Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Shit Jobs

It is now 5 years since I have had what I like to term as a 'shit job'. A 'shit job' is a job you cannot bare to go to but have to in order to pay for essentials - food, shelter, legal fees. It is my primary ambition to never have to do another 'shit job' again. My last 'shit job' was in a call centre.

I spent two and a half years at that call centre trying to persuade people to give more money to various charities. The way it worked was this - I worked for a company that was hired by different charities to either persuade people who had already donated to donate on a monthly basis or to persuade those that did give monthly to give more. One part of me felt that I was helping charities to get vital funding. The other felt like I was bullying old ladies into giving me their biscuit money.

Animal charity supporters were the most mental. A friend once asked one if he had any pets. "No" he replied. Then after a pause "...well, I've got a dog?". One elderly lady picked up the phone to one of my calls after less than half a ring frantically shrieking "DID YOU RING THIS MORNING?!!". I pictured her sat on the stairs in a talc smelling house, petrified. She'd missed an earlier call and had spent the last 4 hours waiting for the phone to ring again. In retrospect I have a lot of sympathy for many of the people I called. I don't like being badgered on the phone either but at the time each call was just another step towards reaching my targets. I think any job in sales (and this was essentially sales) ultimately makes you hate people. You find yourself thinking 'why won't these people just do what I ask of them?'. Any empathy for why they might not be able to just aids them in saying 'no'.

Most of the people who worked there didn't see it like this. My competitive nature led me to obsessively chase targets because it got me through the unbearable hours. What is kind of absurd is that as I often worked for third world or cancer charities, I spent a lot of my time talking about horrible things. And yet instead of this making me appreciate the healthy, western, relative splendor that I lived in I felt completely detached from the things I spoke about and felt very sorry for myself.

This is the nature of 'shit jobs'. They can, I believe, seriously damage your personality and turn you into a selfish, miserable, lazy arsehole. It's the hours that do it. They just go on for fucking ever. Clocks on the walls of 'shit jobs' go at least five times slower than clocks in houses do. If you are currently in a 'shit job' you have my sympathies. May something happen tomorrow that adds just a little colour to your day. Perhaps the computers will go down, leaving you unable to do your job. It's brilliant when that happens.

So that it is fully documented, here is a list of all the shit jobs I have had. Everything below is true. Read at your leisure;

1993 - Paperboy delivering Evening Chronicle in Newcastle (6 quid a week).
1993 - Paperboy in Braintree - sacked for being too slow after 2 weeks.
1994 - Paperboy in Braintree - hit by a car while delivering papers.
1997 - 98 Working on the till at the Co-Op.
1999 - Revolution Bar, Manchester - Sacked for being too slow after 4 shifts.
1999 - The factory months; Perfume factory, potato peeling factory, putting stickers on bananas factory, making screws factory, loading boxes factory, frozen chicken packing factory (here I dropped some chickens on my foot and went to hospital with a suspected broken toe. I was fine but I was never paid).
1999 - Bin man for one day.
2000 - 01 - Usher at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (this was the best 'shit job' I ever had)
2000 - 01 - Horse and Groom pub, Braintree (many stories here)
2001 - Night shift, shelf stacker at Tesco - left after one week when I got an advert for Boots and thought I was rich.
2002 - 05 - Charity call centre with Colin Hoult, Hayley Jayne Standing and Chris O'Dowd amongst others.

Apologies if today's blog (I hate that word) is a little indulgent. I dedicate it to everyone who truly knows the meaning of the phrase 'shit job'.

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