Last month we asked for your stories of summer jobs in hell. This tale about a job in a dirt factory during a hellishly hot Georgia summer will make you grateful to be unemployed. Dirty worker, please identify yourself at [email protected] to claim your $50 gift certificate to Grand Cru and go get yourself a well-deserved beer!
“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 seven 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 five-foot by two-foot door at the bottom of the silo. Once the metal was removed we were then greeted 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 four 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 pickax 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 definitely job security so we just kept on keeping on. When we got back from lunch it was about 1 o’clock 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 now 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. Oh happy days.”