What are the best/worst/strangest jobs you've gotten while traveling?

Matt Derrick

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#1
Hey folks, I'm curious to know what are some of the strangest jobs you've gotten while traveling (or between travels). These could be strange, or just good jobs, or just really terrible jobs; as long as it makes for a decent story. The best tales will be read on the StP Podcast with credit given to the author of course.

So here's your opportunity to spread some tales out into the world and educate your fellow (or newbie) traveler. Let's hear those stories!
 
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#2
Loitering in front of a punk/metal clothing shop to make it look more popular, they payed us in beer and some food
 
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Matt Derrick

Matt Derrick

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#3
Loitering in front of a punk/metal clothing shop to make it look more popular, they payed us in beer and some food
that's a funny one. where was this place located?
 
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Matt Derrick

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#4
has anyone worked as an extra for tv or a movie? i did a few music videos and tv shows back when i used to live in los angeles around 2000. production companies in LA love the punx (this was a while back when i had bihawks/liberty spikes).
 
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#5
has anyone worked as an extra for tv or a movie? i did a few music videos and tv shows back when i used to live in los angeles around 2000. production companies in LA love the punx (this was a while back when i had bihawks/liberty spikes).
Fairly easy work to get in Nola, (aka, little hollywood)...

Underground projects in Seattle/Portland - all about the bar/friends, from what I saw...

... Not something I intentionally pursued, but inadvertently happened, time to time.
 

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#7
Strangest job.. so many of em. Slaughter house, caregiving for my grandparents while I was heavily into my LSD phase, rice farm.. let's go with rice farm.

So I was up in Chico around 1998 or so, I had a car but struggled to find work there. The town tends to prefer employing the college students which is fair, but it leaves others settling for pretty much only the jobs the students wouldn't even consider. I struggled to find work there until a friend put in a good word for me with a friend who knew a lady that owned a rice farm.

It was a pretty stretched out recommendation(my friend had a friend who knew a lady) but it was enough to secure me the position apparently. My friend relayed to me the following details that I'd need to begin the job;

"Arrive at the corner of 4th and Cypress at 4am, you'll pick up a guy named John who will be waiting there for you. John has worked this rice farm gig in the past, but he's been in prison. This is his first time back to work since being released, he doesn't have a car so you'll need to pick him up everyday before heading to work. The rice farm people know him and trust him. John will explain the rest of the job to you when you meet."

So I arrive on time, 4am I pull up to that corner and sit no more than a minute. John comes out of the house I'm parked in front of. Hops in the car and asks if I smoke weed. I'm like heck yeah I do! Pretty cool, I get to go to work high this is going really well already! I had a couple rolled up so we smoked a fatty and headed on out into the country.

John had me drive about 30 miles from town way the fuck out in the sticks. On the way he explained to me that we were prepping the silos for the approaching harvest. First day we'd clean the inside of the silos by putting shop brooms in 20 foot pvc pipes and pushing them up on the inner walls to brush the dust off. Then we'd sweep the grated floors of the silo and call it a day.

The following day John brought me a hand truck/dolly with a 55 gallon drum fastened to it. It had a shop-vac on the top with an extremely long hose. He opened a hatch on the side of one of the silos and explained my next chore. I was to go down in there under the floor of the silo and vacuum out all the old rice that fell through the grate from the previous year.

No joke there were thousands and thousands of mice all throughout this massive basement just completely loaded with rice. I left the vacuum hose down there and climbed out to ask John what I was meant to do about the mice. He said vacuum them up just like the rice. It was pretty awful, even though they were totally fine and well alive upon viewing them in the barrel of rice once it was filled.

I had to keep going down there and just repeating that process, vacuuming up mice and rice. There was enough just under one silo to take me about three days to finish. On the third day we got high on the way just like the other days. We arrived and it was the same plan, I would vacuum and John would do whatever it was he was doing up above.

This particular morning for whatever reason the mosquitoes were fucking fierce! You could see a blanket of black over the water of the rice farm rows, all mosquitoes. They were eating me alive while I was down there vacuuming up mice and rice. Through my jeans, on my face, lips, ears fucking everywhere.

I crawled up out of there and asked John if it would be alright if we held off on that chore till the mosquitoes eased up. They would usually be gone by 9am from what I observed on the previous days. John just blew up, completely enraged and snatched the hose from my hand, he stormed down under the silo himself exclaiming "If you want something done you just gotta do it your fucking self!" and began vacuuming.

I just quietly eased backwards towards my car, opened the door real quiet like. Hopped in, started it up and hauled ass outta there. That was the last I saw of that guy. He had a hell of a walk back to town I'm sure. It always made me nervous because Chico isn't exactly known for being all that big, I figured he'd spot me around town and fuck me up or something.

I ended up abandoning my car and hitchhiking out of town shortly after that. Don't really got a whole lot of fireworks for the ending here, this is just kinda where the story ends.
 

