, and that one seems to be the one with the least amount of dirt where you can make decent money. I had a friend who was a plumber. He owned his own business. Those are stories that shall not be repeated. I'll just say he must have had the world's strongest immune system.
Haha. My youngest son signed on as a plumber's apprentice with his uncle's business. He lasted about 4 months; didn't have the stomach for it.
If nothing else, it will be a good frame of reference to have for whatever he does end up doing.
There are worse things than...
Those memories helped me survive a career in the corporate world....mostly.
He's a heavy equipment/crane operator. We sent him to a school in Washington state and he loves it. He's the "gotta be outdoors" type. He also has a scuba certification and is planning to learn underwater welding or something.
I can think of a few - but the hardest was Dairy Queen back in the 80's. Was between jobs in a small town, tryong to keep me and two kids afloat.
All day you only got a ten minute break- once. I made the worst sqigglies on top of ice cream cones. Looked more like someone sat on them. Fussed at alot about that. But the hard part came once we closed and swinging that industrial mop on the floors was a killer.
Did not stay long was just to hard on me.
However Lucille Ball worked for Dairy Queen and she too could not make the sqigglies on top. She was also fired.
Just amazing to look back, isn't it?
The things we did to survive, and the fact that we did survive.
I can't image the stress if kids are involved.
That part about family being hungry just reminded me of the times when I was first working with computers. We'd write the programs and then had to run the program. So some of the programs would run for 12-18 hours and you had to stay with it. So I'd go to work and spend my regular day on some other project and then stay overnight to run the long running program. When I'd get home after being up at least 24 hours, my adorable wife would insist that I have breakfast and then when lunch time cam she'd wake me for that too.
Worst jobs, for me:
1.) Data entry: Sit at a table, get stacks of papers, enter figures on a computer. I lasted until break, an hour and a half. Felt like ten hours. Went out to the parking lot, drove home. Finis! (I was 29.)
2.) Dog leash and collar factory: Sit at a work bench, get a leash/collar coming down the line, hold the piece under a press, stamp a metal band on it. I made it to lunch. Got on a bus, went home. (I was 16.)
I've worked over thirty jobs in my life, the majority being side jobs, as i grew my own businesses that led to my success. I enjoyed most of those jobs, in truth, but the two, above, were terrible, for me.
I suppose I should have expounded a bit on this. First, I am not a "people person," so being in customer service is not my forte. Second, people tend to believe that they can say or yell anything at some poor entry-level clerk, and they do. In fact, it's quite unbelievable how badly people behave. Third, the genuinely poor people who had their utilities cut off due to non-payment were heartbreaking and many times desperate. Just a downer of a job.
The two burly service guys who had the job of cutting off power and locking or removing the meter had unbelievable stories to tell. They were physically threatened, verbally abused, and even sometimes propositioned (lol) in attempts to keep the power on. They had some heart-breaking stories of big-eyed children living in squalor, and after that day, in the dark.
EVERYBODY depends on electric power, from have-nots to rich. Few ever imagine what it's like to live without it. Some experience that during certain activities such as camping, but not long-term. If folks really knew......they would not squall and bitch so much.
My wife & I lived without electricity (nor water, nor phone service, nor television) for a year, up in the woods of Northern Arizona. We did this of necessity: lost jobs, no prospects, 40 acres available with lots of trees for firewood, our only energy source. Difficult at first, learned how to haul 40 gallons of water twice weekly from town, Show Low, AZ, using 5 gallon plastic jugs. Used propane to run an old Servel gas refrigerator, Coleman gasoline lamp worked well on propane, hanging above our kitchen/dining room/living room table. Used wood-burning cookstove for eats and heat; 6700 feet altitude, zero degrees common. We built our own 16 X 40 foot cabin. Hand mixed and poured a concrete floor downstairs, living space was 2nd. floor.
Money was scarce, film cost money, only one pic exists, though poor quality.
Carpentry without electricity, just as in the early days......it CAN be done.
Quite a story, Frank. You should start a thread in the Diary section and put stories about all the homes you've built or restored in one place.
I am very well aware of how awful life is without electricity, though the longest I have had to live without it was a little over 2 weeks in September 2008 after Hurricane Ike. It was suffocating heat, muggy humidity, mosquitoes buzzing, food spoiling, pitch-black nighttime misery. I'm sure it would be terrible anywhere, but on the hot and humid gulf coast it was hell.
Oddly, after I worked for the electric company I also worked for a municipality in the water department. It was a relief to finally get out of the utility company jobs, but I had a whole new appreciation for what some people have to endure.