A mostly untold story of odd jobs past
By Kitty Hannah on November 16, 2013
When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I experimented with many jobs, out of necessity, out of curiosity, and – at least once – out of sheer ignorance.
Below is a non-exhaustive sample of some of my previous occupations in Germany, England, France, Scotland, Switzerland, and beyond. Unless related to media and journalism – an affliction I've nursed for the last decade – those seldom feature on my resume.
- part-time librarian: during my first year of college, I worked part-time in the English department library, which was a complete shambles of mostly uncatalogued books. In a box under a table, I came across the ode to one man's penis that is Portnoy's Complaint. Reading it back in my dorm room, I kept blushing.
- greengrocer: I went to Hamburg as part of my degree course. When I got there, I realized I didn't have enough money to make ends meet so I begged my local greengrocer for a job. Besides work, he also used to give me free produce and I ate like rabbit royalty for three months.
- news traffic herder: my first job out of college was with a public media organization and involved big headphones with a mike that I would wear for up to 12 hours at a time, talking to correspondents around the world. During my time there, Princess Diana died, and so did Mother Theresa.
- trilingual call center agent: I had no idea what a call center was and only applied because it was a linguist job. I answered calls in English, French, and German for a well-known computer manufacturer, and once had the pleasure of chatting to Sacha Distel about his mouse.
- adult channels corporate sales: my one short-lived foray into the world of commercial television that culminated in standing in an editing suite in Amsterdam while hardcore porn was playing on multiple screens. Everyone was yawning, all the time. I was borderline catatonic.
- magic mushroom seller: two friends had a fresh magic mushrooms shop in London's Camden Market and I occasionally ran it so they could go to festivals. The smell was atrocious. I was the squarest person they knew, and the only one with zero interest in the merchandise. When the ban on magic mushrooms became law, their business folded.
- toilet and boiler reviewer: I was a trade press journalist for a while. Besides building materials and assorted hardware, I also dealt with housewares, writing snazzy features with titles such as "A New Dawn on Breakfast". A PR company once sent me a brick then called every day for weeks to enquire about the wellbeing of said brick.
- tour director: passengers, planes, buses, hotels, restaurants. Rinse and repeat until you forget your name. ER, swine flu, food poisoning, no deaths. I was once assaulted by a paparazzi in the employ of Germany's most famous tabloid. I punched him in the lens before calling the cops.
What the weirdest job you've had? Please do tell...
[photo credit: The Golden Boy, by jameson42 on Flickr]