The best job I’ve ever had was cleaning deep fryers at McDonald’s at 4:30 in the morning. By “best,” I don’t mean most pleasant. Each morning, I would take a filtration device (basically a heavy bucket with a filter, on wheels) up to each deep fryer, empty the fryer’s oil into it and, while it churned away, I would scrub the sides and bottom of the fryer. After the filter was done working, I would pump the filtered oil back into the fryer and turn on the heating element to prepare it for that day’s cooking.
By the end of this process, which took about an hour, I smelled like a combination of old French fries and fish filets, and I had at least one new burn per week. After finishing this job, I was expected to start up the grills and prep for breakfast service.
It was greasy, hot, and deeply unpleasant work, but in a very important way it was the best job I’ve ever had because those mornings are what I thought about in future jobs when things seemed bad. Scrubbing deep fryers will always remind me to keep a healthy perspective about work. Now, as a stay-at-home dad, even my worst day is better than cleaning those fryers, because that job was terrible.
I think I was about 10 when my folks started sending me out to mow the neighbor’s yards.* I was about 12 when I got my paper route, and maybe 14 the first time I started working on a farm, be it picking strawberries, or bucking hay, or worst of all, cleaning out silage.
And of course, the entry level job of 11B isn’t exactly all skittles and beer.
What was your worst job, and what did you learn from it?