When he was in high school, Andrew Darragh recalled, he had a particularly horrendous night while working at the local pizza shop.
An order came in for 250 pies. Before the night was over, the shop turned to mayhem and there were pizzas falling on the floor after coming out of the oven.
But that sounds like a cake walk compared to Danny Woods’ experience of having to clean the “blood room” when he worked at a chicken factory, or Susan Rettig’s chicken plant nightmare when chicken fat had dripped onto her face.
Bad jobs are just a rite of passage when you enter the work force, but some can be worse than others. And sometimes, you just tough it out.
That was the case for Woods and Rettig, at least, who stayed working at the chicken factories for some time before choosing another line of work.
“It was in 1976 and it was so cold (in the chicken plant) there was snow and ice on the ground and there was almost ice on your pants it was so cold in there,” Rettig said. “You had to wear three sweaters and a coat.”
She said her job involved putting chicken parts in boxes.
“I started out — this is so funny — I would stand there and the chicken would come over you and they would drop in these bins. And you had to pick up two or three at a time and ... pack them in these pasteboard boxes,” she said. “And then lift these 70-pound boxes up on a conveyor belt ... I went to the bathroom one day and there was chicken fat stuck all over my face.”
That was the breaking point. That day, Rettig said, she had to talk to her boss.
“I told him, ‘I just can’t do this’ and he goes, ‘No, no, no, don’t leave; I will put you in a different department.’ ... So he moved me to the back where these thighs and legs come up and down a conveyor belt,” she said.
“It makes you appreciate your next job like you would not believe.”
Today even the worst of jobs are hard to come by in a tough economy, so sometimes it is just easier to grin and bear it.
“To me I would say, just do what they say,” said Darragh, a Gainesville resident who is taking graduate classes at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. “It usually isn’t that difficult to do what they tell you to do. Go with the flow and just do it.”
Bethany Schnuelle said she is still in graduate school at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta because of the bad job market today.
“You would think you are a shoe-in for a job, and a lot of our friends are receptionists or working in factories ... it is not what we signed up for when we got into college,” she said.
Nicholas Garcia, who is trying to get a full-time teaching job, said it is best to keep your options open for opportunities.
“I’m a fully certified teacher and couldn’t get a teaching job, so I know the job search,” he said. “I have an interview with a teaching position in Taiwan on Feb. 3. I’m from Gainesville but I’m willing to go anywhere, especially if it has to do with teaching.”
In the meantime, to look more attractive for jobs, Garcia has added more certifications.
“I am adding more certification areas like middle school math ... you have to diversify, being certified or qualified for as much as you can be. That is something that I am having to do even now,” he said.