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Worst job ever.

JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior MemberPosts: 7,952 Senior Member
I've had my share of crappy jobs, including one in which I worked 3 consecutive 90 hour weeks.  But, I think the absolute worst was when I was in my late teens or early 20s.

I was working in the oil fields of west Texas, and our job was to clean a mud tank.  For those of you who not familiar with mud tanks, allow me to explain.  When a drilling rig drills for oil, it brings up a lot of "mud", which is usually a mix of crude oil and mud.  Sometimes it's pumped into large metal tanks.  The tanks may be 20-30 ft high, and 30-50 ft. in diameter.  In other words, they're pretty big.

There is one way in and one way out.  It's a small door that's bolted on, and covers an entry hole just big enough for a grown man to get through if he stoops.  This particular tank had mud that was about 2-3 deep, and hard enough that it had to be taken out shovel full at a time.

Now imagine doing this when the ambient temps are in the high 90s, low 3 digits, the floor of the tank is slippery, and working inside the tank carrying mud out with a shovel.  It took about a week to get this done.  I was very, very glad to be finished.

And, to make the job even more fun, on the last day I slipped while carrying a load of mud.  I instinctively dropped my shovel and put my hands out to catch my fall.  Unfortunately, there was  pipe running across the floor, which the shovel handle hit, causing it to bounce back up as I was falling down.  It caught me in the throat, and I was unable to talk for about 30 minutes due to a badly bruised larynx.

I'm glad I got out of the oil field business for obvious reasons.
Jerry

Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
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Replies

  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,827 Senior Member
    Saw that on an episode of Dirty Jobs!! Didn't look like fun!!
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,671 Senior Member
    My first job when I was 16 was working in a diner. It was not as hard as you describe yours was, but maybe a lot more disgusting. Part of my job was to clean out the grease trap going out to the main sewer line, so that the grease didn't get fed into the sewer system. This was not fed by toilets but the stuff I had to take out of there was almost as stinky and gross.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    The oil patch is a hard place to make a living...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,952 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    The oil patch is a hard place to make a living...
    Agreed.

    I remember bumper stickers that read "Don't tell my mother I work in the oil patch.  She thinks I'm a piano player in a cat house."
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    When I was 17yro. I lied about my age and took a job at a factory down on 6 mile Rd in Detroit. Automotive parts and brackets got washed in big machines and dipped in paint that got baked on. The washer had a tank that collected smelly oily sludge. I jumped inside it one day to shovel it out clean and pick the spray nozzles clean with a pin. Dirty job. Did it in a few hours. The oil patch mud tank sounds a whole lot worse, but reminded me of this. I got a $00.50 an hour raise that day from $3.35 an hr..



  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,960 Senior Member
    My dad and uncle owned a large commercial laundry, linen supply, uniform rental etc. they had 3 fire tube boilers, 2 Cleaver Brooks 200 hp, and 1 Scotch Marine 250 hp, these boilers were about 10' -12' high and 30' - 40' long, they were fired with "Bunker C" fuel oil which has the consistency of hot roofing tar, Periodically we would shut them down , one at a time and clean the soot from the fire tubes, kinda like brushing a gun barrel 4" - 5" in diameter and 30'-40' long, there was at least 50 tubes in a boiler, than clean the water scale and repair any fire brick and insulation.

    The boiler we worked on was allowed to cool for a day before we did any work but all 3 boilers were in an explosion proof room with the other 2 running so it was plenty hot.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 3,862 Senior Member
    edited August 14 #8
    Oil field work is some of the worst jobs there are. But they also tend to pay very well. If they didn't, nobody would do it.

    Some of the worst work I've ever had to do was because I enjoyed it. When I was younger doing cowboy work and working on farms. Specific tasks of those jobs I hated. But I loved the work overall and was in crazy good shape at the time.

    One of the worst work memories I had was when I was a teenager and working at a big horse farm. I was given the job of clearing an irrigation canal of weeds. The canal was about 1/4 mile long and both sides were lined with weeds 4-5 feet tall and thick, the entire length.  And all I had to clear them was a hoe and chopping tool for chopping the weeds with thick bases. I had to chop the weeds and pile them inside the ditch to be burned. By myself.I would clear about 20 feet on one side of the ditch, switch to the other side and do the same 20 feet plus another 20 feet, repeat the process for 1/4 mile of ditch. Took me 3 days to get it all cleared.  By the end of the first day, I had formed blisters on my hands that popped and started bleeding. Worked the next 2 days with my hands that way. I hated it. But it built character..

