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It’s the Pitts: The Worst Jobs I’ve Ever Had

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Here are the 10 worst jobs I’ve ever had.

10. Turning over hay bales – As a teenager I worked on a ranch hauling hay from the fields to the hay shed. Before the bales could be stacked on the truck, they had to be turned over so the elevator could pick them up. 

I walked along kicking over the bales, knowing under every one out of 10 bales there would be a snake, and in one out of 10 of those instances, it would be a rattler. 

Needless to say, it kept me on my toes.

9. Smudging – I grew up in the “citrus capital of the world,” and one of my jobs in high school was having my own smudge crew. 

Before it got down to 28 degrees Fahrenheit, I’d call up my team members and we’d go light smudge pots which burned a thick nasty oil that turned the air in our valley black. 

I darn near froze to death, and I had a smoker’s cough at age 18 without ever having smoked anything. 

Smudging did have one bright side. The following morning we had to refill the pots, and it was an accepted excuse for missing school.

8. Mucking out stalls – I liked being around horses, but my job was at a riding academy for rich girls. When they’d see me at school, they’d look down their snooty noses at me and pinch them as if I stunk. 

I give this as the reason why I never had a single date in high school.

7. Picking lemons – I did this for a rich lady my mom sewed for. I picked with a professional crew who could average 50 boxes per day, while the best I ever got up to was 19.

This job also had a good side. The lady saw I was a hard worker and hired me to park cars for her when she had fancy parties. What other 16-year-old can say they drove both a Corvette and a Rolls Royce?

6. Compressor plant – I was the assistant to a mechanic in a compressor plant in the oilfields in one of the hottest spots in America. We’d work in short 15-minute bursts inside the plant where it got up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit and then run outside to cool down, where it was only 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Teaching college – Believe it or not, I taught at a junior college part time. I taught animal science to classes of six or eight urban kids who only took the class because they thought it would be an easy A. 

I hated teaching. I felt guilty taking their money, and I never gave anyone an A.

4. Killing rabbits – One of my more profitable enterprises in high school was raising rabbits to sell to misplaced Okies and Arkies who grew up eating rabbit. The cute white bunnies still visit me in my nightmares.

3. Painting trees – Another job in the citrus industry was painting the trunks of lemon trees with a nasty substance called something like “bore-dough.” It stopped ants and spiders from crawling up tree trunks, and I think itʼs the reason I’ve been a chronic in the sick pen most of my life.

2. Selling ads – I was hired at the ripe old age of 21 to travel a territory for a livestock paper. I was supposed to sell cattle auction ads in return for my working the upcoming sale as a ring man. 

My territory included southern California, Arizona, Utah and Clark County, Nevada, which contained not a single cow. My commission was 33 percent but driving two days to Utah and back and paying all of my expenses for one-third of $350 didn’t seem like a good way to get rich.

1. Dusting furniture – I began my career at the age of 10, dusting furniture every Friday for my Grandpa who owned a furniture store. On one side of the store were the appliances, couches and carpet which really didn’t require that much dusting. 

Naturally, my older brother got to dust this side of the store, and I had to dust the building next door which contained unfinished wooden furniture – every square inch of which had to be dusted. 

Rubbing salt in the wound, we both got paid the same dollar. 

I’ve never dusted a piece of furniture since.

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