I've had in my life. Here are some of the them:
security company manager
parking lot attendant
bartender and every other restaurant job except cookie
parks and recreation wading pool "lifeguard"
I'll get more later
and tell some horror stories
I'm just really stunned by the workers who were written about
in the Observer, who revealed the trials and tribulations
of their trade or calling.
in the Observer, who revealed the trials and tribulations
of their trade or calling.
These are the best ones, in brief:
I wonder if you can train to be a psychic.
NVQ in Telekinesis
City & Guilds in Ouija Board
A-Levels in Cold Reading
I love how the bikini waxer chucks out stinky people
and laughs at all of them. Once you start that stuff, you
gotta keep up the oral hygeine of sex or else your "poile"
will be dragging on the floor.
-just saw a guy go through a complete waxing on Jackass
The taxi driver is funny and sad. "Excuse me, driver!"
- Are YOU talkin' tu ME?
The commis chef lives in the horrible world of
restaurants in the UK. I've tasted some of that and
I gotta say the floor staff must also feel about two inches
off the ground. They are treated like lifeless inputs and
then their Brit customers don't even tip, and then the
government cuts your subsidised housing.
I'm sure many of you have also been "there" before. I sure have:
checkit: The Observer
Jobs confidential: 15 people reveal the truth about their work
Ever wondered what it's really like to be a vicar or a dominatrix? Or what a brain surgeon or a bikini waxer think about their job? Here, 15 people with very different careers reveal – anonymously – the trade secrets of their working day
Sunday 24 March 2013
It's when my clients are on the bed, legs in the air and their private bits at the mercy of a waxing strip, that they start to get scared. So I break the ice. I put on a sinister voice and say: "Don't worry, no one will hear your screams from here!"
Nothing can shock me now. My friends say to me: "What's it like, looking at vaginas all day?" But I'm not even looking at the body, I'm just concentrating on an area of skin.
My main aim is to relax people, take their mind off what is happening. That is not to say I'm thick. There is a lot of training involved and I can't stand the stereotypes of beauty therapists you see on programmes like EastEnders.
When I'm not waxing, I'm cleaning. I'm a stickler for hygiene, and skin cells create a lot of dust. I have standards and I expect the same from customers: do not come and see me in a state of unreadiness. Unfortunately, our salon is opposite a Bikram yoga studio so you get the chancers who come straight from class and expect me to wax them sweaty. I refuse. There are young women who don't appear to have changed their knickers for days, people on their periods. Once I almost waxed out someone's tampon.
Most people will order either a Hollywood, which is everything off, or a Brazilian, which leaves a thin "landing strip". The original bikini wax, where you'd just remove a small amount of hair, is now virtually nonexistent. Once you've gone down the Hollywood path there's no going back. And it's the same with the back, sack and crack. Waxing the male anatomy is just funny – you can get men who have the wrong idea and think you are going to do "extras", but mostly I'm just trying to stop myself laughing.
People don't really understand what a financial advisor does, so they think I'm the one who makes the decision on whether they get a mortgage – I constantly have people trying to convince me how well off they are. One friend phoned me up to get a mortgage and we spent hours working on the application before they told me, oh, I resigned yesterday. That person had a master's degree. You think, "How can you be such an idiot?"
I've got a Russian oligarch I've done a life insurance application for. I said, "Any health questions?" and he said, "No, no – perfect health," and then he fills out on the questionnaire that he's been shot three times and stabbed eight times.
I've noticed that the wealthier people are, the meaner they are. I'll be in the house of a client who has a lot of money, late at night, and they'll quibble over a £300 fee. Then I've got clients who live on a council estate and every time I see them they want to throw money at me: "I don't know what I'd do without you mate, have some pound notes!" I have to explain I can't take it or I'll get struck off.
