What's worst job you've had?

Makework for the unemployed?

What's Best Way To Go that you've seen?


Clive James dunny man

Casino cleaners with powerful vacuum cleaners

Cleaners caught in rain, undress, then realize security cameras

Guy in NY calls himself the Couch Doctor - specialises in taking couches apart and reassembling them inside apartments. Two conflicting trends - couches getting bigger, but apartments, especially hallways, are getting narrower. 15 years ago a couch was 7 feet long and less than 3 feet wide. Now 10 feet and 43 inches common, yet typical NY doorway is 28 inches wide. Common scenario of people buying a couch, failing to get it into apartment, then finding store will only buy it back at 50% of cost. (Guy takes couch apart with hand saw because clients find even small power saws too scary, then bolts everything back together again.)

A carpet company pays people $5 an hour to walk up and down long rows of carpet, an average of 14 miles a day - 20,000 steps, about 5 years of average wear on a carpet - the walkers get to lose weight and read books

Santa Fe topless house cleaners $85 an hour

Cairo, Egypt has a community of Coptic Christains known as the Zabbaleen, many of whom make a living sorting the city's trash. The Egyptian government recently privatized garbage collection, giving the contract to foreign companies - which turned right around and outsourced the job to the Zabbaleen, who are getting less money than before.

Housework time has actually increased - although we have all the labour-saving appliances, our expectations of standards of cleanliness have increased even faster.

Victorian servants: If you wanted a bath, the water had to be heated in the kitchen and carried upstairs in special cans. A gallon of water weighs 8lbs and a bath takes 45 gallons to be filled, and then of course has to be emptied as well. And if a house had visitors there might be 20 or more baths to be filled each evening. Casual humiliation a regular feature. Servants often required to adopt a new name, so the family was spared the tedium of learning a new name every time a servant retired or fell under the wheels of a coach.

Orthodox Jews who pre-tear their lavatory paper so they can't be accused of doing work on the Sabbath.

I was a bank teller once - that was a good job - I was bringing home $400,000 a week

More anecdotes about Work

New Work

Fivrr and Task Rabbit - people who will do small bits of jobs for $5 on as-needed basis. So if you can figure out how to break a job down into v small chunks

Time Banks - an hour as a unit of currency - swap an hour of listening to a child read, or taking someone to dr - anyone can contribute - 12yo to 90yo. "Makes a small town out of a big city"

Fake GFs, fake parents (for school interviews)

Coming clash between moralists and utopians as to how we will construct a leisure society

Skilled workers working in jobs below skill level, and pushing unskilled out of workforce altogether.

Intelligence is what it takes to get a job, but to succeed takes culture 'savvy' and motivation.

'We did a study to determine whether anyone at Google is particularly good at hiring,' Bock said. 'We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship. It's a complete random mess'


People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.

Find a job you like and you add five days to every week.

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some just don't turn up at all.

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.

There are one hundred men seeking security to one able man who is willing to risk his fortune. J. Paul Getty

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. Stephen King

People will never know how long it took you to make something. They will only know how well it is done.

During job interviews, when they ask: 'What is your worst quality ?', I always say: 'Flatulence'. That way I get my own office.

1) Enjoy your job. 2) Work within the law. 3) Make lots of money. Choose any two.

More Quotes about Work


Average Is Over Workers will be put into 2 categories, based on answer to these Q's: Are you good at working with intelligent machines or not? Are your skills complementing the computer, or does it do better without you?

Actually the manager who is the scarce resource, not the techie. No point in hiring new tech guys until you have someone who can manage and motivate them. Without a competent overseer, a single bad hire can screw up an entire team. The hires have to be reliable, conscientious, which puts greater value on women, who are more likely to follow instructions exactly without resentment.

Growing number of workers who are simply not worth hiring. Three quarters of today's youth can't qualify for armed forces - overweight, criminal record, drug use, bad credit.

