I’ve made some poor decisions in life. One time, for example, I broke up with a girl right before our movie plans. How was I supposed to know she’d still want to watch the film? Most awkward movie experience ever.
But, I have to say, few poor decisions compare to some of the jobs I’ve worked. Here are three terrible jobs I worked to help pay for college and why you should consider other options before you end up at one of these jobs.
Job #1: Grocery store bagger
When you’re 18, grocery store bagger is one of the only jobs you’re qualified for. But after you’ve done it for a while, you realize you’re probably more qualified, or at least more intelligent, than a majority of your customers.
First, you get asked some of the most stupid questions:
- Do you work here? (Nope, I just think aprons with grocery store logos are fashionable.)
- Can you not smash the eggs? (Shoot, my evil and subtle plan to smash your eggs is ruined.)
- Can I have your phone number? (Okay, so that never happened. But I assume it’s because mopping up puke cancelled out my unbelievably good looks.)
Then, as you’re taking a breath of relief as they’re exiting the store, they leave one last mark:
- Pushing a big cart into a small cart return, causing it to get stuck.
- Five cent tips (Not the 1930s anymore, darling.)
- Someone spilling soda down an entire aisle (Impressive, considering it’s sometimes just one individual soda can.)
While the job caused me to lose my faith in humanity, at least it helped pay for my first two semesters of school.
Job #2: Telemarketer
I’d first like to say: telemarketers are people too…before and after work. Trust me, during work, you may as well be a subway rat in New York City.
I did this job during my first summer home from college, and at first, I loved it. I was the youngest there and one of the most successful. I could convince the poorest, most uninterested person to book a hotel in Hawaii in merely minutes. One time, I sold three vacation packages in the first hour (people referred to me as a prodigy).
But after a while of being cursed out (one guy said I was the scum of the earth) and threatened (I don’t know how they’d track me down, but they assured me they would), I no longer cared about $1,000 bonuses.
A few months in, I began wishing I had asked for SAT help during high school. That could have led to some sweet scholarships and prevented all the death threats.
Job #3: Christian bookstore clerk
When you work at a Christian bookstore, people think you’re a “super Christian.” As if God himself interviewed you for the position and only selects the most holy and well-versed employees for his company. I can tell you firsthand nothing could be further from the truth.
I would get customers telling me lyrics to a song and asking me to name the song and artist, and to point out where in the store their CD is. Dude, just because I work here doesn’t mean I’ve heard every Christian song ever recorded. Some customers would ask my opinion on books and how it compares to the authors’ other books (which, of course, I’ve read all ten).
Lying in a Christian bookstore felt worse than lying at other jobs. But sadly, it had to happen. Like when one customer went on a rant about how Christians should never attend secular schools. “So,” he said to me, “where do you plan on going to school, son?” I told him I was deciding between a couple of Christian colleges in Los Angeles (and also played along with him thinking I wasn’t already in college).
But, you know, Christian businesses need to make money too. So they have sales tactics, such as urging employees to upsell customers. Boy, let me tell you: convincing someone to buy a certain translation of the Bible is difficult. Umm, it’s more accurate? Wait, no, that’s not right. It has pictures? Nope. It’s the translation Jesus would read if he were still here?
The bigger picture
Sadly, it’s too late to go back to high school, find a tutor, and score a full-ride somewhere. But that’s okay. Working awful jobs leads to stories, character and tiny paychecks. And at least you’re paying for school, even if it’s by doing non-preferable and looked-down-upon-by-even-the-lowest-of-individuals things.
What about you? Have you done any horrific or terrible jobs to help pay for college?
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