Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Stupidest Job I've Ever Had

Digging into my archives...

I've had some stupid ones. One of the worse was a construction job with an independent contractor at the Tyrone open-pit copper mine. I was a laborer and my job was to loosen stuck valves on one of the tailing dams. My tools consisted of a bucket of diesel fuel, a giant spanner, and a 20 lb sledge hammer. My “uniform” consisted of: blue jeans, T-shirt, a classic US Army field jacket (that I ruined on this stupid job), boots, gloves, and a hardhat. It was in January when daytime temps might be in the 40’s and hard blowing wind making the chill factor in the 20’s. Unpleasant conditions for a New Mexican.

I’d walk down the line, pour about a pint of diesel into the top of the valve, walk to the next valve about 20 yards and do the same thing. I’d do this to about 3 or 4 valves, then walk back to the first one, put the spanner on the big nut, and hammer the piss out of it with the 20 lb. sledge. It might take 10 or 20 hard blows to knock the valve loose. After it was turning, I’d walk to the next one and repeat the procedure. There were at least 50 valves to loosen.

I decided it sucked so much after the first day, I didn’t show up for the second day. I wanted nothing to do with that kind of work. Besides, the foreman was a jerk and the pay wasn’t worth it.

But this isn't the job that made me want to go back to college to finish a degree. It was another stupid job after this one...

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