But doctors, lawyers (and teachers) will also rate their clients - on things such as how good they are at taking medicine or following exercise instructions. Low-rating clients may find themselves turned away or charged extra. Already classifying customers - dress shops keeping record of women who return purchases.

Scott Adams Not many women have a goal of being CEO of a major company. Instead they prefer careers that involve hanging around with people who are suffering, presumably so they can watch. For example, women are prominent in health care, where they can watch people die, or in law, where they can watch people get sued or executed.

Race Against The Machine Computers are making rapid and unexpected inroads. A book published 2004 The New Division of Labor discussing the comparative abilities of computers and human workers, and used the example of truck driving as the sort of skill that could not be automated. Yet today, self-drive cars are on the roads in US and Germany. Automation is progressing so fast that it takes things from the realm of science fiction to the real world, not in generations, but in just a few years.

Overwhelmed People have a lot more spare time than they imagine (snorts of disbelief until keep detailed daily diary and find it true.
TV biggest time filler/waster, followed by Facebook and email
Housework overestimated - say 30 hours a week, but diary says 15 - labor-saving machines, fewer children, consciously choosing less work (lot less cooking these days), men doing more
People actively seek 'doing' rather than just sitting - social idea that is lazy
Ego trip - I'm busy which shows how impt I am

Shock of Gray In Germany retraining sex workers as nursing home caregivers."They have good personal skills, are not easily disgusted, and have little fear of personal contact." One worker said "Prostitution taught me to listen and to convey a feeling of safety...isn't that exactly what old people need?"

The disparity between professional incomes in the Philippines and US is so great that 8000 doctors in the Philippines have retrained as nurses so they can get into America, where immigration rules favour foreign nurses over foreign doctors.

Tell To Win a conversation with Jack Warner, at a time when he was feeling overwhelmed by new job as head of Columbia Studios. Warner told him how to look at it: it's a zoo. You're the zookeeper. Every single person that comes to your office comes with a monkey. The monkey is their problem. They're trying to leave it with you. Your job is to discover where the monkey is. They'll hide it or try to dress it up. But you're the zookeeper and you have to keep the place clean. So make sure that their monkey leaves with them, and don't let them come back until it's trained and they have a solution to their problem. Otherwise at the end of the day you're going to have an office full of screaming monkeys and you're going to be knee deep in monkey shit.

Seth Godin Lots of people aspire to the power and wealth of CEO's, but you'll find that each of them spent 20 or so years working longer hours than everyone else, kissing up his current boss, day in and day out, year after year. It's hard to get there. If it was easy, there'd be too many people vying for the job, and there wouldn't be scarcity value to justify the high pay.

The End of Men At some point over past 40 years the job market became largely indifferent to size and strength. Technology began to work against men, making brawn jobs obsolete and making people skills ever more valuable. The working class jobs which are increasing are the ones heavy on nurturing. Theoretically there is no reason why men shouldn't move into those jobs, but they are very slow to adapt. The range of acceptable jobs for men has changed little - if anything it has shrunk as women have invaded areas which were traditionally male-dominated.

Life On Air David Attenborough, explaining how Red Sea fish spread thru Mediterranean after Suez Canal, by having meals at nice restaurants along coast.

More Book Extracts about Work

Wisdom of the Crowd

Reddit, Fark, letters to Times etc

Forum discussions of Work


Welcome To The Machine Pink Floyd

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It's alright we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
provided with toys and Scouting for Boys.
You bought a guitar
to punish your ma,
And you didn't like school,
and you know you're nobody's fool,
So welcome to the machine.
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
What did you dream?
It's alright we told you what to dream.
You dreamed of a big star,
He played a mean guitar,
He always ate in the Steak Bar.
He loved to drive in his Jaguar.
So welcome to the machine.

Banana Boat Song Harry Belafonte

Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Stack banana till de mornin' come
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Full lyrics here

And one of best ever versions of song featured in film Beetlejuice

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