What Not to Be When You Grow Up

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It was a not-so-glorious Saturday morning at the DMV. So what better time to crack open Crap Jobs: 100 Tales of Workplace Hell? (Civil Servant, in case you were wondering, is ranked #9 on the list).

Remember that summer you spent as a dog walker, candy striper, groundskeeper? Well, multiply it by nine hundred and you are getting close to the hell experienced by the contributors to this book. Crap Jobs collects one hundred tales from survivors of some of the most deplorable jobs around. From the maggot farmer who needed to wear waders into the ‘worm pit’, to the rodent exterminator who had no tools to work with but a hammer, the stories collected in Crap Jobs are often gag-worthy, begging the question:

why would anyone ever want to read this book?

While not a book for the faint of heart (or probably kids under the age of 18), Crap Jobs does provide a rather unique look into workers’ battles against soul-crushing tasks, with doses of humor and unpredictability thrown in. The tales of woe are written by everyday Joes and Jills, so while the narrative is at times jolting, (and cursing is a device too often relied on), the tales are regaled in a way reminiscent of your friends’ funny party anecdotes. Intermixed with the tales of the telemarketer and tampon factory cleaner, facts are provided about how the United States is one of the worst countries to work in when it comes to vacation time, overtime, sick leave, and income. This gives the book, whose tales all occur in Britain, an odd balance (not to mention a depressing note for its American readers).

At times, it isn’t the job per se that’s the problem, more so it’s the people with whom you’re stuck working. Some of the jobs listed – Freelance Magazine Editor, Broadcast Executive, Model – are not ones you’d immediately classify as crappy. But then the sexual harassment or regular intervals of humiliation are revealed, showing that those dreams jobs often held in high esteem are not always as glamorous as they seem. Then there are just the oddities, like the factory worker whose colleagues robbed stores on the side and proposed holding up the place where she held a second job as a cashier. “But we might have to rough you up a bit to make it look believable,” they explain.

Yes, Crap Jobs has some of the worse stories you will likely ever hear. There’s no sugarcoating it, (except maybe in the tale of the Pie Hole Maker). Whatever you do, don’t read it before you go to sleep, because you will likely be haunted long into the morning and not get out of bed for work. “Your job could kill you,” one of the trivia tidbits notes, and once again, depresses you. Neither should the book be read straight through. It’s meant to live on your coffee table, to be delved into in doses. One can only take so many cringe-worthy moments at a time.

Despite these conditions, Crap Jobs might just be the perfect gift for your unemployed friend who’s down on his luck, or for that friend who is constantly complaining about the littlest things at her job. Let her see what it’s like for the Phone Sex Operators of the world (Crap Job #1).

Have you read Crap Jobs, Modsters? What’s the worse job you’ve ever held?

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3 Responses to What Not to Be When You Grow Up

  1. Emily 12/02/2009 at 1:17 pm #

    Ewwww…..maggot farms…

  2. Tori 12/02/2009 at 6:12 pm #

    I think lice picker should be on the front cover. That job would definetly suck.

  3. Reagan 12/04/2009 at 1:43 pm #

    OMG!!!!! That would be a stinky life!!!!!!

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