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Kristen Howerton

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Kristen Howerton is a professor of pyschology and mom of four children within four years via birth and adoption. She's been blogging at Rage Against the Minivan as a coping skill since 2006. In the spring of 2010, Kristen lost her long and passionate battle against the minivan. It now sits in her driveway covered in crushed cheerios and remnants of her self-esteem.

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What Is The Weirdest Job You’ve Ever Had?

By Kristen Howerton |

I think it’s always interesting to hear what kind of jobs people held on their way to their “grown-up” occupation.  Before I became a therapist-turned-writer, I had a long line of jobs . . . some of them typical, and some of them more unusual.  Spoiler alert: one of them involved sliding down a fireman’s pole and then dancing on a bar.

Here is a list of some of the more interesting jobs I’ve held.

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What Is The Weirdest Job You've Ever Had?

Piano Teacher

This is probably the job I look back on with the most fondness. Those piano lessons that my mom forced upon me paid off - I was able to charge $10 for a half-hour lesson, which was an insanely good wage for a high school student in the early 90's.

What about you?  What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?  Any jobs that you are glad are over?  And any that you feel wistful about?


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You can find Kristen Howerton  blogging at Rage Against the Minivan, or avoiding housework over at Facebook or Twitter. Other posts you might enjoy:

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About Kristen Howerton


Kristen Howerton

Kristen Howerton is a professor of psychology and mom of four children within four years via birth and adoption. She's been blogging at Rage Against the Minivan as a coping skill since 2006. var sc_project=8124762; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security="ea310306"; Read bio and latest posts → Read Kristen's latest posts →

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14 thoughts on “What Is The Weirdest Job You’ve Ever Had?

  1. Tragic Sandwich says:

    Door-to-door doughnut sales when I was 9.

  2. Door-to-door doughnut sales is a thing? Where has this been all my life?

  3. Megan Charles says:

    I worked at a shelter for individuals that had disabilities. During the day, they worked in the factory doing jobs for companies the factory was contracted with (i.e. toothpaste companies, government agencies, etc.). We were hired to be both ‘model workers’ as well as to help the factory meet it’s overall production goals. Our jobs included putting toothpaste into individual boxes and then shipping boxes. One of the more interesting tasks was to take empty, individual tank shells and combine them into 2s using these hard expendable bands, then combine the 2s into 4s, 4s into 8s, etc. until there was one continuous line of tank shells. This was in the winter in Illinois and we weren’t able to talk to each other, have a radio playing, or even a carpet square underneath us to shield us from the concrete floor. I dreaded this job from the moment I got up until I had to go to work. What I learned from this job is that I needed to study hard at college and aim for a ‘professional’ / desk job. I was definitely humbled by this work experience!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    These were too funny. You have so many “odd” jobs! I feel terribly boring now. Most engineers start paid internships after their 1st or 2nd year of college so I had less time for weird jobs than most. I did do piecework for a company that made sprinkler systems, was a nanny, and operated a gondola before I had a job that required I sit at the computer all day.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Oh my gosh, the balloon animal hats in Vegas is BRILLIANT! ;) Loved that one! (And you have such a fun resume!) ;)

  6. KC says:

    I now feel exceedingly boring, which is kind of nice for once – thank you! :-) My paid work has all been bogglingly normal, in retrospect. (My unpaid work… less so.)

    (also, it may be an exercise designed to root out pedants in the audience or possibly to foil students googling for psychology professors who used to be can-can dancers… but in case it’s more of a spinach-in-the-teeth thing, I wanted to let you know that “psychology” is spelled “pyschology” in your profile)

  7. Ali says:

    My best job was in Daytona Beach testing suntan lotion. We put 2 different kinds on and every so often had to go splash around in the ocean. $10 an hour to play at the beach! I also bartended there- yeah, spring breakers! and would get paid to hand out flyers on the beach…oh those days.

  8. Melissa says:

    I was a lifeguard at Wild Rivers Waterpark during high school summers, which was great because all the kids who worked there were my age and on our off time we got to ride all the slides for free, and got a killer tan. I met my first boyfriend there.

