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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 August 2005, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Do you have an unusual job?
Wage slip
Is your job special and out of the ordinary?

We're running a series on unusual occupations, ranging from a Ravenmaster to a human cannonball.

Whether your occupation is interesting or boring, clean or messy, safe or dangerous, we want to hear your story.

How did you find your job? What makes it special or unusual? How do other people react when you tell them what you do? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below. If you have any pictures send them to

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views received:

I'm a female driving instructor for a fire brigade
Lesley Cuthbertson, Radlett, Herts
I'm a female driving instructor for a fire brigade. I came from a family of hauliers in the North-East and after spending time at uni, in the Merchant Navy and running the family haulage business and driving tippers, I ended up with the fire brigade. I love my job. I'm a mother of a 5-year-old boy and can compare my job every day to seeing my son walk for the first time. Seeing new drivers driving fire engines successfully is so rewarding, it's fantastic. When I tell women what I do for a living, they nearly faint with envy. Recently, I went to a fire service conference where loads of fire brigade employed women from Britain had collected. There were cooks, cleaners, admin staff, as well as operational firefighters. I ran driving workshops in fire engines involving 40+ women. I only wish that I could have taken some of the women who normally work indoors and taught them to drive LGVs to a licensed standard. There were some talented drivers amongst them - they'll never realise their potential. Shame, apparently I have the patience of a saint. It's pretty much unheard of for me to yell. What have I discovered through my job with fire brigade driving school? Well you can call someone ugly, say they are fat and say that they smell but never, ever criticise someone's driving.
Lesley Cuthbertson, Radlett, Herts

Ever wonder how the clip on your fountain pen got its lovely gold coating? It was my job to mount those clips on racks to be dunked in a gold-plating machine. Long, boring days on little pay with sore fingers at the end of it!
Dave, Brighton

When I moved to Cornwall, I worked at a sewage treatment works as a secretary - in a Portacabin, in the height of summer right outside three sewage pools. The workmen used to come in to the office for their morning coffee and lined their erm... less than savoury wellies up outside the door complete with flies - with the smell in the heat and the flies buzzing around I only lasted a morning!
Nicky, Cornwall

I used to work as a games tester coming up to the Christmas season. Our job, to play the game until it broke! All good and well until Harry Potter's "Flipendo!" spell made you twitch after hearing it so much!
Nick, Vienna, Austria

I am a pest controller and have been for nearly 20 years. I now run my own business and employ four of the best people I know. We have a great time chasing all sorts of different creatures in so many unusual places. We get to meet such a diverse range of humanity in all types of abodes.
Keith Prowse, Cheltenham, England

I am a "dep" singer for cathedrals and churches. If one of the regulars has something better to do (eg a solo concert), they book a "dep" to cover for them. The main requirement is good sight-reading, since rehearsals are generally short (often around 30 minutes). It doesn't pay well, but it's fun if you love singing, and the 30-odd (?) fee-paying church choirs in London can add up to a living. Most deps have other jobs - I do translation, and others I have met include several barristers, a policeman and a plasterer.
Jason, London

For the past 18 months I have been a full time self-employed Henry VIII re-enactor
Mike Farley, Crewkerne, UK
For the past 18 months I have been a full time self-employed Henry VIII re-enactor, bringing history to life for junior school children around the country! Much better than my old job as a computer operator. I am married with one son.
Mike Farley, Crewkerne, UK

I am a Clinical Perfusionist. It is my job to operate a heart-lung machine which replaces the function of the patient native heart and lungs during heart surgery in children and adults. As well as operating the heart lung machine (HLM). Perfusionist also monitor, test and control a range of patient parameters and organ function, such as arterial and venous blood gas status, kidney function, clotting and fluid balance, acid/ base status, temperature and heart cell protection. The types of operation that we are involved with are coronary artery bypass surgery, heart valve replacement, heart lung transplantation, congenital heart defect repair, artificial heart support (VAD), long term support for people with diseased or failing heart/ lungs to recovery or transplant. Perfusionists are also involved in other surgical areas such as orthopaedics, oncology and hepatic transplantation. There are around 300 accredited Clinical Perfusion Scientists in the UK. Most people think that I am a mis-spelt Percussionist, or something to do with testing perfume, and sometimes (usually dead beat tired at 3 am with a very sick patient and an irritable surgeon), I wish I was.
Nigel Slade, Perth, WA

