SURVEY SAYS – What's Your Oddest Job?

October 29, 2008 ( - A couple of weeks ago, I asked NewsDash readers about their oddest job(s).

Now, since then I have been trying to figure out some creative way to group/categorize the results, some way to put some “order” to what, as it turns out, is a pretty random list.   I even thought about having readers rank them – but, let’s face it – “odd” is a matter of many individualistic things.

There were a few that stood out as responses, if not jobs:

“No odd jobs- just odd bosses! :)”

“I guess I’ve lived a very boring life–my jobs have frequently been exciting but never odd.”

“Can’t say I’ve had many   – 7 years on a grounds crew at two golf courses – 22 years as a pension actuary:   As a result of PPA changes impacting plans, AFTAPs, notices, market conditions, … it might be time to get back in shape and see what courses are hiring.”

But this survey’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “ mean there is something odder than the retirement business?”

So, with apologies for the delay in sharing this information, let me again thank all of you that were willing to share your prior experiences – shared in a somewhat random order on the following pages.

  • Working at the DragonCon Science Fiction Convention.   Talk about odd.
  • Worked at a movie/TV/Commercial preview theatre--mostly we tested commercials on people but we conned them that we were testing TV shows
  • While in high school, I worked in a factory that made "atheletic supporters." They were all marked XL.
  • mean there is something odder than the retirement business?
  • Well the job itself wasn't odd (Director of HR), only the company - a doctor who invented a golf training device and decided to start a golf & science training institute with one year's worth of capital and no willingness to let the experts he hired run his business.   Talk about a bomb - it still echos in my ears.
  • USNPS Park Ranger as a tour guide down the Washington Monument Steps.   Also the most fun.
  • Trained a mentally challenged individual not to urinate on the sidewalk at bus stops
  • The oddest job I've ever had was as a census taker in the 2000 census.
  • Summer job picking night crawlers
  • Strawberry picker
  • Staple puller and microfilmer for the CIA
  • Sorry - No odd ones..
  • Sexton at my church when I was 15. Every Saturday I cleaned bathrooms and mopped floors for 3 hours.
  • Selling miscellaneous business supplies like the pink urinal cakes! Glad I turned it down!!
  • Selling China dish sets.   No further comment will be offered on that subject.
  • Sales clerk in seafood section of local grocery store (had fun pis.sing off the lobsters)...
  • Putting the stickers on medical records files -- 50,000 of them
  • Pump watcher - had to watch a submersible pump in an underground mine (for 8 hours at a time) so it didn't run out of water, as any air getting into the line might have blown a pipe connection on the 10,000+ foot run to the surface.
  • Pizza cook at Shakey's Pizza
  • Phoned snow conditions to major radio stations in Northeast for a ski area in Vermont at 7 AM each day -- did that for about 3 months until they decided I had a less than ideal radio voice and was promoted to Director of Lodging!
  • Pasting small pieces of paper onto an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper in preparation for microfiching.   JOY!
  • paid to lick stamps to put on envelopes at $.02 a stamp.
  • Oddest and dirtiest was as a teen when I worked a few weeks one summer as a corn de-tasseler.    You walked up and down the rows of corn to remove the tassle from the cornstalk to make 'female' corn for creating seed corn.
  • Nothing too strange. I did very briefly sell Encyclopedia Britanicas
  • Nothing that could tap "yawn counter at a sleep clinic".
  • Nothing odd.   But you'll see a lot of them if you watch "Dirty Jobs" on t.v. with host Mike Rowe!
  • Not able to say - it's NSFW!!! (Not safe for work)
  • No odd jobs- just odd bosses! 🙂
  • No "odd jobs"
  • Night shift at a Krispy Kreme donut factory in Columbus, Ohio -   hand-dipping donuts into glaze as they passed by on an assembly line similar to the one made famous by Lucille Ball and Ethel.   Long before Krispy Kreme became famous for the machine that replaced us.
  • Monitoring and certifying gate receipts at a boxing match.
  • I've had a couple strange ones.   At one job I plotted hazardous waste shipments on a landfill map.   Another I disposed of morphine ampules left over from World War II.   I also had a job interview that was done in a car while we drove around town doing errands...and yes, I was offered and accepted the job.
  • Isn't working with defined contribution plans odd enough?
  • In the US Army - potato peeler.
  • In college, I worked for the local IRS office doing data entry of tax returns. My favorite job description (and a surprisingly common one) was "turkey sexer."
  • In 8th and 9th grade I made hot tamales for a guy who sold them out of his car on the side of the road.
  • I worked in a book binding company after high school and before college.   A conveyer belt brought down the center of our work table school books that had been written in, abused, torn.   We had to tape up the torn pages, erase anything that could be erased, and sand the edges.   I sat at the wrong end of the table so I got the worst of the books.   Needless to say i quit that job after a week.
  • I worked for Rent-a-Husband...   We did yardwork only.
  • I worked at a grocery store chain in high school.   Every Christmas, the store manager asked me to write up some kind of poem to involve all departments to hang in the break room.   One year it was in the style of "The Night Before Christmas," another year it was a parody of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and so on.   Why was this my job?   I made the manager laugh during my initial interview, so he labeled me the creative one.