    The second most disliked job I've done throughout my life, I have to do tomorrow morning; picking up bales of hay out of the field, haul them and stack them. Big round or square bales are easy. A tractor with forks does all the work. The small 2-wire bales (60-70 pound bales) for horse hay are manual labor, when you don't have the fancy elevators that lift the bales up on the trailer. One person driving the truck between 2 rows of bales, 2 people picking the bales up on the ground and throwing them on the trailer (my job), and 1 or 2 people stacking on the trailer. When it's 105 and 65% humidity, it can start to suck pretty quick. And as you go along and get more tired, the trailer is getting taller, so you've gotta throw the bales higher and higher... And you have a choice. Either the person driving hauls butt, getting the job done fast but requiring the people on the ground throwing bales to work their butt off. Or they drive slow and you're out there all day... It's a good workout. No gym membership required... Gives me an idea.. Maybe I need to start a new crossfit business... Instead of pushing big tires around, come throw bales of hay around. I won't charge much...
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,393 Senior Member
    i cant say i had any "bad" jobs.  They may have been that way in my mind, but looking back, they were interesting...

     > 1st job was working for STC/Alcatel making underwater fiber optic cable as a engineer in various positions.  Learned alot had a chance to go out on a couple installs.  Living aboard ship was different, but they ate real well and if you were the drinking type, they did that too.   

     > 2nd job working at a Automation company.  Did some small jobs designing somme pick n place systems, laser pet tag machine, ....

     > last job working at a semiconductor place.   It was the people that was great, my recent manager sucked, but it was different and interesting.

    i had some summer jobs too...

     > working for a naval architect.  He was 1 of the principal engineers at Boeing on the Hydrofoil.  that was cool to talk to him about that time.

     > working for a 59-64 T bird car parts place.   learned alot about t-birds.  They were cool and sort of ahead of their time in some ways.

     > worked for DOA Corps of Engineers for several summers.  That was a learning experience seeing how it worked and all of the paperwork.   We had a full Col in our office, but the Division office a few blocks away had some Generals.  Also had some British officers working on exchange program.  All of the uniformed people were cool with all of the civilians like me.

     > also worked at a lumber company where they designed lumber mills/systems.   

    Sometimes i thought they sucked, but for the most part, they were all different and interesting...


    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • Some_MookSome_Mook Posts: 328 Member
    My first job when I was 16 was working in a diner. It was not as hard as you describe yours was, but maybe a lot more disgusting. Part of my job was to clean out the grease trap going out to the main sewer line, so that the grease didn't get fed into the sewer system. This was not fed by toilets but the stuff I had to take out of there was almost as stinky and gross.
    With the added bonus that it looks just like, and has the consistency of vomit?  Good times indeed, working behind the scenes in food services.
    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." - Thomas Paine
    "I know my place in the world and it ain’t standing next to Jerry Miculek" - Zee
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,743 Senior Member
    My worst job was at a factory making shower heads.  My job was to install that part that makes it sound like the phone ringing.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,636 Senior Member
    No bad jobs per se, worked with some people that made jobs miserable by their presence, got along with almost all of my bosses too
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,715 Senior Member
    Bad job, I guess not since---------every day was a holiday and every meal a feast!
    Shut up-----KAREN; OK Cynthia
  • DrawbarFlatsDrawbarFlats Posts: 776 Senior Member
    I worked as a ranch hand in N. Arizona back in the mid 90s. While the job was great, hauling off dead cattle to the bone-yard was the worst. Winter die-offs were fine with cold temps but a bloating rotting carcass that has been stewing in the summer sun for a week or more gets me to gagging just thinking about it. The smell was horrific! There would be so many flies swarming about the carcass that it behooved one to keep his mouth closed unless ya wanted a mouthful of blue bottles in your mouth for an early dinner. Sometimes as we were hauling the the carcass off it would just fall apart spilling millions of maggots in the process (I'm starting to gag just typing this!) I can handle blood and guts, blood spurting, and the like, but the smell of rotting decaying flesh and bugs crawling about is something on an entirely different level. 
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,047 Senior Member
    Never had a job I didn't like, but there have been parts of all of them that I didn't care for.

    The worst.....Before I went into the service, I was an ironworker. After we'd finished erecting the structural steel. we'd often lay the metal decking for the floors and roof. 