I am a penetration tester. I get to hack into banks, legally! Most people don't believe me.
Tom, London, UK

Hi I test new cooking instructions and taste test new recipes for companies such as Bachelors and Homepride, this involves basically eating lots of free food! Can't fault that.
Ian, Doncaster, Yorkshire

When I was growing up in Devon I had a regular Christmas job plucking turkeys and chickens. We got a lot of feather cuts under our nails. By the end of the second day the tips of your fingers would be inflamed and very painful and don't even get me started about the smell! The money was good though (70p a turkey and 40p a chicken) so it kept us going back.
Louise, Oxford, UK

My most unusual job was ironing logo transfers onto mortuary gowns
Stephen Buxton, Coventry, UK
I worked in a laundrette at a hospital in Ipswich. Fortunately, I was working at "clean" end of the washing machines. You could always spot those who worked upstairs and loaded them up - they were the ones who had gone a shade of pale green. My most unusual job there was ironing logo transfers onto mortuary gowns. The worst task I had there was to separate the freshly tumble-dried nylon bags according to their colour, and put them in large metal bins. I wasn't earthed, and received no end of electric shocks!
Stephen Buxton, Coventry, UK

Once it was my job to pack wok sets used for cooking. I had to get a box, put in the wok, put in some chopsticks, put in a spatula, some other utensils, and finally a recipe book before sealing the box up and putting it on a pallet. After doing this about 1000 times it was beginning to grate a bit. So I started to write messages in the notes section of the recipe books, like "Hi there, this was written by the poor sod who has to pack all the things in this box, I bet you thought it was a machine, but its not, it's me." I would have liked to see the faces of some of the people who bought the wok sets.
Paul, Oldham, UK

As a totally broke student in Brighton, I volunteered as an alcohol taster. Every Saturday I'd go to a couple of bars where we had to sit and taste different flavours of shots/ drink and rate them on a score sheet, to see if they tasted nice or not, and if it was worth the bar buying them to sell! The pay was rubbish, but it more than made up for it because I never had to spend any money on alcohol - I was always very merrily drunk on Saturday nights!
Bobby Nate, London

I spent a month working as a census-taker in 1996. There was one guy who simply wouldn't come to his door, no matter how often I came by or what I said. One day his neighbour came out, and after I explained why I was there, he helped me make contact. Turns out the recluse had recently won $300,000 in a lottery and was fending off all sorts of money-hungry visitors.
Ken, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I had a job with the school cutting out paper dolls
Karen, Andover, USA
In the summer between graduating from an Anglo-Catholic school in Arizona and going to university, I had a job with the school cutting out paper dolls all day. The results were part of a religious product for kids sold by the school. Worst part aside from the idiocy of the task was that the nun in charge did not allow us to talk.
Karen, Andover, USA

As a student I spent three weeks of one holiday turning pizzas upside down on a conveyor belt. It was part of the packing process and I always suspected it was considered too tedious to automate - the very essence of misery.
Richard P, Bournemouth, UK

In college, I worked at Taco Bell, refrying the refried beans, often 20lbs of them at a time. The worst time was after I'd been out drinking the night before and came to work with a hangover. The smell nearly did me in.
Scott, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

I work in a candy factory making moulded chocolates in all sorts of shapes. It is a small, family owned factory and we do lots of custom designs for just about anything you can imagine. Just call me Willy Wonka.
Mike, USA

I worked for a number of summers while at school and university as a sock turner in a local factory. Socks come off the knitting machine the right way out and have to be turned inside out so the toes can be sewn up. So yes, my job was to turn tubes of wool inside out. Paid piecework by the dozen pairs. Terrible job but better than the ladies who had to sort the sewn up socks into pairs.
Vikki, Leeds

One summer I worked as a DVD tester. This involved watching DVDs, so as a film buff I was in seventh heaven. The only problem was working night shifts and having to stay awake for film after film. By the mornings I couldn't even remember what I'd seen.
Dan, Aberdeen

His job was to open the covers on the mains in the street
Sue, London
My dad was a turncock which always caused peals of laughter and much teasing from my classmates when we had to write about our parents' jobs. His job was to open the covers on the mains in the street whenever there was a leak. He also had to inform householders that their water was being turned off. He wore a uniform that consisted of a blue shirt with epaulettes and a peaked cap and when some of the aforementioned classmates saw him they figured the TWA on his epaulettes stood for a famous airline and insisted he was a pilot and I was lying about what he really did.
Sue, London