The only thing that keeps me doing the job is that I like people. I hate sitting at a computer and looking at figures. There can be a sad side – I see a lot of death claims and at the moment I feel surrounded by cancer. A lot of my clients have it and it's hard advising them, especially when they aren't going to get to use the pension they've been saving for all their life.
Because I'm financial advisor to almost all friends I know everything about everyone. We'll be in the pub and someone will say, "Bob's bought a new Merc, he must be doing so well…" I'm thinking, "He's mortgaged up to his eyeballs and he hasn't got a pot to piss in."
My own relationship with money is useless. My wife runs the bank account because I can't face it.
People don't say a word to each other on most forms of public transport, but inside a taxi it's a different world. Everyone's got a story. My day typically starts with a businessperson going to the airport, and nearly always ends with a drunk. I don't mind the drunk people. Sometimes I think they're the better version of themselves: more relaxed, happier, honest. Once, a girl I picked up from a bar loved the music on my iPod so much she made me play one of the songs again when we arrived outside her house. I stopped the car at the end of the drive and she opened the door, lit a fag and danced. It made me laugh.
I do worry about some of the girls who are very drunk. I have two daughters myself. An awkward scenario for me is having to wake a woman who has fallen asleep. I'm very aware that I could be accused of assault and lose my licence. I tend to get a runner every six months. Usually they're lads and you know as soon as they get in. Recently four 12-year-old girls ran off giggling. I didn't see that one coming.
Only once have I feared for my life. A guy ran out at a traffic light and so I sped up before his brother could run, too. He seemed embarrassed and made me drop him at a car park. When we arrived, the first guy was waiting with a boulder, which went through the windscreen, narrowly missing my head. They punched me through my window until I drove off.
But the worst people are the ones who call me "Driver".
Most of the people I work with can't afford to get the tube in, so their journeys take two hours, but getting the tube means I have time to get a double espresso from McDonald's before my shift starts at 7am. I drink it as I trudge through Soho and think of the hell to come. I'm the lowest of the low, in the kitchen, with no windows, and my mood is one of clinical depression.
Here, it's a badge of honour if you say you've done three doubles, been dumped, are becoming homeless and have the shits. That's ultimate kudos – in the kitchen, that's cool. There's no sympathy, and nobody tells you you're doing well. You have to work through illnesses, because if you're off for a day everyone else has a huge load to carry.
I got treated really badly at the start, nobody would even stand next to me. Eventually I earned my place, and over time my body changed, too – my hands got really muscular and scarred. When you burn yourself on oil you have to wear blue plasters, but inevitably they come off when you're washing veg, so you lose them along the way – sometimes into the food.
When I started, I signed an employment law waiver. The hours are tough. Lunch shifts are 7 to 4, and dinners 3 to midnight, or later, with no breaks. And you have to do at least one double shift a week. You don't eat. There's food available, but it's inedible – noodles, bad burgers. I've never tried the stuff on the menu. And staff aren't allowed real coffee, which really made me realise how little respect the company has for us. Sexism is rife. There's lots of talk about girlfriends' genitals, or "ugly birds", and there's the feeling that if you can't take the banter then you don't belong. As a woman, you don't get on by pointing out the sexism, you get on by putting up with it and joining in. I hate it.
We see more death, terror, blood, guts and horror in our professional lives than the SAS or frontline soldiers do – they max out in the few years they're at war, but we do this job for 45 years.
In an average shift, we see lots of drunks, we might be called to a brothel or a drug den where people are lying around with needles full of heroin in their arms – dark places where people need help. There are so many terrible incidents: car accident scenes where one parent is left alive and the children and other partner have died. Suicides, especially in young teens, are tragic. But there are heartening moments, too. Bringing a baby into the world; going to see little old ladies who've had a fall and just want a bit of company is nice, too. I make them a cup of tea and we have a chat.
You don't get used to breaking sad news. There's no script, you just have to be honest and comforting. I've learned that it's OK to feel emotional, although I don't turn up a blubbering heap.
