I Lived Off Disaster Insurance for Months, Cutting Kids' Hair and Making Them Cry

"The owner had no idea how shit I was at that job until it reopened"

We’re back at it with Best Job in the World: the show where we ask YOU about YOUR jobs – the best, the batshit, and the ones that broke you.

I think we can all agree that work sucks. Yes, even here in Australia, with considerably high wages. Even when you have a job that you like, even if you’re one of those [?] people who have no hobbies outside of work… Work still fucking blows. 

If you’d rather go to work than spend your day frolicking amongst the trees, or chilling with your dog, or eating pickles straight out of the jar, or whatever people do in their free time… Well… you’re too far gone. This is a series for people who are loath to work.

And yet we do it. Because we must. 

But it isn’t all bad: Sometimes fortune beams down and blesses you with incomprehensibly fortunate circumstances. 


For, as we know, capitalism is a fickle beast: It taketh and it giveth… seemingly at random.

The Bartender to Barber to Never Working Customer Facing Roles Again Pipeline

Best job I ever had was as a bartender at a restaurant that caught fire six days after I started. I showed up to my third shift and nobody had called me to say what had happened, I just saw the owner outside with his head in his hands and fire engines on the street.

Insurance paid my wages for the next seven months while it was being rebuilt and I just got sent on various food and wine courses. Training involved us tasting everything on the menu, including $500 bottles of Dom Perignon, and going on trips to vineyards around the country. It was all completely wasted on me – I was just looking for part time work to support me while I was doing a barber course. The owner had no idea how shit I was at that job until it reopened. I had some hospo experience, but at gastro pubs, so I was not cut out for fine dining. 

About three weeks after the restaurant had reopened it had become pretty clear the role wasn’t going to work out, and when I told the boss I was leaving he didn’t do a good job of hiding his relief. He even said I didn’t need to do tonight’s shift if I didn’t want to (had a reviewer coming).

I never did hospo again. My next job as a barber was easily my worst. I mostly just swept up hair and was occasionally allowed to dye an Elvis impersonator’s sideburns when he came in for his weekly visit. It was probably for the best. When I was allowed to cut people’s hair they’d always leave looking visibly depressed. 

One time I was cutting a teenage boy’s hair and he just started crying halfway through it because he didn’t want to go to school the next day.

I’m a copywriter now, which is a lot better because it doesn’t involve hand-eye coordination or being nice to people.

Many thanks to @jestermaxx.

Got a weird or worst or wildest job experience? We’d love to hear it. Contact Ari at arielle.richards@gmail.com or via the social links below.

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Australia, wine, Barber, Life, fire, Work, Australia/NZ, Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs, job, Hospitality, jobs suck, copywriting, Worst Jobs, best jobs, best job in the world

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