In my time in the RAF one of the regular duties was to polish a VC10 in preparation for a Royal Flight. This involved climbing all over a rather large aeroplane with a duster and bottle of cleaning fluid; we even had to wear dusters on our feet (rather daunting when you realise how slippy this can be and how far down the floor is!). This was invariably carried out at weekends so as not disturb ground crew in the hangar too much. It was about the same time that I decided to leave for civvy street and that we would be much better off as a republic.
Darren, Cannock

I used to pick mushrooms. Mushrooms do not require light to grow, they require hot, humid, dark damp conditions. Oh, and some baked pig dung. The mushrooms were grown stacked in massive trays up to twelve foot high with just enough room to get your arm down to pick them. Each mushroom then needed grading into sizes using a template. Anyone who has passed a mushroom farm on the road knows what they smell like from miles away, you can't imagine what they smell like inside, or imagine the dark, hot humid uncomfortable conditions. I used to smell terrible at the end of the day. Needless to say I always managed to find an empty table at the pub on the way home when downing a well earned pint.
Jason, Cheddar

It cured me of any desire for a career in entertainment
Dan, Leicester
I once worked as a runner on a famous, long running soap. It wasn't so much the running that got me down as the constant ego massages you were required to provide. "I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Hollywood offers you a blockbuster role." It cured me of any desire for a career in entertainment.
Dan, Leicester

I once boiled dates in a large steam kettle in Fife. We then pressed the dates in an industrial press. The resulting slurry was then bagged up and sent to the USA. Why the Americans wanted this stuff I do not know! But pouring boiling date juice into a press is one of the most unpleasant and rather dangerous things i have ever done. Luckily it was a short term contract.
Ally Binns, Glasgow, Scotland

As a summer job I popped pills! I kid you not - the company made Beta Blockers and the like, so when the machines that put them in their blister packs went wrong they employed students to pop the pills out so they could be repacked!
Gill Rickson, London

I am an accommodation manager for a large University. It is my job to look after 1,250 undergraduate bedrooms, and get them clean. Any of you who have teenage children at home probably have an idea of the problems my team face. A good sense of humour is essential.
June Taylor, Coventry

During my student days I used to make candyfloss for tourists on Weston's Grand Pier. It was fun, meeting lots of people but when the hot weather set it, mixed with high winds, the spun sugar would be blown into the face, hair, nostrils and eyes and stick, leaving me pretty uncomfortable. But after a hard day, you still left smelling sweater than when you went in!
Ben Whitwell, Weston-super-Mare

I am a Scene of Crime Officer for the Met Police, and four years into my career I still love (almost) every minute. Each day is different, I work with a great team, but the best thing is that I actually am making a difference for everyone - my job is not to make my employer richer!
Sean, London

I once had a summer job as a very specialized translator with the Canadian government. My job was to translate daily reports from the American government on the risk of forest fires in the American deserts. Needless to say the risk was always low.
Mark, St. Norbert, Canada

My job involves handling faeces, blood and occasionally pus. I get called in at crazy hours and am expected to treat each of my clients with a smile. Coffee is what I run on, sandwiches when I'm lucky. I am a junior doctor.
Hasan, Luton

You couldn't even work fast or the machine clogged
Alex, London UK
My worst job was putting the beef mince in the beefburger machine years ago. In a noisy factory you climbed three steps and put in a tray of mince which was formed into burgers for packing. You couldn't even work fast or the machine clogged. I only stayed a day and I hope now it's all done by a machine!!
Alex, London, UK

While at school I had a Saturday job in a bridal shop. The worst part of which was after brides-to-be tried on the dresses, pins, threads and other bits of fluff would fall off them on to the floor. I used to have to cover my hands in Sellotape and crawl round the floor banging my sticky hands on the carpet to make sure they had all been picked up.
Jude, Edinburgh, Scotland

I worked one summer for the local authority in Nelson Lancashire mapping sewers. The story was that the plans of the town sewerage system had been lost in a fire and whenever there was a problem they did not known where the pipes came from or went to. A whole summer of my life lifting manhole covers and peering down into the dark smelly interior to check pipe size in and out and direction of flow. Good old Job Creation, even before YTS!
Geoff Barber, Wolsingham, County Durham

