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Old 04-20-2010, 07:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
Kick Ass Kunoichi
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Location: Oregon
Most Interesting Job You've Ever Had?

I made a cursory check of past threads before starting this one and found nothing, but I honestly couldn't recall if we'd discussed this or not. If we have, I'm pretty sure it's been years.

What is the most interesting job you've had?

Personally, I worked making fruit leather for a summer when I was 21. My parents moved to rural Washington from where I went to high school in Oregon when I was 20. The previous year at university had been a mixed bag, living situation wise, and so I moved in with my parents for the summer, eager to get away from my college town. The understanding was, of course, that if I wanted to live with my parents over the summer, I had to have gainful employment. One of the major employers in the area was (is) a fruit leather factory. I put in an application there and was hired on fairly quickly.

What is fruit leather? Yes, it's like a fruit roll-up, but better. The fruit leather company I worked for makes theirs from fruit puree (apple as a base, other fruit purees depending on the flavor being made). There are no artificial additives. Some flavors require additional flavoring, such as the mango fruit leather, but the flavoring is natural mango flavor.

I worked in the packaging room. The average day consisted of showing up for my shift at 6:30am, clocking in, washing my hands with the rest of the packaging team, and then going into the packaging room. Once in the room, we would be assigned to stations by our team manager. One person would grab trays of dried fruit leather off of a massive cart (the carts, fully loaded, weighed as much as a VW Beetle), and put them down on a roller table adjacent to the line. Another person would run a special paddle along the edges of the fruit leather to loosen it from the tray. The third person, directly next to the line, would pull the fruit leather up off of the tray, stack it like a deck of cards, and then more or less deal it like cards into the packaging line, which had slots for the pieces of fruit leather. The line would then carry the fruit leather through the packaging machine. On the other side, another person would count out the number of pieces of fruit leather needed for the size of box being packed. This person would also check for defects in the packaging. Further down the line, another person would put the fruit leather in the correct packaging. Then, another person would put them in a larger box to be put on a pallet. The pallets would then go off to shipping and receiving. We operated two lines, each with two roller tables extending off of either side of the line, four people surrounding each table, and one person fetching trays for each side. We blasted a lot of awesome music, and always had a great time belting out "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond as a crew.

Fruit leather is a hot, sticky business. Although I only worked in the packaging room, you had to walk through the production area to get to the packaging room. In production, heavy-gauge nonstick trays (much like cookie sheets) would go under a machine that would lay a strip of flavored fruit puree on the tray. These trays would then go on the above-mentioned carts. The carts would then go into a dryer, where the fruit leather would lose a certain percentage of its moisture. This was closely monitored for product quality--too dry and the fruit leather breaks apart. After the dryer, the fruit leather would go into a cooler, mostly to make them easier for us to handle. Sometimes carts would not get as much time in the cooler, and so us packaging workers would have to wrestle with sticky fruit leather.

I made bank that summer. The United States apparently loves fruit leather, and since I was on the "flex team", I often got the opportunity to stay late and work overtime. At the end of the day, nothing felt better than washing off the grease and stickiness from my skin.

So, the next time you bite into a piece of fruit leather, know that it was made with care! The people I worked with really love their product. Additionally, the company I worked for is a major employer in their area, a very impoverished part of Washington State, and they provide a lot of good jobs for people who need them. Despite the fact that fruit leather is sweet, it's also good for you. There's no added sugar, it has fiber and vitamins, and it's portable. Next time you need something to curb your sweet tooth, try some fruit leather. Seriously!

So that is my interesting work experience-what's yours?
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
Very Insignificant Pawn
Location: Amsterdam, NL
From late 1979 into 1983 I was living in San Francisco (again).
Besides working in electronics I was also working as a jazz musician.
One of the sub-sets I was involved with was "Dixieland", roughly speaking.

Anyway, a street band I worked with regularly (Medicine Ball Jazz Band)
Got a gig in San Jose playing Big Mac's 14th birthday party for managers of MacDonalds.

To make it short, we had to follow a cart with a birthday cake and play "Happy
Birthday" Dixie style.

This took place in a conference room in a big hotel. The brilliant manager who
thought of this routine bought the cheapest sparklers he could get and put
fourteen of them on the cake. He eventually got them lit. We start playing as
the cake is rolled into the conference room.

The sparklers were giving off so much smoke that alarms went off throughout the
hotel and everybody had to evacuate. We played about one minute.
How to impress your bosses, indeed! We were paid and laughed all the way home.

