Contest: Summer Job Horror Stories

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All over Baltimore kids are looking for summer work. The jobs, if you can get them, are typically hellish: babysitting bratty kids, hanging over a fryer in a fast food kitchen, digging graves in the hot sun, assisting a verbally abusive power tripper, to name a foul few. It’s a character building rite of passage, sure, and most of us get through it, with stories that seems funny in retrospect, but it seems pretty insufferable at the time.

Do you remember one summer job that was particularly brutal? Tell us your story! Winner receives a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant, where the lucky scribe may spy a beleaguered Baltimore teen busing loaded tables for peanuts. 

To get your creative juices flowing, we share with you a classic missive from a Baltimorean who worked as an assistant in the entertainment industry one summer. Makes grave digging sound cushy, no?

“Worst day of work ever. I had to be at Lydia’s house at 8 this morning with coffee, which meant I had to get up at 6:30 and leave by seven. I get there, and she’s still asleep so I have to wake her up, give her her coffee and then change her cat’s kitty litter and clean her room while she gets her hair blown out. After all this is done, she starts freaking out because she can’t find her coat and she has to be on the lot at 10:30. We finally get in the car and she calls (her first assistant) Rachel about how I have no idea what I’m doing and how I hadn’t been prepped properly. She insists to me that she’s not mad at me, but lets me know that I need to be briefed better on the things that need to go in her purse and make sure that there are coffee and cigarettes waiting in the car for her. If not, it puts her in “a really crappy mood.” She repeats that this can never happen again. At this point its 9:55 and we have to be on set at 10:30, which is 45 minutes away. I speed all the way and get her there on time, but when we get to the stage, she tells me to call Sue, one of the women she is meeting. I don’t have Sue’s number, but what’s worse is my phone is broken and spazzes out sometimes, and of course, it picks then to spazz. It won’t turn on and it’s freezing. “This is really shitty, this can never happen again,” she repeats over and over as if I were deaf and mentally challenged. I apologize profusely, and, because on some level she likes me, she tries to be positive but it is clear that she is pissed. She gets out of the car and slams the door. So, naturally, I drive away. I get back to the office, after crying the whole way, and apparently she’s angry because I drove away and the rest of the crew was running late so she was there alone when we “could have gone to get cigarettes and coffee.” I want to scream at her, “You’re 60 years old, can’t you make sure you have cigarettes?!! Can’t you make sure everything is in your purse that’s supposed to be there?!! Are you a moron?” But of course, I can’t. So I have to run out and get her coffee for before she gets here. Now she won’t look at me and I’m pretty much positive that she’s not going to want me to work here anymore, which sucks because I sacrificed my whole summer for this…opportunity.”

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  1. Worst day of my worst summer job was back when i worked at a dirt factory(and yes, we processed and manufactured dirt) in southeast Georgia. The day started like any other. It was about 7 in the morning, the sun was coming up and my best friend and i were getting our orders for the day. It seems that we needed to empty a silo that was filled with gypsum. The job started with us torching a 5 foot by 2 foot door at the bottom of the silo. Once the metal was removed we were then greated with a solid wall of gypsum. Now, to catch a few of you up, gypsum is a very soft mineral composed mostly of calcium sulfate dihydrate. Key word there is dihydrate. This silo had been sitting over half full for over 4 years in one of the most humid places in this country. Needless to say, after that amount of time it absorbed a lot of water and became rock hard. We began to shovel at it getting a very small amount at a time. We began to pick at it with a pick ax just to break it up and get a little progress going. By this time it is about 10:30 and already a hundred degrees. My friend and i are covered head to toe in this mineral and barely have a hole dug. We felt like it was going nowhere but hey, a full silo needing emptying is definitley job security so we just kept on keeping on. When we got back from lunch it was about 1 and also about 105 degrees by now. We came up with a brilliant idea to take a sledge hammer and start beating on the silo to try to break up some of the looser stuff that was on top. We were making more progress this way and after about an hour, while i was beating on it, a wave of gypsum comes pouring out, covers me up to my knees and scares the crap out of us actually. The top two thirds that wasn’t as hard finally gave way and all poured out this tiny door at the bottom of this three story silo. At this point we’re pretty good. All we had to do know was get the front end loader, scoop it up one load at a time and take it about 100 yards away. When we got done it was quitting time. We took one look in the silo and knew that, starting the next morning, we were going to have to hang out in this silo in this heat and manually shovel out the remaining 15 feet of gypsum from this silo. Oh happy days.

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