Judging by your responses to date, I have a very unusual job.....9 - 5, Monday to Friday! But most unusual task was to spend 2 hours every Friday afternoon driving around my old home town trying to catch out council employees who were on the skive! A very unpopular task.....
Lloyd, Birmingham

There are lots of things which make it special for me
Renee, New York, USA
I'm a museum educator at an farm museum technically within the boundaries of New York City; it also happens to be the oldest continuously farmed land in New York State. I found the job ten years ago, when my children were small. At that point, I was looking for part-time work that would satisfy and draw together a number of my interests and in which I could use my training as a teacher. There are lots of things which make it special for me, chiefly that it combines lots of time outdoors in nature and working directly with animals with hands-on living history lessons (often in period costume!) with art, literature, science and math. I often marvel at the fact that I've got a job where roaming chickens and guinea fowl greet me as I park my car and walk onto the grounds, or a peacock might poke his head in the door as I'm preparing a workshop for visiting school kids.
Renee, New York, USA

When I go to parties and say I am a Pastry Chef people's eyes sparkle and they say 'Mmmm, You must get to try lots of tasty things'. Actually, no. Working with it cures you of any sweet tooth you may have had.
Aizlynn, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

As a young girl in Mousehole, Cornwall in the early 1950's I once had a job as an apprentice Cornish Pasty crimper. It took years of practise with Plasticine before we were allowed anywhere near the real pasties though. Oh, how we took pride in our work.
Lucinda Payne, Bristol, England

At the moment I'm responsible for finding animals for our resident taxidermist to stuff
Dan, Newcastle, UK
I'm a curatorial assistant in the museum service. There can be lots of cataloguing and cleaning dusty objects, but the work is very varied. I do some photography, help design websites and write text panels for exhibitions. At the moment I'm responsible for finding animals for our resident taxidermist to stuff for a new permanent exhibition. I've just managed to get some Canadian fishermen to catch me some arctic fish, which will hopefully be in the post before too long. Finding a dead reindeer is proving more difficult though. People I tell about this have suggested I write a letter to Santa.
Dan, Newcastle, UK

Working on the phones for a Danish Colostomy/Urostomy bag manufacturer... Every other call was someone added to a deceased list and most others were too disturbing to describe. Happy working that was. I'm now a professional photographer.
Mike, Cambs, UK

I am a Simon Cowell look-alike and have done many competitions across the country. Also been on TV umpteen times and in a pop video called Fifty Grand for Christmas which got to no. 34. Know Simon and met Sharon and Louis. Also worked with look-alikes of Sharon and Louis and Pete Waterman.
Kevin Yeandel, Macclesfield

I was a lifeguard in a sauna bath. I started out as a regular lifeguard at a swimming pool. The sauna bath was part of the pool complex. One day there was a near accident in the cold plunge pool in the sauna. The manager of the pool/sauna complex was the cautious type so he decided that someone with resuscitation skills should be on duty in the sauna. Like all lifeguards I was trained in resuscitation so I got the job for the men's sessions. I had to sit there all day surrounded by fat old blokes - it was a long way from the glamour of Bay Watch
Al, London, UK

I once spent a couple of weeks during the Easter holidays 'polishing' chocolate ducks for a very famous retailer.
Emily, London

2 years selling lorry parts, 12 years as a weapons engineer in the RAF, 3 months assembling super-precision bearings, 6 months as an IT contractor and now I'm a Network Manager in a secondary school. I've been there for 17 months and for the first time in many years I actually enjoy going to work.
Mike, UK

We had to break through a thick crust of hardened oil and grunge
James, Cork, Ireland
As a professional diver in my youth, the weirdest job I did was some pipe repairs in a huge reservoir of used cooking oil at a chip factory. The oil was jet black, and thickened up by waste potato skins. We had to break through a thick crust of hardened oil and grunge to get in and out. No amount of hosing down afterwards could get rid of the smell!
James, Cork, Ireland

My partner and I have just started our own business in which we make, design and restore stained glass windows and leaded lights. We still use the original techniques used in the 10th century AD as described by a German monk called Theophilus.
Babs, Birmingham, UK

