View Full Version : Weird, wacky tasks in the name of your job

12-15-2006, 04:07 PM
I am compiling anecdotes of the weird things people have had to do while on the job. These are things that were not listed in your job description. They just came up, and somebody (you) had to handle them.



12-15-2006, 06:33 PM
I used to own a party bus business in SF. After tiring of people getting sick on the bus and having to pay costly clean up fees, I found myself handing out "air sickness" bags for people to upchuck in if the need presented itself.

12-15-2006, 07:38 PM
I used to be an animal control officer a few years back. We had a call for a deer stuck in a wrought iron fence. Apparently the night before it had walked/or jumped through the bars (about 10 inches apart) and it's hips got stuck. The poor thing panicked and it died from shock, which wasn't uncommon for these situations. The next day, the property owner found it, called us. Two other officers couldn't get the darn thing out, not after it'd swollen up. They had to use a hacksaw to cut it out. True story. The property owner didn't want to cut his fence. I got some wierd pictures of one officer carrying the head/shoulders, and the second carrying the hind quarters.


12-16-2006, 02:46 AM
I can't top vomit and deer bisection, but I've had to clean bathrooms when I worked retail. This was in a situation where the once-a-day cleaning by the night crew proved woefully inadequate.

Maryn, who should've gotten hazardous duty pay

12-16-2006, 02:58 AM
In college, I worked briefly as a maid in a cheap motel. Once, I had to vaccuum around three blow up dolls dressed in camo.

After college, I worked for a couple years in a group home. We had a scabies outbreak. I was spared, but I had to clean the rooms of the infected clients with undiluted bleach. Even with gloves and a towel wrapped around my head, I got sick. Actually, I had to do A LOT there that wasn't in the job description.

12-16-2006, 03:16 AM
I worked as a production coordinator in the late 80s. We were to tape a scene the next day which involved a bunch of kids lashing together logs to make a raft. We couldn't find any natural logs to use, so we rented telephone poles. They were delivered to the beach the night before and arranged in a large pile.

Guess who got to sit on a pile of logs until 2 am to guard them against theft? Lonliest night of my life.

12-16-2006, 04:48 AM
One of my earliest temp jobs (I've temped for years, on and off) was in a university ag campus office. Mostly I did regular office stuff, but toward the end of my stint there the department was filming a PSA in Cades Cove that would require an overnight stay. Because the camera guy was male and the writer was female and they both had to go, I was asked to come along as a chaperone/equipment carrier. We stayed overnight in tents and filmed a lot of black bears and deer and raccoons and stuff--a lot of fun, actually, since I love camping, and I got paid for it too. But now that I look back on it, it sure was a weird situation for a temporary secretary to be in. :)

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-16-2006, 06:09 AM
Try being a school secretary. It's not just sitting in an office poring over attendance registers. Catching projectile vomiting in a plastic bowl six feet away from the source of the vomit emitter (I did say projectile!), cleaning up kids after diarrhea, cleaning the school during a caretakers' strike, covering for your boss ("he's in a meeting") when in fact he's in France taking care of his job-on-the-side, lots of blood, lots of gore, everything but taking out a spleen on my desk with a teaspoon.

12-16-2006, 07:19 AM
During a massive power outage from Florida Flash and Flicker, we lost all power to the JDK Space Center and the flashlights were handed out to traverse the rooms and halls.

The emergency lamps mounted on the walls were not working, or were inadequate and the nearby menís room was pitch black. You had to hold the door open to see from the emergency lights from the halls, if you were lucky.

The women could use their bathroom, but I couldnít. So... Sylvia, one of the young girls who worked with me offered to hold the flashlight for me, grinning from ear-to-ear.

12-16-2006, 08:52 AM
When I worked in a small family owned business the boss brought in her 2 month old grandbaby for the day. She had to leave for an emergency. I got to feed the baby, change diapers and run the office. It was fun but odd.

Now where I work, they are a pet friendly company. One of my coworkers brings his 120 lb French Mastif in a lot. Now I love dogs, but have you ever seen Turner and Hooch. The drool factor is awful. I get to be walked by him often.

Cat Scratch
12-16-2006, 12:57 PM
I had to sing Silent Night in a room full of people with a porn star.

What is this for?

12-17-2006, 01:53 PM
1: As a cleaner in a highschool (admin offices and toilets) I had to:
Shoo mice from my vacuum cleaner bag

Fish one shoe, one wallet, a locker door, and various food items from blocked toilets (at different times)

Clean up a pie mushed over a wall

Clean the boy's bathroom when a 'wet toilet paper' contest had ensued

Try to clean the boy's bathroom while a few highschool boys were in there using the urinal (Please keep in mind that I was in there first, they knew I was in there, I am female, and at the time I was about 17)

2. While wroking at a bakery I had to clean the bread pans and brush them off. They were absolutely covered in spiders. I hate spiders.

