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culov
12-29-2003, 02:43 AM
Outside of the jobs that have to do with sex or are illegal (prostitute, stripper, pimp, drug dealer, etc.).

Id say, its working for a maid service.

By the way, this thread does have an actually purpose; I need to describe the atmosphere of the worst job a human being could possibly have for the introduction of an essay.



Thanks,

culov

yosemite
12-29-2003, 02:55 AM
Since this is your essay you are writing, I'd really love to hear your reasons for why a maid service is the most demeaning. (I'm not disagreeing with you or anything; I just am curious to hear your reasoning.)

culov
12-29-2003, 03:13 AM
I believe it is demeaning because by using a maid service, the customer sort of implies that he is too important to do menial the tasks. So the customer calls in some maids and has these people clean up after him, do his bed, scrub his toilets, etc. Naturally, one would think that being a slave is the most demeaning job, and nothing comes closer to a slave than a maid.

Yes I do understand many people simply don't have time to do these chores, but using these services out of sheer laziness is unacceptable (IMHO).

jacksen9
12-29-2003, 04:52 AM
I do not think demeaning is a feeling that necessarily goes with one particular job. Some folks perform all sorts of work with great dignity. So, it is a matter of attitude. Now, as for when I have felt demeaned.... I can think of several times but one that stands out is the time when I was a lifeguard and someone climbed the fence overnight and took a big dump right in the middle of the high dive board. I had to clean that up, and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Diletante
12-29-2003, 05:14 AM
Have you ever had a job that you knew was so mindless and repetitive that your labor would be replaced as soon as it became feasible to automate it? I've had such a job, and it was the most demeaning I had, and I've done jobs which require cleaning and housework.

Picking fruit, slaughtering cattle, certain types of office work, they dont' really require much human input, they are increasingly being phased out in favor of automation. So you're just there cause it's not cost effective for a machine to do this job yet. Ouch.

I realized this when I was about sixteen and working for a huge mortgage refinancer. All I did was look at one piece of paper, choose a certain string of numbers, and type it on a different piece of paper to be sent out to a customer. Coincidentally, the week I started, they were testing a new computer operated printer that did the same thing. One person could operate that computer and do it as fast as 6-8 people working on a typewriter. I could see this was not gonna be a long term position. I'm sure that job was eliminated within a few months of my quitting.

In contrast, there aren't really any machines that can effectively clean your counters and scrub your toilets. You need a person to do it. Sure, it's not prestigious, but there's a human quality to it.

The Asbestos Mango
12-29-2003, 05:18 AM
Being a cashier at Wal-Mart is pretty demeaning.

My employer treats me like a criminal- I am not allowed to count down my cash drawer at the end of a shift because my employer assumes that I will steal any overage. Of course, this leaves me with no recourse if the cash office makes a mistake and says I'm over/short... Also, if a customer finds he has left his wallet home, or his ATM card is not working, I need a manager's approval to suspend the transaction. They used to let us do it without management approval, but somebody decided it created an opportunity for "integrity issues" to arise. If a customer's credit/debit card has become demagnetized and the number needs to be keyed in by hand, I need a supervisor's approval for that, too. Nevermind the fact that I have to check ID when a credit card is used, and if it's a debit card, I don't know their PIN, honest, I don't. Wal-Mart thinks I will steal.

Other department stores have no problem with their cashiers hand keying credit card numbers if the card won't swipe, but Wal-Mart doesn't trust their employees to perform this simple task.

I think that automatically treating employees as though they are dishonest when there is no evidence of dishonesty is the mark of a dishonest employer. I mean, hell, yes, you do have to take adequate security precautions, but Wal-Mart goes beyond what would be considered normal precautions and takes it to the extent that they're making it more difficult for employees to do their jobs, and inconveniencing long lines of customers in the process.