Playing warmup for Rod Stewart (who requested strolling Dixieland) in the Cow
Palace we moved through the bleachers packed with perhaps thousands of 14 year
old girls totally ignoring us. I'd like to do that again.

Last edited by flat5; 04-20-2010 at 08:40 AM..
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
Minion of Joss
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Location: The Windy City
Honestly, the best and most interesting job I ever had was the summer in between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I worked as a cataloguer for a used and rare bookstore (he specialized in Judaica, bibles, and Holocaust literature and documentation). This would've been 1990, if I recall right, and said bookseller was getting his rare book inventory onto a computer database for the first time ever. So, no only did I have to evaluate all of his rare book holdings, but also his new acquisitions as they came in. It was like a piece of heaven. I was in the quiet back room of the shop, listening to my favorite music on my Sony Walkman, and the only worky part of the work was entering the data into a cheap-ass database program on a Mac Classic II.

The bulk of my time was spent examining rare books and documents. Some highlights included a 1536 bible from Germany: one of the second printing of Luther's new translation. It was magnificent. I also evaluated a collection of legal documents, evidence, and case notes compiled by the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials. A couple of the case notes included notations penned by Justice Jackson, and by Attorney Taylor. I looked at a first edition of Theodor Herzl's Alteneuland (The Old New Land, Herzl's vision of a Jewish State that really propelled Zionism into a worldwide Jewish movement). I examined a tractate of Talmud from the collection of the Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilnius, 18th century, a HUGE figure in Jewish history). I held a memorandum from the office of Adolf Eichmann, cosigned by Heinrich Himmler: a sickeningly chilling experience. And, in the less Jewish areas, I also looked through first editions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Stoker's Dracula, and W.B. Yeat's The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. And those are just the highlights I recall off the top of my head.

God, that was a magical summer. If I could have made a living doing it, I would've done that for the rest of my life....
Dull sublunary lovers love,
Whose soul is sense, cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
That thing which elemented it.

(From "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne)
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: My House
Art Gallery Registrar, and all that that entails, how I miss that job and the Director.

I love, love, love fruit leather, so do my boys. I will look for this brand, it sounds delicious, especially the mango, yum. Always looking for a good and healthy snack for the wild two.
you can tell them all you want but it won't matter until they think it does

p.s. I contradict my contradictions, with or without intention, sometimes.
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
Kick Ass Kunoichi
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Location: Oregon
Originally Posted by Idyllic View Post
Art Gallery Registrar, and all that that entails, how I miss that job and the Director.

I love, love, love fruit leather, so do my boys. I will look for this brand, it sounds delicious, especially the mango, yum. Always looking for a good and healthy snack for the wild two.
They also make a fruit leather called Fruitabu.
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
Getting it.
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Super Moderator
Location: Lion City
Working for a television channel buying and programming content.

I still can't believe people pay me to do this.
"My hands are on fire. Hands are on fire. Ain't got no more time for all you charlatans and liars."
- Old Man Luedecke
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
Une petite chou
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Location: With All Your Base
I freaking love Stretch Island fruit leather. Apricot is my favorite.

I've had two really awesome jobs...

My first job was officially "Animal Caretaker"... 15 snakes, 7 turtles, three tortoises, 4 iguanas, 3 ferrets, a bajillion tanks of mice, and one tarantula. My job was to feed them, bathe as appropriate, oversee cleaning of tanks/environments/etc, teach kids about them and assist in the kids' hands-on museum where I worked. Only got bit by a snake once, by an iguana once, and whacked in the head with an iguana tail a hundred times. I loved what I did, but I had an asshole boss, and at age 16, I was no match for him.

My second most awesome job was Camp Counselor at Boggy Creek Gang Camp in the middle of Bumfuck, Florida for 10 weeks, two summers in a row. This is a camp for kids with chronic and life-threatening illness. 120-hour work weeks, one night off during the week. Dancing, art-and-crafts, boating-and-fishing, equestrian center, nature center, archery (hell yeah!), sports-n-rec, library time... you name it. I never climbed the tower or did the zip line with the kids, but I did have oatmeal shoved in my ears, got painted with pudding and/or tempera paint, acted on stage in dress-up, did cheers, and drank enough Newman's Own Lemonade to kill my stomach. I love that place to this day. Paul Newman was a god in this setting. Hole in the Wall Camps are amazing... I'd highly recommend them to anyone.
Here's how life works: you either get to ask for an apology or you get to shoot people. Not both. House

Originally Posted by Plan9
Just realize that you're armed with smart but heavily outnumbered.
The question isnít who is going to let me; itís who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
I have eaten the slaw
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Stealing food from bullet ants.

