Fortunately, I can say that I love my job and to that end I'm lucky. I'd like to think that what I do makes a difference and I've never felt job satisfaction like it. But it's not always been this way. In the past, I've had some terrible jobs. Like the employment equivalent of Ebola. Okay, maybe I'm being a tad dramatic (hurrah!) but you get the picture. When I recently stumbled across a website called Please Fire Me, I could relate on many levels. Simply stated. it contains lashings of vignettes from people who have had a really shit day at work for whatever reason and feel like killing themselves. As I scrolled through the various offerings, I chortled and guffawed and began to turn my thoughts back to the many, many terrible jobs that I have undertaken in my life... Had the page existed back then, I would have sent in the following top ten:
1. Please fire me: I work at Kwiksave, which is tragic enough, what with it's burgundy tunic, Victorian wage structure and and questionable patrons. Ugh. But that notwithstanding, I have just accidentally stabbed myself at work with an blunt knife that I was using to open a box of Stork Margarine. My boss is making me buy my own plasters and antiseptic cream, but pay day isn't until tomorrow and the bastard refuses to sub me.
2. Please fire me: I am a babysitter for various families and one of the children has just found her mother's (or possibly father's) vibrator. It has a curly black hair attached to the top and it is MASSIVE (the vibrator, not the hair.) It came in handy though, as the remote control on the television stopped working halfway through the evening, so I swapped the batteries over and then used half a bottle of Dettol on my hands. I don't want to get pregnant or syphilis, do I? I have enough problems as it is, thanks very much.
3. Please fire me, although to be honest, I think my wish might just come true: when the parents of another family I babysit for said, 'Help yourself!' I don't think they meant for me to help myself to the rest of the children's Easter eggs, half a loaf of bread and a packet of biscuits.
4. Please fire me: I work in a video store. It smells of rancid feet and I have to do twelve hour shifts where I am stuck in the back of the shop. There is little to no sunlight and I finish each stretch with the sad promise of rickets and a ghoulish pallor. My boss doesn't speak much English, but he knows the phrase, 'you fatty bum bum.' When he rattles this off, he has a tendency to poke me in the love handle with a chewed biro while laughing and baring his off-brown teeth that look like a burned-down fence. His English always seems to improve at about ten thirty at night when he will call me at home and want to know why the till is 43 pence out (yes, really) or why his stock take shows that there are six Mars Bars missing (probably because I ate them. In one sitting.) When I try and explain why - through the art of lying - his English fails him until he comes up with another of his well worn phrases: 'I take it out your wage pay!' Which is fine, I will just make up the deficit by pilfering more chocolate based confectionery or, most likely, just taking it directly out of the till.
5. Please fire me: I am a recruitment consultant. Please stop laughing.
6. Please fire me: I work in a sewage treatment plant. It smells like holy doom and I spend all day talking to old people who have accidentally flushed their cat down the toilet and want to know why they are knee deep in four day old excrement and spent Tena-lady thingies. I don't really know what to say, so I will hang up on them and hide in the kitchen so that some other colleague / sucker picks up when they ring back, usually quite angry that the previous call handler sniggered at their plight.
7. Please fire me: I work in a gastro-pub near where my student digs are. I finish late and often miss the bus home, which means I have to walk down a country road that I believe is only used by people whose hobbies include murder, GBH and the general pillage of chubby youths. One of my bosses is slightly over-friendly and the other shouts at me after she catches me eating one of the bread rolls. They cost four pence each apparently and if she catches me scoffing them again, she will deduct it from my wages. A whole four pence. She has a face like a blistered piss-pot, which possibly explains why she is such a rotten, unhappy person.
8. Please fire me: I have recently graduated and have found gainful employment in a West-End theatre where everyone is vicious and anorexic. I have spun my job (to friends and family) in such a vague way that they would be forgiven for thinking that I am top billing in Mamma Mia. In reality, I rip tickets and direct people to the toilet. Oh, and we're expected to do a little dance at the end of the night and I can never get the moves right. I shimmy when everyone shakes. I clap when people throw their arms aloft. I go left when everyone goes right. I often stumble and have actually landed on an old person who licked me. And I do this six days out of seven for a WHOPPING £125 a week.
9. Please fire me: I have liberated myself from my West-End nightmare but have hopped from the frying pan into a raging inferno. Question: when you need a new vacuum cleaner, do you consult the Argos catalogue, Currys or similar, or do you simply wait for the phone to ring and hope the sap on the other end of the phone desperately tries to to flog you one? Duties include calling random people from eight year old Thomson directories and going through a script that is so bad, it gives you a tick that will keep you awake at night. I am expected to illuminate the person on the other end of the blower as to the features and benefits of a five-wheeled vacuum made in Korea. It won't fall over when you pull it around a corner! Phew! It's extremely quiet (on account of the fact that it probably doesn't work) and it's attachments are environmentally friendly. The script does not elaborate as to how, but that doesn't matter. By the time I get to that part, I've usually been told to eff-off or been hung up on in a similar manner to an elderly person on the phone to a sewage treatment plant wanting to know why yesterday's poo is staring at her from the bottom of the stairs. Karma really is a bitch, eh?
10. Please fire me: I have leapt from raging inferno directly into the lake of fire and brimstone. I am working in PR. PR, darling! I took the job thinking that I would be the new Edina Monsoon. Okay then, Bubble. I thought I would be schmoozin' and boozin' with the great and the good. This is not the case. I spend my days in a strange storage room in West London while the boss tells me that I look tired and that she couldn't possibly pimp me out to clients, 'looking like you do.' I am forced to talk to disinterested journalists about hand held tills and other things that I have no clue about until one day, after she discovers a particularly cruel/accurate email about her (that I have written) she sacks me. Just before Chrimble time. Best present ever! Wish granted.