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What we won't do for a dollar? Not much ...
We hope our readers enjoyed the Labor Day holiday, and perhaps took a little time on the extra day off to think about work -- the blessing and the curse, the trivial irritations and the weighty responsibilities.
Mike Finders, a musician who has made several appearances in McCook with the Finders & Youngberg folk group, posed the question to his Facebook friends: "Hardest work you ever did?"
There were the predictable answers from his fans, such as "attempt at professional musician" or putting away sound gear in a storm, but the rest were a fascinating sampling of American occupations:
"Forming, pouring and finishing concrete."
"Running an air hammer drilling rock for dynamite. And maybe boot camp."
"Painting vats of chemicals on the early shift at a chemical factory."
"Working the assembly line in a licorice factory - we'd get licorice splinters in our hands!."
"Assembling outdoor antennas in a factory. Most disgusting -- cleaning college apartments."
"Plow a field of rye. And the easiest work that I ever done, Honey, was eat a little chicken pie."
"Line clearance for the electric company = climbing 80 ft. Ponderosas with a chainsaw to take out growth around transmission lines. Did it for two years, only got shocked once -- that was once too many."
"Mining at 30' below zero at 13,000 feet in the Climax mine above Leadville."
"Unloading train cars of charcoal briquettes!"
"Working on a fruit and vegetable farm. Weeding, pruning, harvesting, assembling 16-foot irrigation pipes, digging smelly run-off mud out of a holding pond, clearing brush to create new fields, etc."
"Carry 2-3 ft diameter cedar logs out of the woods without the help of any motorized machinery."
But not all the work was hard, disgusting and / or dangerous:
"Three months as a trainee staff-member at a busy humane society, hard work, and a sharp mix of rewarding and very depressing."
"Bearing and raising children. Then I would say roofing."
"First year of teaching at a big, traditional high school ... with class sizes of upwards to forty kids. I had 186 across five periods after student teaching at a small, progressive school ... with class sizes between twelve and twenty-four."
"Court Advocate for battered women (and imagine the worst-case-scenario judge)."
Polling the Gazette yielded similar results.
"Dietary manager in a nursing home. Never been lied to so much in my life."
"Fire restoration cleaning, or working in a bakery."
"Cocktail waitress. I lasted one night."
"Egg house -- moving chickens."
"Building steel buildings. It was freezing in winter and so hot in summer you couldn't touch your tools."
"Started a newspaper. Hardest work ever, but it was fun. It's still going."
"Worked in a liquor store for two weeks, they told me I just wasn't tough enough."
"The breakfast rush at McDonald's in high school. Wendy's was a piece of cake after that."
"Working on a harvest crew. Ridiculous hours for crap pay, but it was a good experience at age 16."
What was your hardest job? What did you learn?
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if we can use your name.