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What Bizarre Jobs Have You Had?

  1. Aug 11, 2013 #1

    lisab

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    I had lots of jobs when I was in college. Most were typical student jobs: waitress, 7-11 clerk (no I never got robbed), and telemarketer (yeah I know but I *needed* the cash!!!).

    But there were unusual ones too: I did electronic assembly (PC soldering and assembling wire harnesses). I worked a summer on a fish processing ship (long-line black cod, in the Bering Sea).

    There was at least one bizarre one: assemble prototype adult diapers. And test them :eek:! No I did not "use" them, I did standardized tests. There are standardized tests for just about everything!

    What unusual jobs have you had?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2013 #2
    I'm not sure I possess your self control. You can guarantee that, if given a perfectly legitimate excuse, I would gladly do my duty while standing in a crowded area, making eye contact with pedestrians who would be none the wiser.
     
  4. Aug 11, 2013 #3
    I've only ever had one job, and it could hardly be deemed bizarre. However, making ice-cream for an overweight country can be very tasking, and I sleep well at night knowing that I have not only done nothing to curb the rampant obesity in the U.S., neigh, I have done everything in my power to make the obese even more so.

    On one occasion, I had this nice Indian family (actual Indians, not the rapist Christopher Columbus's Indians) come in wanting something from our novelty cabinet. However, the father of the family did not know the word for the particular item that he wanted, so he instead reverted to pointing at it, until I won the game and found the item that he was looking for. After charging he and his family for the items, I was asked in a broken, but passable English, what word we use to describe what his son was eating.

    I relished the oddity of the moment for a bit, and then replied with, "Popsicle."

    "Popsicle?"

    "Yes. 'Popsicle.'"

    Throughout the rest of the encounter, I could hear him mumbling to himself the word 'popsicle'.
     
  5. Aug 11, 2013 #4

    nsaspook

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    Military Xerox repairman in the navy (for classified documents). Flying about in a helo in a combat zone or over hundreds of miles of open ocean to reach a carrier because the staff couldn't make copies of messages for the boss was a pretty bizarre reason to get killed if we got hit or crashed.


    A funny story about one trip(I did drink a hot beer):
    http://www.rescueattempt.com/id6.html
     
  6. Aug 12, 2013 #5

    MarneMath

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    In high school, I did Rodeo events. Relating to that, I was also a Rodeo clown. That probably explains my high pain tolerance. I also was a snake milker with a friend down in Georgia for a period of 6 months, until one nearly bit me. I decided to pay wasn't worth it after that. I also sold hot dogs at baseball games, that was rather annoying.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  7. Aug 12, 2013 #6

    BobG

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    In high school, I made ice cream for a neighborhood ice cream parlor. We were named best ice cream in Summit County that year.

    I worked in a methanol bottling plant (windshield washer fluid, fuel additives, etc). The machines looked like they'd been made in the 20's and most didn't work very well.

    On one, the machine would fill up the bottles with methanol, send them down the coveyer belt, and the capping machine would fail to cap 9 out of every 10 bottles. People would be putting the caps on by hand as the bottles kept coming down the line, with methanol spilling everywhere. With rubber bands, paper clips, and some adjusting of the screws and bolts, I finally got the machine working so good that all I had to do was sit there and pick off an occasional bottle that failed to fill up all the way.

    We also sold methanol in metal cans with a narrow top with bottle caps. The capper on that machine actually worked, but I was supposed to look down the spout of the can to make sure the can was filled completely. It only took getting splashed in the eyes about four times before I decided that wasn't going to happen. I took to closing my eyes and listening to the cans, instead. It got so that I could not only identify that one (or more) of the cans was rattling in too low of a pitch, but I immediately knew exactly which one(s).
     
  8. Aug 12, 2013 #7

    turbo

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    My college-era jobs were not "bizarre", but were sometimes odd and industry-specific. One college job involved standing on tall ladders and trimming ivy away from the university's office buildings so that window-frames wouldn't rot. When you are 3 stories up with an unreliable kid "footing" the ladder for you, if can be unnerving for somebody to fling a window open and scream at you for trimming "their" ivy.