Oh, and then there's the dreaded "pinks". If a cashier's till is short or over, they inform them of this by giving her a screaming neon pink piece of paper with the amount of the shortage and a demand for an explanation of why the drawer was over/short. These are usually handed out weeks after the fact, long after the cashier would have forgotten anything unusual that might have happened on the day in question. They are given out at the podium, obviously designed to advertise to the universe at large that this cashier made a mistake. Of course, at the store where I work, cashiers who were very meticulous about their jobs were getting them at an alarming rate, because the cash office didn't know how to count. Which is why we wanted to count down our tills. During the period of time when we were counting, the cashiers who were counting their drawers stopped getting "pinks". But Wally World put the kibosh on that real quick.

culov
12-29-2003, 05:36 AM
I feel bad for buying batteries at wal-mart last week. I'll make sure that that never happens again.

don't ask
12-29-2003, 05:43 AM
Lucky you specified human being because the most demeaning job on earth is obviously the equine task of teaser stallion. Oh the shame, you'll have to look it up.

liirogue
12-29-2003, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by don't ask
Lucky you specified human being because the most demeaning job on earth is obviously the equine task of teaser stallion. Oh the shame, you'll have to look it up.

How ironic, I was going to post the same thing!

js_africanus
12-29-2003, 07:39 AM
Originally posted by culov
I need to describe the atmosphere of the worst job a human being could possibly have for the introduction of an essay.
I think I saw a special on salt mining in the Great Rift Valley once. But I don't know if it was demeaning.

El Elvis Rojo
12-29-2003, 08:10 AM
I find pretty much any job in customer service is the most demeaning, especially if you work for a fast food restaraunt like McDonalds or Jack in the Box. For one thing, they're hardly ever happy people, so you can see right there they don't feel they get enough respect for the shit they do. It's a menial, repetative task, and if you screw up someone's order and hand them a burger with tomatoes on it, you're liable to get run over nowadays.

You may not be one of those people, but the next time you go to a fast food restaraunt when it's busy, take a look around at the other people and see how they respond to the workers.

Scribble
12-29-2003, 08:29 AM
Customer service, customer service, customer service. Hands down. Especially any kind of customer service where you deal with people face-to-face, rather than by phone or e-mail.

I was a cashier at Staples for a while, and my experiences were a lot like Thea's at Wal-Mart. (They weren't quite as dehumanizing, but it was close.)

Cat scratch fever
12-29-2003, 09:38 AM
Just have to say that I love to clean and used to work for a maid service company. I don't think it's demeaning at all.

The pay isn't bad either.

DeadlyAccurate
12-29-2003, 10:14 AM
I hate to clean, but I wouldn't feel demeaned by doing it for someone else. Mostly I agree with the others that many customer service positions are demeaning. It really depends on the company, though. I waited tables in a family-owned Chinese restaurant, and I wasn't at all demeaned. I worked at a Sonic Drive-In, and because of the management, it was a very demeaning position. The manager actually had a camera facing the front portion of the building from the pawn shop across the street. It was supposedly to prevent anyone from stealing free drinks/ice cream, not to prevent people from monetary theft (which would've been very easy to do). Found out later it was really because he was embezzling funds and wanted to know if the owner showed up unexpectedly.

owlstretchingtime
12-29-2003, 10:28 AM
a cum-mopper.

These really do exist in France and Holland (and probably other places too). In these countries there are sex shops that have small cabins that have a chair and a coin-operated TV in them. Your 1 euro piece gets you access to around 100 hard core porn films.

The door is locked, the euro inserted the hard core porn is on - you get the picture.

In these establishments there is a person with a mop and bucket who's job it is to go in and mop up afterwards.

That's the worse job I've ever come across

fire
12-29-2003, 10:35 AM
Isn't demeaning relative to the person doing the job?

All jobs can have demeaning aspects, I would think that it would be up to the person on whether they think it's demeaning or not.

Police work can be an exciting job, arresting criminals, solving crimes and such. Or the officer can think it's demeaning because they have to go and direct traffic or listen to people tell them how "they pay thier salary"

Firefighting can be exciting too, putting out fires or saving lives. But also demeaning when they have to clean hose or mop the floors at the station.

There's thousands of examples like that.

abba21
12-29-2003, 11:10 AM
Years ago I worked at a fast food restaurant with a friend of mine. She quit to start her own house cleaning business, and we both considered it to be a step up. Hell, I envied her!