We'd find bullet ant nests (often by their distinctive smell, as they were poorly marked) and wait for foragers returning from the canopy. Then we'd grab an ant with forceps, pull the prey from between its mandibles and deposit it in a scintillation vial. If it was carrying a nectar droplet, we would collect that in a capillary tube, all while the ant is stridulating and struggling and flicking its stinger out. After collecting the sample, we'd drop the ant near the entrance to its nest and watch it stomp off (yes, stomp). And we would do all this while trying (occasionally unsuccessfully) to avoid being stung.
And you believe Bush and the liberals and divorced parents and gays and blacks and the Christian right and fossil fuels and Xbox are all to blame, meanwhile you yourselves create an ad where your kid hits you in the head with a baseball and you don't understand the message that the problem is you.
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Daytona Beach, FL
It would probably have to be a summer job I took when I was a junior in high school, cleaning our local YMCA at night. God-awful job, but it was one of those jobs that paid under-the-counter, and I think I worked a grand total of 3 hours a night cleaning the place, and that was it. So, I took the good with the bad.

I'm much happier at my current job!
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
...is a comical chap
Grasshopper Green's Avatar
Location: Where morons reign supreme
I love Fruit Leather - and I'm with noodle, apricot is the best.

Sadly, I have never had a job that I would consider interesting, so I'll share a job my brother once had instead.

He moved to the middle of nowhere Montana and spent the summer peeling the bark off of trees for an experimental medicine. It was a complete pain in the ass to remove. He was 10 miles from anything and no one had a car, so they'd sit around at night and smoke and play cards. It was at the job my brother first played a guitar; after that summer, you never saw him without it. It was also at this job he started smoking pot and cigarettes. My mom got pissed about the cigarettes.
"They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings; steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king"

Formerly Medusa
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
Location: Earth

Last edited by raptor9k; 09-07-2021 at 10:12 AM..
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
Location: at home
Mine would be dog-sitting, all I had to do was to be in the apartment. I was very handy when studying for exams.
Sodomy non sapiens. : I'm buggered if I know
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
I loved running cable.

Climbing telephone poles, battling tight spaces in the deepest assholes of the nastiest houses I've ever seen in my life, same for the attics, same for the crawlspaces below houses/trailers, etc etc.

I drilled so many holes in so many peoples houses. Some of the houses were 5+ million dollars worth of house, and I drilled holes in those fuckers, too. From the attic down, from the crawlspace up, from the inside out, and from the outside in.

I saw drug deals go wrong right infront of me, I saw lots of domestic violence, saw lots of Houston's wards.. I got to see something that really confused me, too..

New neighborhoods with brand new houses that are pretty decent.. EXCEPT, the entire neighborhood is filled with black people that came straight out of a rap video about crack, prostitutes, and "thug life!".

Makes me wonder, "How, ya'll, did Tyrone Biggums get a brand new house, two brand new vehicles, brand new clothes, and brand new cable when he is still dealing drugs out of his FUCKING DRIVEWAY?"

I dunno, but he didn't have any weed or anything else I might be interested in, so I just hooked up his cable and left before I got robbed.

Couple of instances where I was really considering shooting someone.. Here's one.

I was hooking up cable for another group of "social setbacks" (someone who is in every sense of the word, a leach on society) when their neighbor drove over with his friend and loudmouthed wife in two vehicles and boxed my truck in. I thought, "Shit, I'm going to have to shoot these people."

They were complaining about their service not working, but they were with AT&T, so I very unpolitely suggested that they get the fuck away from my truck, and call AT&T to deal with their shit, and to not ever scare someone like that again because, shit.. Don't mess with a man's truck, especially not when he's carrying 20k worth of equipment in the fucking ghetto.

A man in the ghetto must be armed and alarmed.

I was making about 70k a year at that job. Bossman ran it into the ground with imported labor. My job went from awesome to nightmare in just a couple of days.

It aint fun cleaning up the messes of 35 "professional" technicians that don't know how to do their jobs. Especially when not being compensated for the work being done, gas being spent, etc etc.

Last edited by WinchesterAA; 04-22-2010 at 08:47 AM..
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interesting, job

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