I used to work in a theme park where I had to dress up as various characters in a haunted house and jump out at people. Best job I ever had! Could get hurt from time to time when the customers got, er, over-enthusiastic or violent! I also worked in a meat factory making gammon, which I will never eat, ever again!
Martin, Scarborough

As a student, I worked in a food canning factory on the beetroot pickling line. My job was to shovel the rotten bits of beetroot off the floor into a wheelbarrow and take it to the skip. Not only was I bright red by the end of the day, I was stung by wasps all the time. Happy days!
Edward, Cheltenham, UK

I worked in a factory that produced pre-forms for 2 litre plastic bottles (looked like medical sample jars). I had to stand by a machine that spewed them out into large crates for 12 hours at a time, changing the crate when it was full (only once every 2 hours!) Not only was I not allowed to sit down in this time, having to stand and watch the box fill, when I did come to change the box I would get a massive static shock from the warm plastic. Great fun and great memories.
Matt, Bridgnorth, Shropshire

I used to work in a flare factory as a student (that's explosives not jeans!) My job involved putting a teaspoon of gunpowder and a teaspoon of something else into a cardboard tube. We had quotas of how many we had to fill each day with the added danger that if we dropped anything, the factory would have to be evacuated!! A totally hideous, mind-numbingly boring job but I was so desperate for money that I even worked weekends...........
Sarah Wolf, Somerset, UK

My job was to make sure residents tossed their bagged garbage on the pile in an orderly manner
Al Long, Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA
I worked a few weekends one January for our ailing, dump attendant. My job was to make sure residents tossed their bagged garbage on the pile in an orderly manner. My day was mostly spent blowing on cold fingers and stamping circulation back into cold feet. The entire afternoon was used to unsuccessfully search for the bag of garbage that had a toy or music box in it that kept playing over and over "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
Al Long, Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA

Have a great job where I have to test fruit machines and pub video quiz games for a living. Have done it for 8 years now.
Christopher Phillips, Notts

I deal with emotions, spots, jokes, world issues, sex, drugs, fights, laughter, strange events, jealousy, bullying, family issues, pollution, celebrations, roll-calls, music, Justin Timberlake or 50 Cent, discipline, disgusting lunches, politics, A grades and G grades..... I'm a teacher and I love it!
Ross, UK

Whilst backpacking around Australia a couple of years ago, I posed naked for a local art club. I was awarded the handsome sum of $50 (about 21) along with some pizza and wine. Unusual for me as I would only have done that on the other side of the world!!
Jonathan Owen, Cannock, England

A great conversation stopper when meeting new people: after being asked what I do for a living I simply tell them "I make drugs". Legal ones of course! The Pharma industry is great, constantly changing and it makes you feel all gooey inside knowing that in the end you're helping a LOT of people!
Matthew Morley, Bradford, UK

I have the good fortune to have a job which encompasses both my qualifications and my hobby - I'm a multilingual web designer responsible for the editorial content of our company website, and then translating it. Oh, and I do a bit of normal translation on the side.
Darryl LeCount, Paderborn, Germany

I worked for two weeks in a sausage factory - 17 yrs old, 7am-5pm with a 30 min break putting indescribable animal parts into a huge mincer. Nice!
Adam, London

I'm a call handler for NHS Direct and I love it. You get such a mix of people and problems, and no patient is ever the same. One call can result in me calling an ambulance for anaphylactic shock and the next one can be asking advice because the patient has swallowed his fiancee's engagement ring.
Ellie, Newcastle upon Tyne

Hospital incinerator. Night shift. Two weeks. Enough said!
Matt, Ashford

I worked for 10 hours every Saturday - peeling kiwi fruits
Steve, Warrington, Cheshire
My worst job came when I was a lowly student - as most of the posters here seem to have. I worked for 10 hours every Saturday - peeling kiwi fruits! Nice. Nowadays in happier times I am still able to amaze my friends and win bets in my local because of my ability to peel one of the fruits in about five seconds flat, with the aid of a sharp knife of course and I've just realised how sad I am!
Steve, Warrington, Cheshire

Believe it or not I used to work as a 'bubble popper' routinely testing bubble wrap, by popping thousands every day, unusual? Maybe. Tedious? Definitely!
Abigail, London, UK

I drive a Park and Ride bus around town from 7am to 7pm. I simply drive in circles all day.
Will, Ipswich, UK

Have you ever wondered how those little stickers end up on apples? Well wonder no longer: we used to stick them on by hand, for 4.50 an hour. Genius.
Mike G, London, UK

