I saw a thread recently of people discussing the most outrageous jobs they’ve ever done. This got me thinking about what I’d consider mine to be, which made me realise just how many ridiculous things I’ve done over the years for some extra money. Maybe they’ll make you realise you’ve also done some weird work over the years, maybe they’ll make you ask “why didn’t you just get a normal part-time job?” Either way, here are some of the best.
- Sock Organiser
In grade 11, I worked at a school uniform shop in the holidays. This was at an all-boy’s school and I won’t lie, I took the job in the hopes of fulfilling the classic romantic storyline of Sock-Organiser-Meets-Sock-Buyer. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, and not at all to the fault of my employer, the shop had just been taken over and had previously been left looking like a washing machine threw up in the storage room. So, my primary job was sitting in the back room sorting the socks in a variety of ways (all of which I included as separate items on my CV for years): finding matching pairs, organising into size order, into sports order, counting them and filling out my observations on a spreadsheet. I can now tell the shape of a rugby vs cricket sock from a mile away.
- Beer Maiden
Everyone’s heard of Oktoberfest. South Africa has its own version, Bierfest, which is basically Oktoberfest’s weird cousin who it only sees on special occasions. To be a beer maiden, you need only have breasts, plait-able hair, the ability to maintain a sense of professional authority despite being dressed in faux-lederhosen and a firm history in bodybuilding. If you’re lacking the superhuman strength element, though, they have a solution for the fact you spend three 9-ish hour days carrying up to four litres of beer in each hand. They strap your wrists with thick adhesive tape so that you don’t snap them. This is all well and good, except if you forget to bring the under-layer sock (will they haunt me forever?) that goes under the tape. Now, as someone who, in twelve years of schooling, remembered her PE kit on the appropriate day approximately seven times, you best believe I forgot that every single day. For anyone interested in tips for a free and exceptionally painful arm wax: call me.
- Film Extras
Throughout my undergrad, I “acted” as an extra. Being an extra for adverts and films seems like a really glamorous way of earning some extra cash. Until you’re waking up at 2.30am to drive to a beach in the middle of nowhere to film a Specsavers advert that only airs internationally. Please feel free to watch me on repeat at the following link:
Be sure to pause at 0.08 and look really carefully because I’m gone by 0.09. The worst one I did was for Sean Penn’s “The Last Face”, and not only because they completely cut the scene that took us twelve hours to shoot. We were at a carnival, supposedly, and were meant to be having fun. But seeing as it was only a snippet of fun, we were basically human GIFS. We’d have roughly four seconds of fun and then we’d have to walk back to our marks and start again. And again. And again.
- Twitter Composer
This was probably the first in a long line of shitty jobs that actually encompassed my skill set, so that was exciting. Essentially, I was emailed a bunch of pictures live from events and I’d have to create a bit of copy that could be used in the Tweet accompanying the picture. The one event I worked involved a red-carpet guest arrival, so I had to think of as many different ways as possible to say exactly the same thing. Word-synonyms started failing me, and I eventually had all my house-mates helping, flicking through magazines and shouting new adjectives at me when they found one that was applicable to an outfit.
- Bovril Connoisseur
Now, it’s possible only the South Africans will find this horrifying. But basically, British people drink Bovril as a hot drink. But it’s not the Marmite-esque gel that we get, it’s in a powdered form – so, essentially, a stock cube. Stay with me here. You get these premade cups that have the powder at the bottom, which you add hot water and a sachet of pepper to (???) and serve as a drink, usually with a meat pie. I currently work at the football stadium, which seems to be where these drinks are most popular. It is a daily struggle trying to keep serious and non-judgemental when you have to smile at a customer with a poised pepper sachet in hand and ask, “Would you like a pepper with that?” Especially because my accent makes them think I’m saying “peeper” every time, confusing the situation greatly. On top of that, this is a stadium. Stadiums aim to make money. So, stadiums confiscate all your snacks at the door and then overcharge for them at the kiosks. That’s capitalism, sweety. The number of people who’ve said things like “how do you sleep at night?” or “SIX POUNDS FOR A HOT DOG?” as if I’m personally profiting as opposed to being paid an average hourly rate to do the stadium’s bidding. It’s maddening. “Yes sir, ha ha, £2.30 for a Bovril. Outrageous. Anyway. Peeper with that?”