    Maybe stacking hay is worse, but laying steel deck in South Louisiana in July/August ranks right up there. Marine boot was a walk in the park after that.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 544 Senior Member
    I was a farm hand at my best friends dads farm. He raised beef cattle. Nasty job there cleaning out barns (even using a bobcat). Then there was bush hogging fields, spreading manure and the funnest part of all, castrating the bulls. He was also a tight ass on money. Im not sure if it was a state law or what but if you had a cow die, you were required to pay some company to remove the carcass and do testing on it. Im assuming it was incase of anthrax, maybe? He made us haul them to the back field, dig a ditch and bury them. Not fun if they were ripe. 
  • TwinkleTwinkle Posts: 174 Member
    edited August 16 #17
    Okay, I guess I'm a beginner in the nasty jobs category too.  My worst job experience was assisting a doctor in a surgery to remove a lipoma (fatty tumor) in the office, which actually should have been done in the hospital.  Doc nicked a vein and got a lot of bleeding and my part was swabbing the gigantic blood clots out of the incision.  Then I got to prepare the tumor for the laboratory by cutting it into pieces small enough to fit into bottles of formalin (formaldehyde).  Think a wad of human fat the size of a woman's fist and a mess of fumey formalin spilling all over the surgical tray, burning my eyes and making me really dizzy.  It took about 20 minutes to finish.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,096 Senior Member
    For the first 15 years or so of my EMS career, the ambulance service I worked for also had the county coroner's contract. So we'd have to go pick up bodies and transport them to the coroner's office.

    House fire fatalities and decomps (decomposing bodies) were the worst.

    One, from a non-air-conditioned "row house", in the summer time, hadn't been heard from in a week.
    The locks, in hasps on the inside of the door, ruled out any foul play, but they'd been there long enough to have been bloated and had maggots, some of which were the size of the first joint of my little finger.

    Even putting the body in a sealed body bag before loading it, we still had to clean maggots off the floor of the ambulance. Luckily it wasn't but 3-4 miles to the coroner's office in that county, and we had a police escort and ran lights and siren all the way there
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • DrawbarFlatsDrawbarFlats Posts: 776 Senior Member
    edited August 16 #19
    knitepoet said:
    For the first 15 years or so of my EMS career, the ambulance service I worked for also had the county coroner's contract. So we'd have to go pick up bodies and transport them to the coroner's office.

    House fire fatalities and decomps (decomposing bodies) were the worst.

    One, from a non-air-conditioned "row house", in the summer time, hadn't been heard from in a week.
    The locks, in hasps on the inside of the door, ruled out any foul play, but they'd been there long enough to have been bloated and had maggots, some of which were the size of the first joint of my little finger.

    Even putting the body in a sealed body bag before loading it, we still had to clean maggots off the floor of the ambulance. Luckily it wasn't but 3-4 miles to the coroner's office in that county, and we had a police escort and ran lights and siren all the way there
    Damn! No way in hell I could do that. Hats off to you, Sir. 
  • TwinkleTwinkle Posts: 174 Member
    knitepoet said:
    For the first 15 years or so of my EMS career, the ambulance service I worked for also had the county coroner's contract. So we'd have to go pick up bodies and transport them to the coroner's office.

    House fire fatalities and decomps (decomposing bodies) were the worst.

    One, from a non-air-conditioned "row house", in the summer time, hadn't been heard from in a week.
    The locks, in hasps on the inside of the door, ruled out any foul play, but they'd been there long enough to have been bloated and had maggots, some of which were the size of the first joint of my little finger.

    Even putting the body in a sealed body bag before loading it, we still had to clean maggots off the floor of the ambulance. Luckily it wasn't but 3-4 miles to the coroner's office in that county, and we had a police escort and ran lights and siren all the way there
    YIKES!  How horrendous! 
    I had a neighbor in the next apartment who passed on, never found out whether by natural causes or suicide.  No idea how long he'd been there.  The smell alerted me and I'm glad I wasn't the manager of the building who had to use the master key and enter the apartment.  Gruesome enough, but nothing like what you described, of course.