I used to be a door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman in Australia, a job which has since all but died out as a result of the internet. I only did this for a month (the time required for me to work out that I was not a good salesman) but I learnt more about psychology and selling in that month than in any other period of my life. I also learnt that the average Australian was much more welcoming to strangers than we are here in the UK.
Vincent, London, UK

We had to look at all these day-old chicks and work out which were hens and which were cockerels
Roger Price, Reading, UK
As a student I worked one vacation as a chicken-sexer. We had to look at all these day-old chicks and work out which were hens and which were cockerels. Ever since, I can't eat chicken!
Roger Price, Reading, UK

I am a student and my job is to dress as a giant cheese grater in the local cheese warehouse and encourage small children to try new cheeses. I get paid very little but it's a good story to tell at parties.
Hilda Jones, UK

Last year I was a paid costumed singer at a Renaissance Festival. I was part of a group that rehearsed for weeks leading up to the festival. It was great fun and as a permanent member of the group, I will continue to work at the festival every year.
Beth, Bristow, Virginia, USA

I knew a lad who, while at uni, volunteered for an experiment in which he had to wear a t-shirt for a length of time (I forget how long, I think it was days) to see what effect his "natural odour" and pheromones would have on a group of equally specially selected girls who had to sniff his t-shirt. I did not volunteer to be a "sniffer".
Corran, Newcastle, UK

I worked one summer in a cucumber-growing greenhouse
Eloise, Essex
When I was at university I worked one summer in a cucumber-growing greenhouse just outside Hull. It was mind-numbingly boring, always too hot and the cucumber plants were spiky and left little plant-like splinters in your hands. The pay was 3.50 per hour (this was only about 5 years ago) but all the permanent staff stayed there because they thought the money was 'so good'. Awful.
Eloise, Essex

I've had some fairly varied jobs, including working in a pot-pourri factory (always went home smelling nice), working on a Muppet movie and working on telephone chat-line advertising! I am currently in a complaints call centre for 3 UK rail companies. There's never a dull day, but I do find myself getting insulted more than ever before!
Julian Sturges, Cambridge

I'm a librarian in a small local library. This might not sound interesting at first, however in the last week (among many other things) I've photocopied someone's hands, made African rainmakers, found out all about lip reading classes, helped 22 five year olds with their sponge painting, and tried to translate a sentence into Mandarin. And it's been a quiet week!
Fi, Birmingham, England

When I was at college I worked for 3 weeks in the summer at engineering company my dad worked for. As I was not skilled, there was limited stuff I could do. Of all the things I did the most boring had to be the removal of the little "pips" from the end of tiny rollers. I would load 100 of these all by hand into a plate and then grind the little pips off. The loading would take 20 mins per plate and then only 2 secs to grind them off... soul destroying
Sam, Grays, England

My job was to stand next to the onion chopping machine
Ben, London
Similar to some of the other posters here, as a student I worked on a factory line. My job was to stand next to the onion chopping machine and make sure that the onions were the right way up as they went in. Stunning boredom, too noisy to talk to my colleague (yes apparently this demanding task required two people!) and the constant sting of onions in your eyes.
Ben, London

I used to work for a huge advertising company and once, when filming the "pack shot" for M&Ms had to spend about 2 hours sticking bright little white "M"s onto the sweets so they would show when shot tumbling through the air. Fun. Not.
CCC, England

The reactions I get when I tell people what I do are always amusing. As a female construction manager I get the full range of reactions from the 'she must be a lesbian' look to the 'oh dear watch out for the feminist' scared look from men. Ok so I have to wear ugly shoes and a very bad looking hat, but I spend my day outside and one day is never the same as the next. I couldn't see myself as an office monkey, even if you do get heated offices in the winter and indoor toilets!
Jill, Scotland

I used to earn 2.50 a night as a chicken catcher. It was quite easy because, they went to sleep as soon as the lights were turned out. I've also worked as a daffodil picker. It was very similar to chicken catching but smelt nicer.
Ed Heaver, Wrexham, Wales

I used to work at a bottle factory, where the day consisted of sitting at the end of a conveyor belt packing the bottles as they came over the edge. The bottles were all the same shape and colour, depending on which belt you were on. The highlight of the job was to sneak one of your bottles onto someone else's conveyor belt to see their face when this different coloured bottle appeared. Needless to say I soon left and went back to college, and now have a degree and work as an engineer. I guess I owe it all to the bottle factory.
Steve, Cambridge, UK