It takes its toll. About eight years ago I went through a breakdown. It had been a particularly hard week: a suicide; dealing with a man who had been raping his children… difficult stuff, and I couldn't cope. I'd become cynical and bitter and we were also being hammered by management, who were driven by government targets. If we turned up 20 seconds late but managed to save someone's life, we'd still get told off.
A lot has changed in the past decade. There's now no room to come up for air between emergencies. But what I keep at the front of my mind is the reason I got into this: I wanted to help look after people. I'm still smarting that our retirement age has just been raised to 68 – the average fireman gets to retire at 50. But there's a real sense of self-worth and you definitely get treated differently – people make way for a paramedic.
and the Fugly Betty Award goes to:
I've been a fashion-mag intern on and off for five years. Five years! I know. Completely unpaid, yes, I work six days a week for the magazine, then at a pub evenings and weekends. I drink Red Bull instead of having lunch and eat canapés instead of dinner. It's not a game. Most of my cash comes from eBaying my freebies, although that can be dangerous – a friend of mine sold a Christopher Kane piece and now she's blacklisted.
My first day as an intern, when I was 16, was spent trying to get back a dress that Isabella Blow had given to a mate. It's funny – really rich people seem to think everything is free. Living in a fashion cupboard is extremely depressing, not just because it's tiny and windowless, but because you're surrounded by things you will never be able to afford – though, after a while, everything starts to look like Primark tat. One friend wore a pair of thigh-high boots out and snapped the heel. When she sent them back to the designer she stuck it on with gum and swore they'd arrived like that. There's a lot of stealing. A lot. Jewels, couture gowns. I don't take anything because none of it would fit me. Samples are tiny.
There's a lot of bitchiness, too, because you know that, in order for you to get a proper job, the fashion assistant will have to die. I'd definitely be more successful if I were meaner. Also you're in an office of really, really hungry people. The industry would be a much happier place if everyone just ate a sandwich. One editor I worked with banned all food from the office, but I learned that if I offered round sweets it calmed tense situations. This life is all about stamina. If you can outlast everyone else, then there's a job for you.
If I notice myself being mean to someone, it scares me. I can't see anything changing – there's this cycle of abuse. People take fashion very seriously. But we're not curing cancer, it's just clothes.
I was seven when I got my first connection. I was asleep in bed and got woken by a bright, shining light. Within that light was a young lady I called Star, who became my spirit guide. When I was 22, my mum died. Star returned. I started to feel lots of connections, like there were people above that I could sense and feel. I receive around eight messages a day now. It's a funny feeling, like cobwebs in my hair. If I'm connecting with someone who's passed away and their death was violent, I can get a flutter in my heart. A child's energy can make me feel warm inside, like I'm wrapped in cotton wool.
My job is mostly to act as a channel between the living and the dead, but I can see into the future, too. I have to be careful how I break news. I'm never going to tell you that you are going to die soon. I made the mistake once – the guy got shot two weeks later – and I don't think it's fair. But if you've got cancer I will tell you to check out a lump. It does amaze me, the influence I have on people. I told a Hollywood actor he wasn't in love with his wife and he left her that day. I destroyed a marriage instantly, because I knew he loved someone else. He's having a baby with her now.
If I don't feel anything, I won't do a reading. I'm not one of these psychics who will sit there and lie for the sake of it. Some people want me to counsel them. They think I work for the Samaritans. I'm not God. I can only say what I see or feel.
Lately I've been working for a famous hotel chain. I accurately predicted the owner had picked a new site with terrible foundations and saved him millions, so he employed me to help recruit his staff. He'll email me CVs and I'll tell him if someone's dodgy. He didn't listen once and the bloke he employed ended up stealing from him. He listens to me now.
Of course, my job has its perks. I don't rip people off. I take home £500 a week and put the rest into growing my business. I clean my energy after every reading by imagining a white light shining around me. Then I go home and argue with my boyfriend, or curse my broken-down car, just like the rest of them.