BraveNewSquirle
12-29-2003, 11:48 AM
Originally posted by jacksen9
I do not think demeaning is a feeling that necessarily goes with one particular job. Some folks perform all sorts of work with great dignity. So, it is a matter of attitude. Now, as for when I have felt demeaned.... I can think of several times but one that stands out is the time when I was a lifeguard and someone climbed the fence overnight and took a big dump right in the middle of the high dive board. I had to clean that up, and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

The kind of thing happened to me when I was working as a life guard and some on the ground RIGHT IN FRONT OF the bathroom. Whoever that guy is, I hate him. :mad:

Kalhoun
12-29-2003, 01:49 PM
The OP said, "Id say, its working for a maid service."

Nah...I did it for a while, and would definitely do it again. It ain't demeaning, and it pays relatively well.

A bull jacker-offer would be the all-time low as far as I'm concerned. I know there's science involved and all, but christ... a bull jacker-offer?

Busboy has GOT to be near the top of all self-esteem sucking jobs.

Kalhoun
12-29-2003, 01:53 PM
But, no job when work is available is worse than almost any sucky job.

The Asbestos Mango
12-29-2003, 03:12 PM
I just want to horn in again and say that I really don't think any job is inherently demeaning. I've done what a lot of people would consider some pretty suck-ass jobs at some pretty suck-ass pay but enjoyed working there because my employer treated me with respect. Back before I became a Nice Catholic GirlTM, I was an exotic dancer. I enjoyed it, largely because the bartenders (who basically were the managers) treated all the girls like actual human beings who were worthy of respect and courtesy. (Imagine this scene- I'd just come off the stage and was changing from my costume to my "floor clothes" so I could go hustle drinks. I was stark naked, and the *male* bartender comes in to tell me something. He didn't leer or make comments, he just said what he had to say, chatted with me for a few minutes, and left. 'Course I guess when you see bare boobs and asses all night long, a girl's girly parts just get to be part of the furniture.) They were very concerned with the girls' safety, and would stand in the doorway and watch to make sure we got safely to our cars or cabs at the end of the night. Just a bunch of great guys. Now, a lot of people would consider being a stripper to be a demeaning, dehumanizing job, but because the management of the bars I worked in treated me with respect, they were really great jobs.

Wal-Mart, OTOH, does its best to cultivate an image of being a great place to work, but, at least for people in cash-handling positions, employees are treated like criminals. If you've worked there more than a week, it becomes painfully obvious that you are regarded as some kind of subhumanoid who can be chucked out the door and replaced as easily as a spare part on a machine. What could, even should, be an enjoyable job is rendered a living hell by the way Wal-Mart treats its employees.

Malthus
12-29-2003, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by Kalhoun
The OP said, "Id say, its working for a maid service."

Nah...I did it for a while, and would definitely do it again. It ain't demeaning, and it pays relatively well.

A bull jacker-offer would be the all-time low as far as I'm concerned. I know there's science involved and all, but christ... a bull jacker-offer?

Busboy has GOT to be near the top of all self-esteem sucking jobs.

Manual Bull mastrubation definitely gets my vote.

I wonder if it would be illegal if you did it because you enjoyed it, rather than for pay? :p

bump
12-29-2003, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by Kalhoun
Busboy has GOT to be near the top of all self-esteem sucking jobs.

Oh man... I was about to say that myself. I was a busboy at a Chili's in Houston for a summer.

Let's see what all awful stuff I can remember:


Had to go dumpster-diving for some mythical check that one of the wait staff accidentally lost
Had to be the janitor before the restaraunt opened. This entailed mopping the whole place, cleaning the bathrooms, etc...
Had to scrape the gum off the sidewalk one sunny July afternoon in Houston
Had to scrub down the rancid, reeking grease-trap runoff on another sunny July afternoon with some cruddy detergent. Then got yelled at when I couldn't scrub years of congealed grease stains out of the concrete.
Got yelled at by asshole customers for tea, chips, napkins and silverware.
Got yelled at by wait staff if slow at busing because of fucking customer requests
Got yelled at by management and customers if I wasn't just ass-kissingly obsequious to customers and waitstaff
Got yelled at by management and customers when I told some little shit to quit running through the restaraunt throwing coasters everywehre.
Would routinely get worked in all sorts of fucking terrible schedules like 7 days straight, then 4 days off, and would get worked 10 hour days, then get let off at 1, just so they wouldn't have to ever pay me any overtime. (this one REALLY pissed me off)


That's about all I can remember at the moment. That job broke me of ever working in a restaraunt again.