    During the school year my Senior year of High School, I got a job at Red Robin ad THE Red Robin- I got paid $7.50/ hr (minimum wage was $4.25 at the time) to wear the bird costume and walk around the restaurant, waving and handing out balloons to kids. Downside was that it was very hot in there and some kids are mean and nasty and and have to come up with ideas like “Hey, let’s see if Red Robin has a penis!” Um, no.

    In college I had a few super cool jobs like “jello-shot girl” at “Sloppy Joe’s” (‘Nuff said) and Cigarette Girl at various nightclubs in Hollywood. That one was fun because I got to wear the old-school 20s-era costumes and fake eyelashes and whatnot, but the pay was crap. I was also a movie extra, music video dancer, hair model, and Gallup Pole Survey taker.

    Phew! Think I’ve had a few?

  9. Laci Morgan says:

    I’ve had an interesting mix of super awesome jobs and really bad ones.
    - Tour Guide at Universal Studios. I hung with Jaws and King Kong all day. ‘Nuff said, haha! If I still lived close enough, I would probably keep doing it!
    - Character Artist at Disneyland. Taught people how to draw Mickey. Fun!
    - Freelance Animator/Illustrator. My current job. Love it! I get a lot of creative freedom and variety and make my own schedule.
    - Photographer @ a theme park. Standing out in the hot sun on concrete wearing a heavy camera and assaulting people to take overpriced pictures. Most of the time I just got ignored or glared at. And heatstroke.
    - Cashier at a department store. The clothing discount was nice, but I hated how I’d fold things and then 2 minutes later they’d be in a pile again. (Nooo!) Also, you find GROSS stuff in Dressing rooms. And it starts to ruin your optimism about humanity when you realize how often people steal things.
    - Afterschool drama teacher. It sounds like fun, until you realize that many of the kids were put in the program because they were too hyper and loud for daycare. And wow, some moms get really upset when their kid isn’t “featured” every day onstage! There were some fun moments, but mostly exhausting, and I kept catching colds. :(

  10. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous for obvious reasons…

    I was an online decoy for child predators…yes, if Chris Hansen comes to mind then you know the basic premise.

  11. Tove says:

    Haha, is that Mark with blond highlights?
    I’m still at university, so I still have my non “grown-up” job, working at a call centre taking complaints when people haven’t gotten their newspaper in the morning. Can’t look at that one with nostalgia yet, unfortunately.

  12. Sarah says:

    I worked for Orkin Pest Control one summer as a technician. I spent the whole summer in southern California carrying around a backpack full of pesticides and killing spiders. Have I mentioned that I am terrified of spiders… and bugs of any kind for that matter. I don’t know how I got roped into that one but it was definitely one crazy summer!

  13. Tifanni says:

    My very first job at the ripe old age of ten involved moving sprinkler pipes for a farmer for $.10 a head. On a good day, we could make almost 10 bucks, but I had to split it with my sister as we worked together. Did I mention, this job took us each about 3 hours to complete a day. I also had a job of exercising horses at a ranch in high school. So yes, I got paid to ride all day long. In college, I worked as a translator for a migrant health program, which meant I went to a lot of pap smear and had to ask a lot of awkward questions.

  14. me, formerly a lot of things says:

    First commenter up there, it was the likes of you who contributed to my “Freshman 15″! People coming through the dorms late at night selling boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts? Is there an easier sale than that? It’s almost immoral!

    I was a ballroom dance teacher for a year after college. At the time they sold “dance vacations” that students could go on with their instructors. So there I was on a cruise with 3 others from the studio. Our foursome included: my student (a 50-something mentally impaired man), another instructor (a 40-something gay male), his student/my roommate (a woman named Edith, who was pushing 70), and me (21 year old girl). We were quite a crew. I’ll never forget the first night, when the poor couple assigned to dine with us at the same table every night inquired after introductions: “So!… How are you all… together??” Oh, my.

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