3. While working in a supermarket:

Persuade an innebriated gentleman that he couldn't buy alcohol, and I knew he'd been drinking because he had the wine festival wineglass still tied around his neck (more funny than wierd, I know)

12-17-2006, 10:25 PM
I've got a thousand and one weird work stories, but unfortunately, they were all in the job description (Renaissance Faire).
And I Shrugged, I can never look at a vet the same way again.

12-18-2006, 03:43 AM
At any store which sells men's dress shirts, they often have pins in them, which always managed to escape and lurk hazardously in the carpet. So although I was nominally a cashier, I once spent most of an hour on my knees removing pins from the carpet.

12-18-2006, 06:24 AM
I once dethawed, bathed, blow-dried and "staged" a dead, frozen dog so my boss could pretend it had died an hour ago, instead of 12 hours ago.

Once had to sew the head back on a dead (obviously) parrot so the owner could pick up the body and NOT find out the kennel cats had decapitated it and used it's head as a cat toy.

Had to sew a doctor's pants back together twice in the same night when he split them down the ass-end working the night shift with me.

All the other fun stories were really just in the line of duty - unusual, but normal for the profession :D

12-18-2006, 08:01 AM
Ooh! Midnight Muse reminded me. This happened to someone I know: she was working at a theatre, as an intern in costume design. One of the costumes required a fur to be sewn onto the collar of the dress. She thought, "Okay, no problem." Then she realized, it wasn't just a fake fur--it was a whole (dead) ferret. She had to sew a dead ferret onto a dress.

But logic also leads us to: someone has the job of killing ferrets for costumes.

12-18-2006, 08:29 AM
But logic also leads us to: someone has the job of killing ferrets for costumes.

Mr. Ford? Ms. Chevy?

Doctor Shifty
12-18-2006, 04:07 PM
When I was at high school I worked a holiday job in the local department store in my country town. I was mostly in toys and helped in men's wear. The women's wear was next to toys, and at Christmas time we would get lots of farmers, shearers, backwoodsmen type guys come in and want to buy something sexy for their wives. So they would come to me instead of going to the women staff.

It is funny to look back at being 16 or 17 and fishing through the lingerie racks next to a beefy looking bloke in a sweat-stained hat and with hands like a grizzly bear who was too embarrassed to touch the clothes. Luckily I could ring up the sales at the toy counter to save these guys from actually having to talk to the female staff.

12-19-2006, 02:45 AM
I was asked to go buy a Christmas tree and decorate it for the owner's wife. It was 3pm on Christmas Eve and she needed it done by 5pm sharp, when her guests arrived at her exclusive, country club home. She also wanted everything - all decorations, ornamtents, garland, etc.- in lavender and purple. Only! I had to decide if I should drive all over town to find purple decorations and risk not having a tree up when people walked in, or grab what was left in various colors and be out of there at 4:59pm.
It was a strange task to assign to the 22 year old receptionist (me) when she had caterers, housekeepers, and personal assistants on her "staff".
(I chose the latter- at least there was a nicely decorated tree.)

12-19-2006, 04:36 AM
I worked for a company where the CEO had "rights" over the small refrigerator next to the reception area. It was part of my job to make sure that the receptionists stocked only regular Coke in the fridge since it was the CEO's favorite drink. Never mind that visitors to the company would use the lobby and that the receptionists would have to take a 5 minute hike to the break room to get a cold diet Coke (or whatever) while leaving the switchboard unattended.

At a different company, I had to witness getting rid of a baggie of pot that had been found in one of the company vehicles. I had the good sense not to ask about the baggie's owner.

I almost forgot this one...I had to hunt down an air conditioning unit for a Mercedes that had been manufactured for an overseas 'gray' market. Yes, I did manage to find it by calling the Mercedes dealership in Beverly Hills.

Doctor Shifty
12-19-2006, 03:44 PM
Place I worked at once was having a slow day so the boss sent me to his fancy home to do some painting.
"Round the back is a porch. Near the back door is a wire brush, electric sander, a can of paint and a paint brush. Rub the whole porch back well and paint it. Should take you most of the day."
"OK", I said and off I went. When I got back he asked me if it was finished.
"Yep, all done. But what a waste", I told him. "Anyway", I said, "it's not a porch its a Ferrari."


12-19-2006, 07:15 PM
Used to do odd jobs at a stable when I was boarding my horse, earning money to help cover the board and lessons.

The owners had about a hundred boards, plus a string of around 20 rental horses and "project horses" being trained for resale. One time, they rented a couple of horses and an arena to somebody shooting a "horse safety" movie.

*I* was handed the lead rope of one of the ugliest horses I've ever seen by the wife of the husband and wife team who owned the place. She to make him pretty for the movie crews. This horse was covered in scars and just UGLY. No mane or tail, either -- his tail had been docked. Plus, covered in manure. Anyway, I did my best, including clipping the little turd per her directions. (Did I mention he had a bad disposition and clipping him took some doing and assistance from a couple of the resident cowboys?)