For twelve weeks and on nights I used to check the bacteria levels in a new sewage plant. Gave me extra money for holidays but I would not recommend it.
Steve K, Worcester, England

I'm a freelance visualiser in advertising. I draw scenes, people, situations etc in a vaguely comic-book style for clients to see what their advertising agency has in mind, before they go to the expense of having a photographer take the final pictures. I really enjoy it, even if a lot of the work involves doing the same old scenes for different agencies. The money's good, but the work could be a little more regular, and you don't get any of the perks of full-time employment, like holiday pay or benefits. I sort of fell into the job after leaving art college, previously I had no idea such a role existed.
Rob, London UK

I used to work as a bilingual telephonist for the world's biggest producer of plastic covers for cash register keyboards. You'd be amazed at how many we sold!!
Paul, Isle of Man

When I was at university my mum got me a job at our local chicken factory. I had to stand on the production line and as dead, de-feathered chickens came past me I had to stuff bags of giblets into their carcasses. The worst job ever - but I stuck it out for two months! Amazing!!
David, Redditch, UK

My two worst jobs ever - read and weep:

1) 'glue checker and folding monitor' for a cardboard box factory, where my production line pumped out flat-pack boxes destined for more glamorous workshops.

2) 'ham honey roaster'. Oh yes - wrestling a 7 foot roll of processed ham to a morgue-like table to then glaze it with a special varnish, then blow-torch the beastly serpent for that 'authentic taste'!!!
Henry, Watford

I had problems at a job club here in London in 1988. We had to list our previous jobs. The organiser of the job club wouldn't believe it when I put one job description down as "Faggot Baller". This is true because I used to ball faggots (meatballs of a kind), for a famous brand, then put them on trays for cooking.
W P Derbyshire, London

If I ever get famous enough to write my autobiography, I shall name it after one of my school day Saturday jobs: "I Was A Teenage Tripe Packer". Ten tones of tripe on a Saturday, now, that was a cold, wet job!
JG, Huddersfield, UK

In the dim and distant past I was an animal keeper - doing parrot shows 5 times a day then scrubbing flamingo ponds or feeding vitamins in fish to dolphins at Windsor Safari park - (now Legoland). Those were the days. Now work in an office - got more sense from the parrots than the humans I work with now.
Berni, Slough

I had to test thousands each day
Daron Harris, Llangernyw, Conwy
I used to work for a well known bottled water supplier. My job was to stand next to a conveyor belt as plastic cups of water went flying past and to check each one to see if the top was on each cup! I had to test thousands each day - truly the worse job ever!
Daron Harris, Llangernyw, Conwy

I convert cine film to DVD. Mostly the films are run of the mill family stuff, but now and again you get, Grandad's, ah, very personal home movies which can be a bit of a shock to the adult children who didn't own a projector and couldn't check beforehand.
Therion Ware, Stevenage, UK

When I was doing A-levels, I used to work in a packing factory sticking stickers on Barbie doll boxes for a living. Gave me a real inventive to carry on at school and do a usable degree at uni!
Tom, Cambs, UK

I used to be the "wringer-out" for the village window cleaner who lost one arm in a factory accident.
Paul, Sileby, Nr Loughborough

I develop computer games for a living, which in real terms means that one day I could be designing a new kind of plasma rifle, and the next I'll be re-creating the inside of a shark in photo real detail. How's that for variety!
Kaye, Leeds, UK

None of my jobs have been boring
Barry Lowry, London, UK
My first job (in the 1970's) was in an R&D lab making duplicator (remember them) inks. My second job (in the 1980's) was as a technical editor on computer software/hardware directories. My current job is a web programmer for an airport parking company. None of my jobs have been boring, each has added friends and experiences that have enriched my life.
Barry Lowry, London, UK

My best friend tried to recruit me to the phone sex chat company that she worked for when we were at university. She made surprisingly good money chatting with lonely men, pretending to be whatever they wanted her to be. I couldn't read the manuscripts without cracking up laughing though, so I never got the job!
Christine, UK