    I also had jobs in my home-town's veneer mill, spreading glue on the sheets of wood, clamping them in large steam presses to set the adhesive. If you have any old veneer cabinets from NuTone dating back to the late 60s and early 70s, you probably have some of my handiwork in there. I also made birch marine plywood (the very stuff that WWII PT boats were made of), so that the owners, GM, and other privileged associates of the mill could have Bristol Yachts. When I was a kid, my father took me to the boat-shop to solder pipes in a catamaran in places that adults couldn't reach (lack of planning). Luckily, he had already taught me to make clean solder joints (I might have been 11 or 12) and nothing leaked. I wanted to be at the Bristol Harbor launching, but he couldn't get any time off to take me.

    One really costly mistake that the owners of that mill made was to use pigs' blood as a binder in the glue. Wood is not a uniform material, so the pigs' blood would seep through any crack or knot-hole and would turn black when you ran the veneer through the steam press. Not very pretty, and it took a lot of work to rehabilitate those veneers.
     
  9. Aug 12, 2013 #8

    Borg

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    Fire watcher on a cargo plane. I got a job one summer for a company that was handling a US mail contract. They were renting a regular passenger jet for the nightly mail runs. If there was too much mail for the cargo holds, we put the bags in the passenger seats. The cargo holds had smoke detectors but the passenger cabin did not. So they needed someone to actually sit in the area in case there was a fire. Other than helping to load the plane, it was a pretty easy job.
     
  10. Aug 12, 2013 #9

    Bandersnatch

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    I once had a job at a company making cryogenic equipment. It was a minimum wage job, consisting of wrapping pipes in aluminium foil.
    The fun part was my "enhanced" job description that I would gleefuly tout whenever somebody asked what I was doing.
    I'd say I was "a cryogenics technician, specialising in radiation shielding installation".
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  11. Aug 12, 2013 #10

    Monique

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    Unusual for a girl: I was a car plateworker for a while, fixing dents in cars and preparing the metal/car to be painted. Hard and dirty work, especially sanding cars with course to fine sandpaper in combination with water. At some point I sanded off my fingerprints. Luckily they came back :smile:

    It was difficult to judge when the car had been sanded enough, I was always afraid of scratches or dents being visible after the paint job (which easily happens and the process starts from 0), but luckily it was always perfect.
     
  12. Aug 12, 2013 #11

    jtbell

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    After I finished my Ph.D., while interviewing for jobs at an APS meeting, I saw a notice on a bulletin board from a company that was looking for technical translators. Since I know German fairly well, and that was one of the languages they were looking for, I sent them a letter. (This was in the days before e-mail.)

    They sent me photocopies of what looked like articles from East German military-related magazines, about equipment, electronics, etc, and I sent back translations. They must have been contractors for some government agency or the military. (This was in the mid 1980s.) I did this for a while, then stopped when I started my first full-time teaching job.
     
  13. Aug 12, 2013 #12

    lisab

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    There are some amusing jobs here :biggrin:!

    *wonders if Monique robbed banks during that time *
     
  14. Aug 12, 2013 #13

    Monique

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    If they find some fingerprintless fingerprints they sure do know where to look :uhh:
     
  15. Aug 12, 2013 #14
    If only Mike Rowe were a member of this forum....
     
  16. Aug 12, 2013 #15
    I worked in a paint a body shop when I was in high school. The boss told me if I could feel any irregularity in the surface with my fingers, it would show when painted.

    After all of that hand sanding my fingerprints were also gone. I never did decide whether or not that was an advantage in the feeling process.:approve:
     
  17. Aug 12, 2013 #16

    George Jones

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    I worked taking liquid nitrogen down a salt mine to help "find" a 17 keV neutrino.
     
  18. Aug 13, 2013 #17

    lisab

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    There was a bizarre job I really wanted to apply for but the commute was too long. The place was a small non-profit specializing in health services for third-world countries, and the job was developing a condom for women.
     
  19. Aug 13, 2013 #18

    Pythagorean

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    I can't think of any, really. Probably the most exotic job I had was commercial fishing out of Alaska, which I was essentially raised into. Then I ran away and joined the circus (academia).

    I guess academia really is a bizarre job if you think about it; kind of a priveledged position. According to the previously mentioned Mike Rowe, we need more people in trades jobs in the West.
     
  20. Aug 13, 2013 #19
    Now I am wondering how you found out about that job. Was there an ad in the local newspaper?:devil:
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  21. Aug 13, 2013 #20

    jtbell

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