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#8
Back in 2016 I got on a gig where I traveled around the country doing system and equipment updates at Sonic Drive-in's. Was a pretty sweet gig at 100-130$ a day, paid hotel on work days,occasional paid meals, and usually got kicked down some free food. Always got free hotel breakfasts, some more appetizing than others. On my days off I'd just check out the local area or head to the next job a day or two before and check that area out. Lived out of my truck, and slept in it or camped most off days. Occasionally crashed with family in Alabama. Went all over the south, the east coast, lots of places in between. Detroit, New York City, and New Jersey where some of the most fun jobs.
 
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#9
Found myself in Garden City, Kansas in about 2004 or 2005.

At the time I was a licensed falconer in the good old state of NY and was basically living the life out of a book called "My Side of the Mountain." Was living in a tent with 2 birds of prey that I had trained and was spending my days volunteering at a bird of prey rehabilitation center. I was camping out next to a dilapidated barn on the center's property. This went on for a few years.

Rumors started spreading about the center I was volunteering at (and camping out on the property) that they were going to declare bankruptcy and transfer all the birds we cared for to other facilities and sell off the property. Apparently the owners took out a huge mortgage and refinanced multiple times to delay the inevitable. They were holding on the best they could and were running fundraisers to try to keep things going.

Well one night I was hanging out and a deer was hit by a car just in front of the center. It was late and the police came to do an accident report. I walked up and asked them if I could have a tag for it because we had a flight pen of vultures that were getting ready to be released. Gruesome, but vultures will eat roadkill and I figured this would be a good meal for them. I got the tag and the deer and brought it around the back of the center to put in one of our large freezers to feed the vultures when they were days away from release. At this time, I was allowed to go anywhere on the property and and stop by at anytime. Volunteers were needed at all hours of the day and night to keep the birds healthy.

There was a guy from Australia that was a friend of the director living there at the time in exchange for helping feed, water, and clean enclosures of birds. It was about 12am, maybe later. I got this deer to the back door of the basement and opened the door. The door lead to the freezers and the "clinic" as it was called. This is where birds that were just brought in were placed. It was full of incubators to keep birds warm and tools to keep them alive. We had the "clinic" stocked with medicine as well. Basically this was an ER for birds of prey.

The previous day I had taken in 2 great horned owls that were stuck by cars, but would be releasable. Also took in a few red-tailed hawks with the same releasable nature. They were stunned, so to speak. A few days in rehab and they would be set free. Head injuries are common with bird/car collisions, but unless major damage happens, they usually heal up pretty quick.

I walked in to find this "friend" with a syringe in his hand and a jar of euthanasia on the table. The vial was literally labeled this. I'm not sure if this was a homemade concoction, but there was a medical label on it stating as such. Next to him were the bodies of many birds. He claimed all of the birds were not able to be released. Total bull shit. I left. He was trying to thin out the birds on permits to make transfers easier. I later found out that many birds that once called this center a home were euthanized. Absolute shit. These were great education birds too. Birds I had worked with for years and could be brought to any educational program or school function. Ugh...

I got out for good.

I had a friend heading out to Kansas, so I decided to hitch a ride. We got into St. Louis and that was the end with him. We got pulled over and he found he had a warrant, so end of the line with that.I decided to press on to KS. Got a few rides, and rode a few rails. Finally found a place in Garden City, KS.

Trying to get back involved with the bird of prey community, I found a job walking power lines counting dead birds of prey that met an untimely death at the hands of electrified power lines when they grounded themselves out. The purpose was to develop data to force power companies to install protective devies to prevent birds of prey from grounding out on the uninsulated power lines. Was cool to help the cause, but sucked to see so many birds that did not make it... Many of the ones we came across were threatened species... Totally sucked. I stayed out there a year or so, then headed back east.
 
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#10
Traveling dildo salesman. Enough said.
 

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#12
I once got paid $60 to kick a man repeatedly in the nuts and call him a "Sissy boy"
 
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#14
Best/most lucrative/easiest job: trimming. Making between 6-800 a day every day for 5-6 weeks aint no joke. Im a human machine. Wish my spot was still a thing.
Most fun/fulfilling job: by far tattooing. Working in a kitchen wasnt bad because i love to cook and actually enjoy washing dishes haha!
 
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#15
Frozen meat door-to-door sales.

Most of us "rented" a pickup truck with a broken deep freezer in the bed from the company. We take the boxes of steaks, seafood, and pork out on consignment. I did most of my sales in the county where their DA had banned us from operating for shady business practices.

My gag was to pretend I worked at a high-class restaurant. I told folks we had an electrical failure and all this great product was going to spoil and we just wanted to break even. Others would make up all kinds of crazy stories to sell this frozen meat. There was one guy who was HUGE. He would just yell at suburban randos from inside his truck "See these steaks?!?" at everyone. If they said no, he'd give them the hard sell. If they said yes, he knew someone else had been there and move on. Nobody would tell me why the DA came down on us, but I think it was this guy intimidating people into buying meat.

