One of my favorite shows on television is Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Originally, the show started out by documenting some really smelly, slimy, pooey jobs. As time went on, the show began to branch out into jobs that were not so much dirty as they were weird. Jobs like maggot farming to seaweed farming to special effects mask maker and plenty of others are occupations that make a person say, “How is it you said that you make a living again?”
I would never claim to have worked the kind of jobs that Rowe shows. I do, however, tend to be the kind of person who looks for ways to increase revenue, rather than be content to simply cut spending. I have had a few interesting jobs – probably not worthy of a Discovery show – but they still might inspire someone else to figure out a way to get a little extra cash.
I once lived in an area where a lot of different kinds of fruit was grown – peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, cherries, etc. Whenever late summer and early fall rolled around, there were always farmers looking for extra help. My favorite was riding on the blueberry harvester or “shaker” and stacking boxes as they filled up with the berries. It was the best hourly paying job that I had ever had up to that point. The only downside was the after-affects of eating an inordinate amount of blueberries. There is just no way to resist popping another perfectly ripe blueberry into oneís mouth, even after doing it for the previous ten hours.
Jennifer’s note: I spent seven summers working on a blueberry farm, and I thought the worst part was riding the back of the harvesting machine! It definitely took a lot of coordination to not fall off the back. And like Josh, I ate a ton of blueberries every day and no, I never got sick of them. I also made way more money than did any of my friends at their summer jobs AND I got to drive a tractor. Win-win.
I once spent a summer as a “go-fer” on a construction crew that specialized in renovating properties after fires. One of the main problems with fire is the smell that is left behind and every material that absorbs odors must be removed before remodeling can take place. One of my tasks was to take a huge vacuum hose and suck up all of the blown ceiling insulation. Terrible, terrible job. Especially when the temperature was in the 90′s and the humidity was high. Crawling around between rafters in tight spaces with little ventilation and plenty of slivers, nails and smoke smell was a miserable job. Ironically, this might have been one of my lowest paying jobs ever.
I seem to have spent a lot of time as the low man on various construction crews. One summer I spent several weeks mixing and wheel-barrowing mortar for cement blocks. It was backbreaking work and if the mortar was not mixed exactly to the specifications of the mason, he might throw out an entire batch. Later on that summer, I was given another wheelbarrow job when dump trucks could not get close enough to back fill a retaining wall. The trucks dumped their loads at the top of the hill and I was given the job of transporting the fill sand by hand. The job required over eight dump truck loads before it was over – all of which was shoveled and “barrowed” by me.
We had a family friend who worked at a small airport near my house and one day he called up and asked if I needed a job on the upcoming Saturday. He told me he would pick me up at 6 am to go “work on a plane.” I had no idea what I was in for until I realized that we were going to completely wash, scrub, wax and vacuum a small charter aircraft. You could have eaten your lunch off of that plane’s tires when we were done – and that was the first time in my life that I earned $100 in one day.
How about you? Have you had any unique jobs in your life?