Spurious George
12-29-2003, 04:00 PM
I agree that maid is definitely not the most demeaning job. If I could afford to hire someone to clean up after me, scrub my counter tops and toilets, you know for DAMN SURE I'd appreciate it, and thank them for it. Not everyone would - but a job where someone knows you were there and appreciates what you did is inherently less demeaning than one where you might as well be a machine, or a number on a payroll spreadsheet.

Diamond (and other) miners who work under dangerous, crippling conditions in Third World countries seem pretty demeaning and dehumanizing to me, but that's probably closer to slavery than it is an occupation. I gotta go with the bull jacker (or rooster jacker, which I once heard someone discussing as their previous career on the radio.)

Red Matrix
12-29-2003, 04:26 PM
I don't mean to hijack here, but, in the USA, the most dangerous job is actually credited to the old fashioned garbage man. (s)He uses only gloves to handle the unknown trash bags and cans. A needle with AIDS could puntcure him, a dog could bite him..etc

It's also a little demeaning, but somebody's gotta do it, and they get paid better than I do.

SnoopyFan
12-29-2003, 04:40 PM
When horses are put out to stud (the ones that win races like the Kentucky Derby), they are not allowed to actually do it with the girl horses. (They might get too excited and break a leg or something.) People who work in the stables go to the boy horse and use some really weird equipment to get the horse sperm out, and then they collect it and put it in little vials, which are then given to the owners of girl horses.

That's a pretty bad job, I think. Especially when you realize the horse can have a little horse orgasm and make more money than you ever will in your entire lifetime.

Harriet the Spry
12-29-2003, 04:55 PM
I have had some cleaning jobs that some would probably consider demeaning, one in a pet store and one in a YWCA residence for homeless women. One thing that makes cleaning jobs less demeaning than you might think is there is always a tangible satisfaction of seeing the results of your work. In the case of the pet store, there were also puppy hugs!

One that comes to mind is one that someone described to me once while he was interviewing for a job. A major financial corporation had screwed something up big time, and hired a bunch of temporary CSRs just to get yelled at. There was really nothing these CSRs could do to help, they just needed to pick up the phone and let the customers vent.

Another that might be a contender is one that was described in Fast Food Nation, the people who come in at night to clean the meat processing plant. I can't do it justice, but I do recommend picking up that book if you want to write a great essay about demeaning jobs.

I think anything where someone hires you to lie for them is what I'd vote for in the end. No matter how apparently glamourous the job is, in the end that eats your soul.

medstar
12-29-2003, 05:25 PM
I think a demeaning job would be people who had to check deodorant's effectiveness by sniffing stranger's armpits, before and after deodorant application. I'd have to think long and hard before taking that job.

Pablito
12-29-2003, 06:14 PM
chicken sexer is often touted as one of the 'worst jobs' around. As I understand it, you stink your pinkie into the newborn chick butt to determine its gender. If it's a male, you get to kill it.

culov
12-29-2003, 06:19 PM
Thanks for all the comments everyone!


Harriet the Spry:

Well the exact essay prompt is "What is the most memorable book you have ever read?" I was planning on writing it on Nickel and Dimed, simply because pretty much everything that I have read is related to science and an essay about how a science book has influenced me can't be too exciting. I have read about 1/4 of fast food nation, and REALLY wanted to read the rest but all the college crap (thats what this essay is for) got in the way. Would you suggest I go to the bookstore right now, and try to finish the book by midnight so i can write the essay on it overnight? Im on the west coast and its exactly 4:20 here so ive got a little time. Essay must be done by the 31st but i really wanted to use tomorrow just for proofreading. I read Nickel and Dimed around the time it came out so its not too fresh in my mind... maybe reading fast food nation now would be better. Ok, im on my way to the bookstore :)

Zsofia
12-29-2003, 06:59 PM
I've always felt sorry for restroom attendants. Now surely they get tipped well, but... Bad enough at poncy restaurants, but here we have them for some reason at our State Fairs as well. Sure, I pity-tip, but good lord. I'm not sure how worth it the money is there.

aaslatten
12-29-2003, 07:25 PM
Originally posted by Zsofia
I've always felt sorry for restroom attendants.