  • DrawbarFlatsDrawbarFlats Posts: 776 Senior Member
    I was a farm hand at my best friends dads farm. He raised beef cattle. Nasty job there cleaning out barns (even using a bobcat). Then there was bush hogging fields, spreading manure and the funnest part of all, castrating the bulls. He was also a tight ass on money. Im not sure if it was a state law or what but if you had a cow die, you were required to pay some company to remove the carcass and do testing on it. Im assuming it was incase of anthrax, maybe? He made us haul them to the back field, dig a ditch and bury them. Not fun if they were ripe. 
    Reminds me of Louis L'Amour's "Wandering Man" when he wrote about the job he had at skinning dead cattle. These cattle weren't of the slaughterhouse variety but die-offs out in the desert. I'm thankful that the ranchers I worked for weren't that greedy. LOL!!! Another funny thing about that ranch I worked at was that the co-owner couldn't stand the sight/process of removing cancerous eyes from livestock. His son would always get a laugh about that. 
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,952 Senior Member
    Paul, you win.  I'd rather clean a 100 mud tanks during the heat of a west Texas summer than haul off dead bodies like you just described.  
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    You medical types have my respect. I read a book once authored by an x-Chicago policeman. He described the details of bad odor investigation/dead body investigation. My worst jobs were easy in comparison.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,398 Senior Member
    Being in an office 8-5.

    I have been in working septic tanks, connected water lines in barns where the rain had the ditch so full that you had to turn your head to take air, while turds floated around. I grew up on a blacktop crew, knew how to puke from heat exhaustion long before I went to Parris Island. Climbed poles in 115F 100% humidity to -25 before wind chill during the light hours. Creosoted board fence, put up square bales into pickup trucks then was elevator #2 in the mow. All were rough, but the worst was going into an office every day.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • RaftermanRafterman New Member Posts: 233 Member
    knitepoet said:
    For the first 15 years or so of my EMS career, the ambulance service I worked for also had the county coroner's contract. So we'd have to go pick up bodies and transport them to the coroner's office.

    House fire fatalities and decomps (decomposing bodies) were the worst.

    One, from a non-air-conditioned "row house", in the summer time, hadn't been heard from in a week.
    The locks, in hasps on the inside of the door, ruled out any foul play, but they'd been there long enough to have been bloated and had maggots, some of which were the size of the first joint of my little finger.

    Even putting the body in a sealed body bag before loading it, we still had to clean maggots off the floor of the ambulance. Luckily it wasn't but 3-4 miles to the coroner's office in that county, and we had a police escort and ran lights and siren all the way there

    After Silence of the Lambs came out we saw the trick with the jar of Vick's Vapo Rub. Many of us had our own jar after that. Some guys just used aftershave. The only problem was our uniforms retained the odors and had to be changed and bagged as soon as we got back to the station.  :s
  • Some_MookSome_Mook Posts: 328 Member
    A couple of centuries ago I worked in a Toyota dealership.  There was a Celica that got towed in from a Police Impound lot, where it had been sitting all summer long.  The owner of the vehicle had been in the passenger front seat when a drug deal went south and he took a 12ga shotgun blast to the face through the windshield.  It took over three months for the court to decide who actually owned the vehicle, since the dude's Mother and his baby-momma both had titles to the vehicle in their names.  Needless to say that when his body was removed from the vehicle after the murder, no one cleaned out the blood, flesh and grey matter that went through the front seat back and into the rear seat.  They brought it to us to get it running again.  Every technician in the shop refused to touch it - just walking past the vehicle in the parking lot was enough to cause people to gag.  
    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." - Thomas Paine
    "I know my place in the world and it ain’t standing next to Jerry Miculek" - Zee
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,155 Senior Member
    I do not have anything that can beat Knite.

    BUT... I have a few nasty ones.

    1- Worked at a pump/ water well company in Jr High and High school.  Most of it was installing and repairing water well pumps in the Texas Hill Country.  Pulling anywhere from 300- 800 feet of anywhere from 2”-6” pipe from a 12” hole in the ground while either baking in the heat or freezing in the cold.  All the while, there was a threat of an equipment failure or rusted pipe letting go- and thousands of pounds of pump/ pipe/ water dropping into the hole, and you getting tangled in the wire and getting sucked down the hole with it.  HOWEVER.. that was not the part that sucked the worst.  The worst part was that we worked on all types of pumps... including septic pumps.  I got to work on a malfunctioning septic system that somehow pumped raw sewage into irrigation lines.  I got to disassemble all thr sprinkler heads, and clean the... stuff... out of the heads (tomato seeds are still recognizable and fit right into the screen holes of the filters) and get the sprinklers functioning again.  I also remember standing on two crossmembers that held the “Grinder Pump” over a full septic tank with my head 2 feet below ground level while my co-worker held the collar of my shirt to keep me from falling in.  I was trying to bust the corroded mounting bolts loose to replace said Grinder Pump (and yes- It’s called that because it grinds up the ‘Stuff’ to pump it into a second tank) to replace it.  This was on the grounds of an all-girls summer camp, and what I remember the most were the pink plastic applicators for “feminine products” floating on the surface of the “liquid” about 6” below the crossmembers I was standing on.