I only worked there for short time. We took two hour lunch breaks every day at the same bar so we could play pool. When we felt done selling for the day, usually around 3pm, we gathered at a co-workers house to do shots and play video games until 6pm --- so we could clock out at a respectable time.
 
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#16
I think it was 2011, I was trying to go to a gathering after going from GA to CA via greyhound. I knew nothing about traveling then and through a series of events got stuck working the summer at the coolest/worst job ever. also my first job ever.
I was loading sulphur dust into crop dusters. learned how to operate a stickshift forklift and they set me to driving pallets of 50, 50lb bags of sulphur down the runway. The boomtruck would follow which had this huge funnel with a sock on it that we'd fill up. had to wear full face respirators and even then the dust, which was as fine as ciggarete smoke would get in your eyes.

any ways the gig was loading this boom by hand, cutting and dumping the bags, the crop dusters would land and pull up, I would jump on its wing, engine still roaring, guide the boom and fill the hopper with sulphur, then I would connect a fule line, get her back to full, and once clear give a thumbs up and he would take off. do that about 8 times a day.

sulphur would get everywhere. you'd wake up in the middle of the night with it in your eyes sometimes, feels like onions but 1000 times worse. it was stupid dangerous too. a static discharge could set sulphur off and then myself and everything around me, including the boom truck holding about 700 gallons of fuel would be on fire.

one time the fuel gauge broke so I had to climb up to the top of the air craft and watch the tank fill, the guy that's supposed to be watching me foe the sign to stop was on his phone and jet fuel sprayed out the top of this thing and doused me. was not happy about that.

but man what a cool job, I love airplanes so getting to do basic cleaning and maintenance on them was awesome.

hell of a first job, don't think I'd ever do it again though.
 
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#17
Back in 2012 I think
Was up in Seattle when my clutch gave out. Called a company that was called transmissions NW I believe and they came and towed the car. The guy that worked for the company picked me and @Gaucho Deluxe up. I thought he was nice. He kept going on about how he was a Christian man. Anyways he brings us to the shop where he lets us stay until my car got fixed! Well if y’all don’t know to replace a clutch and flywheel expensive $1900 to be exact and I didn’t have all of that at the time. So the guy let’s us stay and work at the shop. Paint it and stuff for $100 bucks each a day!
he seemed cool at first... let us smoke his weed and drink his beers... but then that man started doing meth! anyways he started gettin hella paranoid and would not let us leave the shop because he thought there were cops outside. Omg this guy started freaking me out. He was getting really fucked up off that shit. He started telling the owners off and the owners start saying there was money missing... guessing the money he was giving us!
Got my car back and bounced with a quickness. Hope that mans not tweakn anymore.
 
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#18
has anyone worked as an extra for tv or a movie?
Yup yup, I was freelancing out in LA for a bit. Met some cool peeps on set. Still keep in touch.
It was fun! Almost landed a reality tv show but my stupid dui probation fucked it up! I got several call backs, may audition tapes and on camera interviews... even met the producers!
Shit sucked when they told me my probation was a problem.
But the casting company loves me and has sent me several shows they want me to audition for but some need me to be single or the show was not for me.
Maybe in the future.
 
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#19
Back in 2012 I think
Was up in Seattle when my clutch gave out. Called a company that was called transmissions NW I believe and they came and towed the car. The guy that worked for the company picked me and @Gaucho Deluxe up. I thought he was nice. He kept going on about how he was a Christian man. Anyways he brings us to the shop where he lets us stay until my car got fixed! Well if y’all don’t know to replace a clutch and flywheel expensive $1900 to be exact and I didn’t have all of that at the time. So the guy let’s us stay and work at the shop. Paint it and stuff for $100 bucks each a day!
he seemed cool at first... let us smoke his weed and drink his beers... but then that man started doing meth! anyways he started gettin hella paranoid and would not let us leave the shop because he thought there were cops outside. Omg this guy started freaking me out. He was getting really fucked up off that shit. He started telling the owners off and the owners start saying there was money missing... guessing the money he was giving us!
Got my car back and bounced with a quickness. Hope that mans not tweakn anymore.
yea his name was Bill. he let you drive his truck.
 

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#20
Worst jobs I got were both through day labor...one was literally just walking around outside a dump in Arizona collecting the trash that'd flown away from the dump in the wind. The other was directing foot traffic for a golf tournament, also in Arizona. For directing people, I wasn't allowed to wear a hat, and had to stand in the sun for up to 18 hours a day and didn't really get any breaks. The people were mostly way drunk rich people who thought of me basically as a cockroach, insulted me, and didn't listen to anything I said. I've never really felt so belittled before. I don't do day labor anymore.
 

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