I don't feel sorry for them at all. Every time I go to the bathroom, I end up spending a dollar to dry my hands. It's annoying. Anyway, I know some of those guys are actually self-employed; they arrange with the bars to set up as an attendant in the restroom. Besides tips, they also sell products and single cigarettes (which is actually illegal in the U.S.).

I agree that being a maid would be far from the most demeaning job. I know several very happy self-employed maids, for one thing. Also, I think any manual labor has a certain inherent satisfaction. It's jobs like the Wal-Mart job described above that truly suck, when you are treated like a low-life before you have even done anything wrong.

!ceQueen
12-30-2003, 12:38 AM
I'd have to go with telemarketing. It is very demeaning when people hang up on you all day. I'd be in tears.

Odinoneeye
12-30-2003, 02:08 AM
My wife owns her own cleaning service. Of all her clients, there's only one she thinks treats her disrespectfully. In fact, most of them not only gave her good Christmas tips, but presents as well.

She's planning on dropping the one that treats her bad as soon as she gets a replacement client.

Most demeaning job...

How about President of the United States. You can't make a move without millions of people telling you what an ass you are.

Obsidian
12-30-2003, 02:43 AM
I'm guessing the OP gets the housecleaning-is-demeaning from reading Nickel and Dimed (a book I liked a lot, btw). The author works for a 'cleaning service', where they're paid minimum wage and treated like potential criminals (just like at Walmart). IIRC, they aren't allowed to drink anything during the day, and are required to scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees, mostly as a trademark gimmick (as any actual proffesional housecleaner will tell you, a mop and bucket it better). Also, they didn't actually clean, the just wiped, dusted and sprayed air freshener.

My parents' cleaning lady makes better money than I do, and recieves frequent and effusive thanks from my mother, who is physically unable to keep the house clean since I moved out. (She still insists on 'helping', though. She pays the woman and still she feels guilty). She and my mom sit and bullshit in spanish while they work. She is self employed, however, recomended to us by friends.

We had a nanny when I was growing up. She became a surrogate grandmother to me and we are still close. I remember her telling me when I was an adult how much she appreciated that my family treated her like an employee and not a servant-- in that she was given X number of paid vacation & sick days to take at her discretion, paid for a full week, regardless if my mom happened to be home one day, or whatever. Her day started at 7:30 and ended at 4:30, and my mother would appologize and give her comp time if she were home late. When she came on vacation with us, along with things like the free trip to London, they paid her overtime. Looking back, I'm actually sort of impressed with my own parents, though my dad runs his business in the exact same way (and has the fervently loyal and exceptionally productive workforce to prove it). In return for a little dignity, she spent nearly 20 years providing the best child care you could ever ask for.

I think it is entirely about how employers treat their employees. And it's sad because I tend to think men like my dad are now the exception, not the rule.

yola
12-30-2003, 03:22 AM
My most demeaning job was my third+ year of Local 367 Plumbers & Pipefitters apprenticeship.

These fuckers were rotton to the core. Me, an unknown woman, in their neices and meecies world didn't quite cut the mustard. Why they excepted my application in the first place besides acing the math test is beyond me. I went through degrading hell with them from the first day when the whole class got to cut in line at the unemployment office. Should have been a signal to my brain. Damnit! Anyway, after a while riding the "out of work" list fullfilling their EEOC quota I got a job call.

The sewer treatment plant! So I go to work (small plane ride to big airport, taxi to work) as you have to as an apprentice. Once your a journeyman you can pick your jobs. They were surprized to see me make it as their plan was I wouldn't. The sewer treatment plant is where they send old elephants to die. In other words, Local #367 was running me off. Just as they handed me the biggest screwdriver you've ever seen (to pop out the holes of a big sewer suck up line) a friend came to my rescue and got me sent to his job. Whew! That was close. That was for the C.R. Lewis company.