    On the plus side, I was making $14/ hour for a part time job when the minimum wage was somewhere around $5.25/ hour.  And I got time and a half on weekends and holidays... I flat out volunteered to go on call outs on Christmas and New Years to clean fireants out of pressure switches and make several hundred bucks to do it.

    2- In college, the Texas Department of Transportation (Highway Department) had a summer program where they hired college kids to get flat out absolutely abused for good money (along with full medical and dental!) All of my other friends that were on the crews got assigned to easy jobs (assisting the engineering dept, sign crews, etc....), while I spent 3 years doing the worst jobs on the road.  Cleaning culverts and drainage tunnels, flagman (you want to die?  Be a flagman on a road crew.people will try to hit you and then be mad you survive), pumping 400-degree oil in a paper suit in TX summer heat... but the worst was the roadkill.
    There is a job that needs to be done called “running the roads” where every Monday and Friday, someone has to drive every state highway for the county and make sure nothing has gone wrong on the road.  Signs are upright, no one ate a guardrail and left the scene, bridges are intact, etc...  but it also involves removing roadkill that is in the lanes of traffic.  And after any long weekend, somehow the college kids got the duty that involved removing 150lb dead deer from the road that had been out in the 100+ degree heat.  Sometimes you had to remove them with a rake and a broom.

    The other thing we learned was NEVER open an abandoned fridge or freezer.  Just take it to the dump.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • 1hogfan831hogfan83 Member Posts: 336 Member
    Before I graduated college my worst was cleaning the Cotton picker twines in the fabulous Northeastern Arkansas Summer.  You can throw a baseball up in the air and it will stay there the humidity is so thick, it’s cooler out in the open than in the shade.  After I graduated from Arkansas State I went to work in Iowa at a hog processing plant.  I supervised the feeding like shoot where we would shock them once to knock them out then once behind the left shoulder to put them into cardiac arrest.  You want the heart pumping as long as possible to push the last remaining blood out.  After the second shock the pig is hoisted up by the legs, about the ankles, and finally the throat is slit so the beating heart can push the last of the blood out.  One morning a pig was hoisted up and a boy went up to cut its throat and it fell into the 6” vat that caught all of the blood collected.  That pig was running around, screaming, squealing with a slit throat in that vat.  A boy I worked with was close to the vat and he instinctively jumped in that vat to catch the pig!  He was covered head to toe in this nasty thick blood!  I felt so sorry for him.  I felt sorry anyway because he was the only white boy with about 20 Mexicans and they would always make fun of him in Spanish, he was kinda goofy but still.  We would draw straws to decide who cleaned the shoots and lanes every Friday.  Bachelors degree and I’m cleaning hog blood and ****!!  To add to that, Iowa has to be the coldest place on earth!  The coldest it got was -57 below and the wind non stop!  Dumbassess would be walking around in 10 degrees of cold with shorts and flip flops!!  At the same time they would be passed out in 85 degree heat with no humidity.  Y’all are crazy!  I’m loving this!
    "Well he shoulda armed him self" William Munney-Unforgiven"
    "You believe there is one God, that is good, even the demons believe and shudder in fear" James 2:19
  • TwinkleTwinkle Posts: 174 Member
    edited August 19 #29
    Worst job ever -- being Justsomedude's doctor when he goes in to have the pilonidal cyst taken care of!
    I had to drain a similar cyst on my hubby's backside and it was not an experience I ever want to have again.
    Best of luck and speedy healing, dude.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,667 Senior Member
    Son In Law is currently working for a large apartment complex located in "da hood". He and his boss had to go into an apartment that was the scene of a nasty eviction. Dog crap carpet in one of the bedrooms, about an inch thick wall to wall.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • TwinkleTwinkle Posts: 174 Member
    edited August 19 #31
    zorba said:
    Son In Law is currently working for a large apartment complex located in "da hood". He and his boss had to go into an apartment that was the scene of a nasty eviction. Dog crap carpet in one of the bedrooms, about an inch thick wall to wall.
    Okay, where's the mental bleach?  I need to get that picture out of my head!
    And I thought I was a lousy housekeeper!

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