Republican Fred Thompson, son of a used-car salesman, remembers his years before law offices, Hollywood and the Senate. "Well, let's see," he said. "I've worked in a factory, I was a bouncer at my uncle's drag strip, I worked at the post office, I sold children's shoes, I sold ladies', I sold men's clothing, I was a night clerk at a motel.
"I can't think of a job that I had that I wasn't thankful for at the time."
Romney never went begging for dollars — his dad was head of American Motors and governor of Michigan. But the Republican presidential candidate got up close and personal with sewage while spending time at his uncle's spread, doing chores at age 15. He said he spent a week on his assigned task of cutting the sewage pipe.
In Alaska, she washed dishes in Mount McKinley National Park, the better of two brief menial jobs that financed her travels. "My worst job was sliming fish in a fish cannery in Valdez," she said without hesitation.
The Democratic New York senator elaborated on this in her memoirs: standing in bloody water in knee-high boots on a pier removing salmon guts with a spoon; supervisors yelling when she didn't slime fast enough; switching to the packing line where she reported spoiled fish to the boss, who soon fired her.
Republican John McCain, son of an admiral, had post-grad employment unlike most — war. The Navy pilot landed in a vicious Hanoi prison and has no complaints about other circumstances of his youth: "I've never really had a bad job."
Bill Richardson worked for a summer laying sod, and called it "backbreaking".
John Edwards had cleaning duties at a mill.
Mike Huckabee worked at JCPenney -- I assume cleaning, because he talked about how he never touches glass doors, as he had to work so hard getting fingerprints off the doors.
Barack Obama said his worst job was scooping ice cream, because he ate too much of it.
Chris Dodd sold clothes in a haberdashery, and said it was "boring".
All together, I guess we're supposed to be awed by the fact that these people have, at some point, actually worked.
At any rate, this seemed to be a fun topic, so let's get the ball rolling.
My worst job ever was, by far, as a dog washer at a doggie spa. It was the first job I ever had, I was fifteen, and my mother literally made me take it. I lasted a week. Maybe some people are good with that kind of thing, but I simply was not. I love dogs, but I did not like washing them every single day, and having to go home smelling like wet dog and burnt doggie pee (they tended to pee when you blow dried them after washing them).
I also worked at a museum here, the Museum of Science and History, as an intern for five years. I worked for one summer in the planetarium, but most of my experience there was working in the history department -- giving tours, doing demonstrations, and the like. Occasionally, though not often, we did exhibitions in period dress, which means I know what a corset feels like (not good!!). It was one of the best jobs I've ever had.
There also was, of course, Jacksonville.com. I covered sports there, and had some of the best experiences of my life. It's where I started my writing "career", really, but there were lots of different things we were expected to contribute -- photo galleries, columns, video reports, etc. While writing was what I mainly did, I also got to dabble in some photography and be both in front of and behind the camera.
And like many college-aged kids, I worked as a server in various restaurants for about three years. This was one of those jobs that you're either really, really good at, or you're terrible (in my opinion). I was really, really good. Serving is also one of those jobs that you kind of simultaneously love and hate.
After only a few months at my first job as a server (Sneakers Sports Grille, where you wear cheerleading uniforms), I was promoted to a shift leader and a trainer. Therefore, I tend to have ridiculously high standards when I eat out. If a server brings me a new drink without taking the empty glass away, for example, I get slightly annoyed. If they have a great attitude and personality, though, I can overlook just about anything. I do have a kind of mental tally of things that I expect servers to do (pre-bus, check on you throughout the meal, try to upsell, etc.). I also tend to simultaneously be more sympathetic to servers than other people -- if you've never been one, you can never understand what it's like and how stressful it can be. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I hate watching people be rude to servers, and it tends to make me want to tip that server even higher to make up for it. People, don't be rude to your server. Really, really don't. If you don't know what I mean, then watch the movie Waiting. It is a scarily accurate depiction of what working in a restaurant is like. If you're such a terrible person that you can't be nice to your server just, you know, to be a decent human being, then do it for your own good. You don't want to screw with the person who is taking care of your food. I have never personally messed with anyone's food, but I have witnessed it. Many times.
So that's some of my job history (yes, much of these overlapped -- I often work multiple jobs at the same time). What was your worst job, or perhaps, your best? Let's get a little conversation going here.