Before accountancy: The worst jobs in the world

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For many of us, the first forays into the working world started with a humble paper round, pot washing at a run-down restaurant or a spell pulling pints at the local. We’re curious to learn if this is true of the UK accounting profession, or if you have some more grisly vocational skeletons in your cupboard.

A quick poll of the office team uncovered a Pandora’s box of rubbish factory jobs we’d rather keep a memory lid on. From cleaning turkey carcasses to working in a tampon factory and risking ‘cheese nail’, a condition afflicting the digits of those brave enough to work in cheese processing plants, everyone’s cupboard contains a veritable bone-yard of dubious jobs.

What was your worst ever job before you took the plunge into the world of finance and figures? Tell us your tale below this article. We appreciate the memories may be painful to relive, but if it makes you feel any better, here is a run-down of some undesirable vocations we’ve found around the world.

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About Matt Henkes


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02nd Jul 2009 18:43

My life of crap
How long have you got? I did all sorts of jobs in my spare time when I was at school. I dished up battered Mars bars to builders down the local chippie, I got puked on by bratty kids I babysat in the neighbourhood, I got clay stuck in my hair working at a 'paint your own pottery' workshop, I got stuck in someone's pond whilst working as a gardener and was made to dress up as a medieval wench and play giant chess with American tourists whilst helping out our local fancy dress shop. I could write a book on all the rubbish jobs I did!

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By Anonymous
03rd Jul 2009 11:13

Aged 17, I lied about my age and competence and was appointed a photographer at Butlins. I was duly issued with a camera and a smart blue blue blazer prominently marked in several places 'OFFICIAL CAMP PHOTOGRAPHER'.
As a result of a sheltered upbringing I had no idea why people thought this was funny.
All these years later I can't remember if I lived up to the description. I got sacked after 4 days.

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03rd Jul 2009 13:20

How about

Hi Yes Hello.....

How about being in charge of the new accountigweb website, amount of flack you guys are getting recently is totally in most part almost
undeserved in my opinion.

Chow for now

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By Anonymous
04th Jul 2009 13:19

I assume your comment was ironic?
The switchover to the new site has been utterly shambolic.

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06th Jul 2009 12:57

Before I was an accountant
Long before I had to consider my post education career path I was a childrens party entertainer (from age 14).
Indeed my business development efforts in this regard were probably the earliest evidence of my entrepreneurial ambitions that then lay dormant almost throughout my accountancy career!

Mark Lee

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10th Jul 2009 09:45

Horrid Job
A worked in an hotel called the Ship Hotel - should have been called the "Sh*t" Hotel. The bar was frequented by travelling land-workers - who got into regular fights involving knives and glass. The toilets were shocking - other than having been liberally sprayed with urine, I found a soiled sanitary towel in a cistern, and once someone defacated on the floor (although the owner herself cleaned that up, realising expecting me to do that would be too much). Residents included sewerage workers from across the water, who carried "Weils" (an infection from contact with rats and rats' urine) cards. They enjoyed a drink or twenty after work, and I would have at least two urine soaked beds to deal with the following day. Yuck. However, even though the job was so foul, it wasn't boring - which has to be worse. Most boring jobs include potato grading (in a huge shed, no daylight, watching spuds roll by on a conveyor belt for 7 hours. Travelling to and from work in a transit van crammed with heavy smokers), and PUBLIC SECTOR AUDITING!

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12th Jul 2009 15:16

Factory Painter?
When I was, I think, 17 I blagged a job as a painter. The work involved painting the girders in the roof of what used to be the Gloster Aircraft factory, 40Ft up. They were then making petrol tankers for Esso, cut and curled sections of which stood, edge up, on the floor underneath.

In the good old days before Health & Safety (I think that the old Factories Act SHOULD have applied) we were expected to walk on 14inch duck boards across 12Ft voids with a bucket of paint in one hand and a bunch of brushes in the other.

When I was castigated for not painting the underside of the main braces, the surface of which was about 18Inches BELOW the duck boards I was shown by Murphy how to do it. This involved hanging upside down by one arm and one leg while painting with the free arm and we were NOT wearing ANY form of harness. Remember the curled section of tanker underneath?

At that point, the end of day 2, I left.

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