My worst are not manual labor jobs, because by and large, it is some degree of honest and/or productive work. You MAKE something, even if it is
something of little value.
My own personal worst was this: Car rental agent.
Now, what's so bad about that? Well, the company (now bought by a competitor) made its profit off of the optional insurance that gets sold to people
when they rent a car. It was the agents' job to "persuade" the client to take the insurance.
It was like living in a cross between "Wall Street," "Boiler Room," "Office Space," and "Glen Gary, Glen Ross."
You got points with management for dressing well, but they didn't pay you enough to afford suits or silk ties or anything. And part of your job
might be cleaning out rental cars, which is a filthy rotten bore. Your boss might promise that on friday you wouldn't touch a car, but then send you
on cleanup anyway. So part of each morning was figuring out what to wear.
You also got points for being a total suckup. "Good morning sir; you look especially . . . entrepenurial, today, sir!" For keeping your desk clean
(while people dumped those TPS reports on it all day). And being enthusiastic about the company and its fine selection of vehicles and insurance
You also got points for following the company's stock price, as well as its rivals, and predicting wonderful things for us, and doom for them. WHich
was difficult because their stock flew like a goose turd. Another agent taught me to cut articles about the company stock from FORBES or the WSJ and
put them up on the wall by my desk. The corporates loved that.
Mgt. went out to eat at lunch every day, and you only got 30 minutes unless you went with them. Fast food is not cheap or healthy when you eat it
every day. I actually got "called on the carpet" (summoned to the boss' office, which WAS the only carpet) for bringing a sack lunch. So I would
take a car and "pretend" to drive off to whataburger or sonic, eat lunch at the park around the corner, and just come back with the same paper bag
But the worst was trying to sell rip-off insurance to people who didn't want or need it. Little old ladies. Immigrant families who paid in pocket
change. Suspicious cops who could sense they were being ripped off. Lying to them, spinning extravagant tales of poor rentees who had been saved
from financial doom by our $27.99 per day policy. (that was a lot of money in the eighties, when minimum wage was $3.15 and hour . . .)
The hilarious part was the people who wanted the policy. Usually people doing prostitution, or running illegal aliens. The most memorable was a big
dude with a ZZTop beard and tattoos dripping off his arms. He'd rent a car for two or three months at a time, get every policy we carried. His
credit card had a different name every time, and the card always worked, even when the machine wasn't accepting most cards. The first thing he did
to the car was to take the lightbulb out of the dome light. He'd also remove the back seat, and put it in his upstairs apartment, which was
unfurnished . . . can you say "drug dealer?" I knew you could.
The place was a spiritual concentration camp. I eventually sacked myself after about 3 months, and moved out to the country and got work on a ranch.
It paid better, and you could sleep at night.