Two hours later, the husband walks by and throws a fit that I'm grooming the horse. He takes the horse away (not entirely clipped) and comes back with a very pretty nut case who was, uh, not suitable for a video on horse safety, unless they wanted to demonstrate how to get hurt. At least he had better ground manners ... so I get THAT one cleaned up.

Along comes the producer, who throws a fit that the horse is the wrong color. He wanted a grey with a long mane and tail -- something the stable didn't own. He marches off, gets the wife, who goes, "Well, you own a grey, don't you?"

Just so happened I did. So I get my OWN horse -- who was actually fairly suitable for the job. Get her cleaned up. The producer's thrilled (my horse was the right kind of photogenic for the job, and the right color to film well) the wife shrugs and is happy. Everybody's happy.

Along comes the husband, who throws a fit that I've substituted my own horse at me, then at the producer and his wife. He apparently wanted his own pretty horse in the movie, ego thing.

They never did get the commercial shot ... I think the producer took his business elsewhere. LOL!

12-20-2006, 03:17 AM
Nyuk, nyuk. :-)

12-20-2006, 03:24 AM
Thank you all for posting your wacky experiences. Lots of great ones here! I am hoping to compile enough of these to write a book called Other Duties As Assigned. I've never written a nonfiction book, and I'm concerned (after the Million Little Pieces fiasco) that publishers will think these stories are made up. Any suggestions for how to get around that?


Doctor Shifty
12-21-2006, 05:10 AM
You'd better tell the publisher pretty early on that my story about the porch was made up. :)

Of course, that doesn't make it any less true.

12-22-2006, 03:43 PM
Thanks, Dr. Shifty. I'd heard that joke a while ago. :-)

12-22-2006, 05:00 PM
My first day of work ever was at a drug store when I was 16. Some industriuous kid had played with the display of Toll dolls. My task? Put all the clothes and shoes back on the trolls.

Later worked at a discount department store. While wandering aimlessly through the womens section looking for a price, I heard a sticking sound coming from my shoe. Thinking I had stepped on an piece of tape, I reached down to pull it off. Imagine my surprise when it wasn't tape, but a female hygene product adhered to my shoe, used side down. I felt nauseous, but a little like a murderer leaving the scene.

Same store, something I refused to do. they had janitorial staff, but they were constantly beign fired for stealing. Came to me because a customer complained about a dirty bathroom. I and a manager went to go look. Wow. Will never forget. There was fecal matter literally smeared on the walls. $7/hr was fair wage then, but not enough to clean up that filth. I looked at the manager, he looked at me and said "We'll just lock it up until the night cleaning crew comes in."

Working in a warehouse management area, someone went into the ladies room and left a present in the middle of the floor. Nobody asked me to do anything, but what happened sure got around fast.

No more poo stories. Sorry.

12-22-2006, 09:37 PM
I am hoping to compile enough of these to write a book called Other Duties As Assigned. I've never written a nonfiction book, and I'm concerned (after the Million Little Pieces fiasco) that publishers will think these stories are made up. Any suggestions for how to get around that?

Well, first you'll have to get permission from each of the respondents in this thread to use the story in your book. (As well as anyplace else you've gone to.) This will include real names, maybe addresses to make it "legit." Email permission should work. Might depend on the publisher. Just make sure you have documented information for each contributor, and a Million Little Pieces fiasco shouldn't happen to you.

Truth, as they say, is indeed stranger than fiction. It's hard to make up some of the things I've read in this thread. The publisher will know this, but documented sources will help CYO.

Good luck,


12-22-2006, 10:45 PM
I also worked in a tour company for awhile, in bilingual (Eng/Japanese) sales.

One night I got a call from the GM, "we need someone to accompany a tour group to Kauai." It turns out that the tour leader from Japan got sick or something and couldn't go. Never having developed a healthy fear of the unknown, I just said, "sure" and the next morning I was on the plane with 63 Japanese people.

Aside from my inexperience, there were other things contributing to my difficulties. As it turns out, they were a group of service station managers from Osaka. I learned my Japanese in Tokyo, and so couldn't understand their dialect. Everyone understood what I was saying, but I didn't get even simple requests that they made.

In the end, they were all good sports about it. One thing you can say about Osaka people: great sense of humor.

12-23-2006, 11:22 AM
How I *HATE* the phrase "other duties as assigned". It was what my (former) Lt. would say when he wanted me to do someone else's job, or program some new form/spreadsheet and that kind of crap.

But I feel bad. Thus far the only things I've had are:

taking the kids of a coworker I couldn't stand 230 miles to another city in order to join my boss at a Britney Spears concert

take over the charity program run by our department

But that's about it.