Looking Up from the Bottom

Posted by in Career Advice

I know we have all had jobs we hated and couldn’t wait to move on from.  But the one job that I couldn’t wait to move on from was being the manager of a laundromat. Being the manager itself wasn’t so bad.  I dealt with making schedules, handling the customer’s complaints about not enough starch in the collars and mopping up soapsuds from someone overloading the machines. I didn’t even mind the hand ironing of 60 shirts in an hour (ever hand iron a military uniform with double starch?) What I did mind was having to hand wash stripper costumes (no offense meant, ladies).


 First of all, I donned rubber gloves.  Then the soapsuds were poured into the big sink, water ran and the costumes were pushed into it to soak.  There was always a scent of stale cigarette smoke, strong perfume and sweat that was pretty rank. These girls didn’t make their money easily.   But having to deal with all those sequins, tiny bits of material, fringes and feathers really made me nervous.  If any of them came off, then you had to search through all the soapsuds and pray it didn’t go down the drain.  If one did come off, then you had to catch it, dry it off and put it in a baggie to attach to the costume.  The costumes had to be rolled into a towel and pressed on until all the water drained.  They were then hung up on hangers to air dry with towels under them to catch the drips.  But it was part of my job and it needed to be done.


With that as my base of the worse job ever, I always held it up to the light whenever whatever job I had started to get me down.  The thought that at least I wasn’t hand washing stripper costumes would always pull me through whatever bad day I had.  At each job I learned new skills, and would use those to move to the next job. I progressed from job to job until I became a floral designer for ten years.


I would say being a floral designer was one of my favorite jobs.  I worked with the public but also worked a lot by myself.  I had my own design table, tools and work area.  The holidays were rough because I was making floral arrangements late on holidays instead of enjoying the holidays with my family and I can’t stand the smell of pine to this day. But I always kept the stripper costumes in the back of my head when things got crazy at the flower shop.  It kept things in perspective and did make me appreciate the job that I had.


Now that I’m a freelance writer and write when and what I want to, the memory of the stripper costumes doesn’t surface near as often.  I do look out my window in my office that overlooks my gardens while watching the butterflies and occasionally give thanks that I’m not still back at that job.


If you’re at a job you hate at this moment, remember, you can only go up.  Keep learning, keep listening, keep searching and your job future will improve.


What is the worst job you ever worked at?  What did you do to improve yourself to move on?




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