My first job after leaving school was working alongside a lumberjack. My job was to stack the logs from the trees that he cut down, all day for 10 hours, with a one hour lunch break. Two sizes of logs - one for fence posts and one for paper pulp. Very dull! Lasted a couple of weeks.
Dave Wilson, Manchester, UK

In my student days I used to take part in police ID parades for extra money. Thankfully I was never mistaken for a criminal!
Ms B, Oxford

I work in the wonderful world of independent cinema. By law, a day's filming cannot be longer than twelve hours. Of course, what this means in practice is that the art department and the location department all need to be on set several hours before it starts and have to be on hand to tidy up after it finishes. On my last film, working as a location assistant, I routinely left home at five in the morning and didn't get back until one in the morning. And all this for five weeks for no pay! There is nothing glamorous about film-making, but at least the amount of work means that only people with a genuine passion end up working in the industry.

Way back in a period of total skint-dom, I took a job in a box factory. The kind of place that makes decorative boxes for perfume bottles and the like. My job was to take the boxes off the conveyor belt after the fancy paper had been stuck on, and smooth out the air bubbles in the paper. I kid ye not. Lasted about 2 weeks before I quit!
Lisa, Surrey, UK

When my brother used to live on a farm I used to visit him and help in the chicken shed picking eggs. When I would go to bed I close my eyes and see chickens and eggs all night. Very bizarre!
James, Luton

I used to test toothpaste for a living, and part of it was to do a taste test. Not quite so good as wine tasting, but I had the best teeth in town!
Dave, York, UK

I am also rainforest explorer, a go-go dancer, star ship captain, worshipped as a demi-god by little known tribes in South America, oh what the heck, by everyone in the Universe!.....then I wake up and remember that I am a 'desk jockey' in an office full of miserable people just like me going round and round and round.
Zach Rathore, Manchester UK

I'm a fully qualified Engineer, Builder and Accountant, I've done telesales, shelf stacking, filling boxes, delivering yellow pages, administration, grounds keeper, credit control, administration for the MOD, water purification, labouring, pot washing, customer services, worked in a petrol station, worked in a ladies lingerie store, barman and now work for a multi billion dollar company debt collecting and now thinking of leaving and going into bar management. But I'm not yet decided on what career path i really want to take, but my options are open i like to think.
Spencer, Surrey

I did a few stints as a silent movie pianist
Maria, Glasgow
When I was a student in the early nineties I did a few stints as a silent movie pianist at the Glasgow Film Theatre. I would usually get to see the film once in advance and my performances were entirely improvised. I've since swapped my piano keyboard for a computer keyboard, where my skills are rather more in demand, but I'd love to do it again some time.
Maria, Glasgow

My family have been building wire wheels for vintage racing cars for twenty five years, having previously made water wheels, steam engines, canal boats and chip shop ranges. (Just to boast, I'm escaping this to medical school in two weeks time)

I suppose it's quite unusual, I design, print and encode access and ID cards for use with security access systems. You should see some of the miserable faces I have to look at, so many people hate having their photo taken that it can really get depressing some days. But otherwise, it can be really interesting.
Elaine, Letchworth Garden City UK

I work as a Complaints Manager in the NHS. Most people wince and shudder when I let them know. All I can say is that they can never begin to imagine the worst of it. Why should they? I never grasped the enormity of what I was taking on!
Ed, London, England

I've recently moved on, but my job use to be counting the country's money in HM Treasury. Rather boring, but unusual since only seven people in the whole country did that job. It's not the sort of job you'll find advertised anywhere either and I ended up in it after working elsewhere in Treasury. For some reason people were always really impressed when I told them what I did.
Joseph, UK

I used to raise chipmunks on a farm near Winchester. At one point we had the European record for breeding the most chipmunks in captivity.
Rod Watson, Winchester, Hants

Before joining the civil service, I spent a few months working in a maggot farm in Dumfries. The stench was appalling and my wife insisted on me having two baths every night. That was the worst job I ever had... the civil service is paradise by comparison!
Bill Stitt, Edinburgh, Lothian

Nope - I have a generic office job - the desk version of stacking supermarket shelves. And I absolutely detest it... Anyone looking for an Environment graduate in the London area?!
Dave, London, UK

I am a mind-reading, clairvoyant who can acquire new skills without training - instantly, multi-task and survive on half to a third of the salary of my co-workers. Yes, I am a school secretary!
Judith, Bury, Lancs


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