It was a demeaning job because it really didn't have to be done. It was a message that I should have bean a Teamster.

clayton_e
12-30-2003, 05:55 AM
I had a job for the state cleaning toilets at a campground.

That job sucked.

Kalhoun
12-30-2003, 07:27 AM
I don't mean to hijack here, but, in the USA, the most dangerous job is actually credited to the old fashioned garbage man.
I dated a garbage man for a while. He was actually more into recycling, and he'd bring me the best garbage. Nice guy, but he kept wandering off into the mountains...gone for weeks at a time.

Kalhoun
12-30-2003, 07:29 AM
Especially when you realize the horse can have a little horse orgasm...
Have you ever seen the size of one of those things? I don't think the ever have a "little" orgasm. ;)

look!ninjas
12-30-2003, 06:13 PM
Working for a cleaning service in someone's home would probably not be so bad. Working as a housekeeper in a hotel, however, can be really awful - it's definitely my least favorite memory from my work history, and I was a busser and a dishwasher. People do things in hotels that they would never, never do in their own homes.

Silver Serpentine
12-30-2003, 07:54 PM
I agree that Fast Food Nation is a really good book, but I don't really know if you'd be able to finish it all quick-like. It talks about how they make atrificial flavor, meat plants, McDonald's, the development and history of fast food, and it's effect on the US.

The most demeaning job I've ever had. Hmmmmm.

Telephone poller or working in a Starbuck's in a grocery store. People are so RUDE.

Wesley Clark
12-30-2003, 10:28 PM
Wow, maidservice is demeaning? Thats nothing.

THE most demeaning job on earth is a nursing assistant in a retirement home. You spend all day bathing old people and wiping their asses for $1.25/hr more than you would make at McDonalds. i went to visit one and it was disgusting, 90 year olds would shit on the floor and the nursing assistant would have to clean it up.

Odinoneeye
12-31-2003, 03:15 AM
are required to scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees, mostly as a trademark gimmick (as any actual proffesional housecleaner will tell you, a mop and bucket it better)

Slight nitpick, this depends on the floor. My wife always cleans floors on her hands and knees on the first visit to a new client and whenever it needs it after that. She has one client with some kind of cork floor that she has to clean on hands and knees every time.

China Guy
12-31-2003, 08:15 AM
My cleaner is a godsend. I couldn't travel 50%+ and work ungodly hours, and still have any remote resemblence of a home life if I didn't have someone to do the shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Damn straight I appreciate it.

Stover9
12-31-2003, 08:59 AM
My employer is a 50 year-old female. Her husband's salary is $500,000/year (tax attorney), so basically, the office I work in is just "for show" really.

Anyway, she's had my co-worker go to her house recently to do the following personal things:

a) take a black magic marker, and color-in the letter " Y " on the placemat sitting on the front porch (their last name starts with "Y", and she determined that the "Y" on the mat should be black instead of brown).

b) determine how many chairs should sit around the dining room table - 4 or 6 (couldn't figure out which "looked better").

c) dispose of cobwebs in basement

d) pack their suitcases (underwear included) for family trip to Arizona.

I could go on and on. . .quite unbelievable, really.

Tir Tinuviel
12-31-2003, 09:59 AM
If you're going down the maid route, I'd recommend you read "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich.

It's a very good book about trying to survive on the minimum wage in America, Ehernreich takes a job as a maid for a while, and some of the stories of what people had to put up with are atrocious. (Like carrying a heavy vacuum pack on their backs while having a broken ankle because they can't afford to take a day off work to go and get it seen to or the kids wont eat).

Frightning stuff.

dwc1970
12-31-2003, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by look!ninjas
Working for a cleaning service in someone's home would probably not be so bad. Working as a housekeeper in a hotel, however, can be really awful ... People do things in hotels that they would never, never do in their own homes.

Can you give us any examples?

On second thought, maybe I don't really want to know.

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