Work, Toil, Labour…Does It Never End?

The Wood Cutter’s Daughter~By charles Sprague Pearce

Today I got to thinking about work.  Partly because I was asked what I did for a living and partly because I have been reading Stephen King’s new collection of short stories: Just After Sunset.  In the introduction he discusses once again his employment history working in a laundry and as a teacher.  It’s fascinating to me the number of writers who have done what could be considered menial work or blue collar labour.  I myself have not been a stranger down the poverty stricken alleys of dead end ghetto jobs.  Oh, I’ve had my share of bullshit tasks, such as pizza maker, waitress (four times) social service intake worker at a jail, answering service operator, black jack/poker dealer, ear piercer in a mall, corner store clerk, donut baker, receptionist ( eleven times) office clerk, personal care worker in an old age home, baby sitter, blue berry picker, clam digger, wood cutter, assembly line worker in a cosmetics factory( I burned off my right index finger nail while performing the very important task of putting the shine on the lipstick by sliding it under a torch. Thank gawd it grew back) cookie baker, store clerk, deli clerk, cashier, sandwich maker, news paper delivery person, currently I own and operate a house cleaning business and of course, all along the way…writer.  Okay, lets have your list.  You can put it up in the comments here or you can do it on your blog, but let us know if it’s on your site so we can all read it.  I’m simply dying to see what you all do and have done to support your habit of writing.


Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!

20 thoughts on “Work, Toil, Labour…Does It Never End?”

    1. Yes Lisa, but you are young! Trust me, that list will grow! LOLOLOL I am impressed there are not more ghetto jobs there and that makes me smile immensely kiddo. I’m happy you’ve bypassed the true spirit leeching jobs.

    1. Oh my gawd uninvoked, you could kick my ass, fix my house ANd make my dog sleek and nice smelling! Hella combination there honey. 🙂

  1. Leaf maker, seed bearer, fruit producer,
    branch dropper, gutter stuffer, sidewalk ripper,
    roof scratcher, windbreaker, tire swing holder,
    tree house landlord, fireplace brightner…
    although in that job I worked for the union.
    They let you retire before you’re a gonner.


    1. Treeman, as a tree, you forgot that you are the lungs of the planet as well! lol They let retire before you’re a goner. lol Very very funny lolol

  2. Love that you posted this Val 🙂

    Let’s see this may even be in order: telemarketer for the shriner’s, babysitter, ice cream scooper, fast food resturant worker (two of the three i worked for were actually a family owned and great!), best buy (twice, why did I go back?) temp job for canon printers (LOVED THIS! actually), sold shoes, video rental store (i need to write stories about the fact that we had a porno room ….), computer lab tech on campus at college, auto claims adjuster . . . I feel like I am forgetting something.

    Maybe cause the last job on the list sucked my soul out.

    Currently I’m freelance writing, teaching and editing for little to no pay while my husband works two jobs. I hope to get him out of having to do that at some point!

    1. I can definitely see the soul sucking properties of auto claims adjusting…anything with ‘adjust’ has got to be painful. lol I’ve never done the telemarketing thing, but hey, there is always time! I am only 300 47! :0 Darling, in no time at all you will be making your bacon off the written word and looking back on this and laughing.

  3. Tour guide, translator, baker, carpet cleaner, stripper (yes that kind), dealer, sign maker, sign waver, oil changer, tire guy, dance instructor (Thanks mom),ditch digger, cowboy, bronc buster, farrier….

    Shit, no wonder I’m tired, no wonder my favorite show is
    “The Pretender” A real list BTW

    1. Ummm…Okay Bindo, part two! Well, you have certainly been acquiring those work skills and I can see by your checkered employment history that you like change and appear to be versatile. Why, that would make you the perfect candidate for our career of the month, WRITER! lol I’m in awe that I now know someone who has had more fucked up jobs than I and a more extensive list. You stable Mabel you! Sheesh lol

      1. If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times Bindo, you must stay away from that BevHills Plastic surgeon. An arche brow today, perpetually suprised tomorrow and then dear gawd you’ll be doing lip collagen! Noooooooooooooooooooo lol

  4. Chef, waiter, bartender, welder, massage therapist, personal trainer, manager, asst. manager, GM, auto detailer, window washer, painter, roofer, landscaper, chauffeur, cabbie, long haul trucker, actor, stuntman, juggler, stand up comic, musician, street musician, street artist,con-artist, protester, smuggler, second story man, clerk, mover, ad-man, journalist, copy-boy, photographer, promoter, janitor, retail sales, wholesale sales, illegal sales, coyote (see Mexican definition)sailing instructor, yacht maintenance, buyer, interior design, hair stylist, mason, car thief, barista, pizza delivery guy, cable guy, telephone guy, garbage guy, pool guy….And of course, writer…Should I continue?

    Sheesh…So much for stability..
    But it’s all about the skills baby, especially in this contrived bad economy..
    Thanks for taking me down memory lane

  5. waitress, receptionist, coat check in a club …. hmmm short list. Guess I got lucky.

    Although I will add that, one job I had when living overseas was to walk around the dance floor, and if a man tried to grab my ass, squeeze a bit of tit or anything like that – I would kindly take his hand and raise it – and a bouncer would drag him off!

    For this I was given money for club clothes, a meal every night adn $200 a week under the table. Paid to party. Tough gig. But I learned what the term “meat market” means and why the owner needed this to stop his club from becoming one. I was 21 at the time.

    1. Well Fantasia, lol not a bad gig but creepy as hell. It’s sort of like working in a casino in many ways. Dealing is a similar gig in a way. Lots of puking bad mannered drunks etc. I worked as a waitress once, well more than once, but this one place was part food, part lech bar and all I recall is that they never liked me much. lol I was built like a match stick so I wasn’t harassed, but I wasn’t tipped much either. Ah, the stories we all could tell…oh yeah, we all can, we’re writers! 😉

  6. I’m not sure if I am more impressed by all that you have done or the fact that you actually remember all you have done!
    Let’s see…

    Retail drone, ear piecer, candy seller, cotton candy maker, waitress, asst. manager/trainer at a gym, addictions counselor, group home supervisor,cell phone seller, office space designer and project manager, craft arteest ebay seller extraordinaire, recruiting trainer/Ops Manager/Program Director, staffing/talent acquisition consultant. Oh yes and of course babysitter/dog pooper scooper. Currently own and operate a small staffing consultancy. I think that about covers it:) And these things while I was NOT trying to support a writing habit, since I only just started writing. I shudder to think of what I would have done….;)

    1. Unfortunately Danielle, I remember everything, whether I want to or not and that can be bitch of a thing. You and I share some similar dead end job experiences but the dog pooper scooper dog babysitter thing made me grin. I did that for humans in a nursing home and I think you had the better end of the deal, excuse my pun lol Dear gawd the things we have to do to eat and pay the bills! 🙂

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