  • I was supposed to count the number of times our candidates for president gave a straight answer. I quit that job becasue I had nothing to do. Now, I'm busy....I   count the number of times they change their positions to meet the moment.
  • I was offered the honor of being one of those people who offer samples in the grocery store - I just didn't think I was up to the task.
  • I was offered a last-minute job by a tour operator to act as a "guide" on a tour of Russia, even though I had never been there, didn't speak (or read) the language, and had no clue what guides did!   I respectfully declined.
  • I was hired by a non-profit group on my college campus back in 1990 (at the height of the AIDS discussion) to distribute free condoms to students. The job was only temporary, lasting just a couple of days.
  • I was a dog washer at a doggie "clip joint".
  • I was a dispatcher for the annual phone book distribution - for about 4 hours.   The setup was so disorganized, with (1) nobody evidently in charge and (2) nobody willing to listen to my ideas, I left at lunch and didnt' return.
  • I used to run the cattle chute at team roping events/rodeos.
  • I used to get paid to "Narc" gas stations. The agency I worked for would send me to attempt to buy beer or cigarettes. If the cashier didn't ask for ID it would get reported to the company that owned the stations. If the cashier did ask they would get an extra $10 in their pay check.
  • I typed names on nametags at the swine equipment expo when I was in college in Iowa!   As a city girl, it was amazing to see how big a pig can get.
  • I suppose that working runway security for the Chippendales during a ladies lock up night would qualify as odd.     The security jobs I've turned down were;   working security for a barmarijuana parlor in Amsterdam,   heading security for a biker's disco in Nice,   and working as the supply clerk for a mercenary group that patrolled the OmanYemen border (they assured me that the chances of getting shot at were very small).
  • I stacked cheese in a cheese factory....
  • I sold Bible dictionaries door to door in the 70's.
  • I once spent a summer working on a honey bee farm, extracting the honey from the hives and wrapping honey candy pieces.   It was a hot, messy, dirty job, but I was only stung once!
  • I never really had an odd job but on one remodeling job I had years ago it somehow became my task to get one of the customers daughters dropped off at a local college for her first class while one of their family cars was in the shop.   A pure case of the boss believeing customer first.
  • i haven't - sadly i have not .....
  • I guess I've lived a very boring life--my jobs have frequently been exciting but never odd.
  • I guess I've led a boring life - no odd jobs!
  • I "once" took a job "monkey-sitting" a neighbor's pet while they were on vacation, the operative word being "once".
  • Hmmm... I once worked in a car's where I learned to drive.     But the job with the most variety was when I was a research technologist for the University of South Alabama Medical School.   Learned lots of stuff there.   Won't share what all I did as it would gross and offend some people, but it was all in the pursuit of science!
  • Handing out popcorn to kids in the mall while dressed as a giant hot dog.
  • Got paid to pull sea weeds out of the lake.    $50 a day for floating on a raft and pulling weeds.
  • fork lift truck salesWOMAN
  • For me it was working at a State Fair taking tickets for rides.
  • excavation of an indian burial mound as a summer job in college.
  • During highschool - "Tray Girl" at a local hospital - someone has to assemble the food on the trays and deliver them to the patients!
  • Dropped loads of ads onto stacks of newpapers on a conveyor belt seconds before they were bundled together to be delivered to the paperboys.
  • Door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesperson.   I think I lasted one week.   After that waiting tables seemed like a dream job.
  • Detasseling corn
  • Day camp counselor where I had on kid throw up every morning for 8 weekes in the car and all this for the magnificent sum of $35 a week! ANY I have had since then looks real good! It was nice to get the worst out of the way early in my career!
  • Corrections Officer.   It was my first job after college.
  • Cleaning tulip bulbs for a flower farm.
  • Cleaned bathrooms at a College Campus bar.   Talk about Dirty Jobs!!
  • car wash/dry cleaner/laundromat
  • Can't say I've had many   - 7 years on a grounds crew at two golf courses - 22 years as a pension actuary:   As a result of PPA changes impacting plans, AFTAPs, notices, market conditions, ... it might be time to get back in shape and see what courses are hiring
  • Being a supervisor of adult employees is always fun.   The job description should say, "glorified babysitter".
  • At 16 years old, I was a receptionist at a dating service -- and after just a few months on the job, they actually promoted me to a sales position.   Imagine a 16-year old selling dating services - what the heck were they thinking???
  • Assembly line worker (assembling sandwiches in refrigerated warehouse - 1986 summer job)
  • AM-shift banquet busboy for a regional discount hotel chain.   Ugh.
  • After graduating Summa Cum Laude with my bachelor's degree in business, I was offered a job in a car rental company's "Management Training Program" -- washing cars!
  • Actuary
  • 1st job - Frying egg rolls at a fast food "Chinese" stand and the mall ....THAT didn't last long.   (Although lately I've been feeling that it's out of the frying pan and into the fire!)