This infographic shows some famous authors who once had unconventional jobs:
I think it’s intended to be inspirational, in a “well, if they can do it, so can I” way. I’ve certainly had some horrible jobs in my 65 years, including a few that were when I was on a career ladder as a librarian and teacher—rather than just doing a humdrum job to pay the bills.
The worst, and this might make vegetarians feel faint, was working in a food factory that manufactured bacon, pork pies and quiches. It was a long time ago, in the mid-70s, and I’m sure hygiene standards have improved since then—though, the factory where I worked was closed for contravening them. Everything happened on site, from slaughtering the pigs to making the product, packing it and sending it out to supermarkets.
One of my first jobs was sweeping up pigs ears and putting them in a dustbin to be used by a pork scratching maker. They do say that no part of a pig is wasted, and this was proven by my promotion to a new task. A supervisor took me into a steamy room and gave me a chain mail glove to wear on my left hand. My right hand wielded an electric knife with a rotary blade. Three black dustbins were placed in front of me. One contained 1,000 pig testicles, the others were for holding the gristly middle that I’d cut out and the meaty flesh. The gristle went to a lard manufacturer, the meat was used to make pet food.
I did this onerous task for eight hours a day. Holding onto the slippery testicles turned my hand into a claw—I could barely open it at the end of the day. It certainly made me look at my own manly body differently as I soaped myself clean in the shower!
It’s not the sort of thing that will appear on my author biography when I’m rich and famous, but I’m sure it contributed to my strength of character.
What’s the worst job you’ve done?