People Told Us Their Worst Summer Jobs in Six Words
Illustrations by Brandon Celi


This story is over 5 years old.

summer jobs

People Told Us Their Worst Summer Jobs in Six Words

“Temp job: clown at waterbed store.”

Summer jobs are usually the worst. The pay is rarely great, the hours can be punishing, and you might have to interact with either the general public or other people’s children, which is its own particular kind of hell. Also, you're working. And it's summer!

For most of us, these kinds of low-wage gigs are a necessarily evil when you’re killing time during summer vacation or just trying to scrounge money before work dries up in the fall. Whether you dodged religious nutjobs or drunk camp counselors, stocked grocery stores or engaged in backbreaking menial labor, those memories of your worst summer job stay with you long after you’ve collected that last paycheck.


Your time spent clocking in long hours in the summer heat probably shaped your perception of what the working world is like, even if it’s just figuring out what kinds of work you never want to do again. We asked friends and co-workers about their gnarliest summer job. Here’s what they said.

“Sold frozen yogurt, lost a finger.” - Arman, 19

"Overnight security guard on fraternity row." - Allie, 28

"Washing old peoples' wrinkly malleable scalps." - Lia, 28

"Cleaning theme park piss and vomit.” - Beckett, 25

“Cart attendant at Walmart. Not good.” - Joshua, 23

“Pizza delivery in the Arizona heat.” - Ethan, 20

“Island, horse shit, and many tourists.” - Ryan, 23

“Folded letters and licked envelopes everyday.” - Courtney, 20

“Digging irrigation trenches with religious fundamentalists.” - Tucker, 25

“Constantly deep frying frozen chicken fingers.” - Peter, 20

“Denny’s graveyard shift. Vomit and tweakers.” - Alex, 20

“Laying carpet. Worst. Job. Ever.” - CJ, 33

“Slinging meatloaf in 90 degree heat.” - Jessica, 31

“Stocked groceries for rich entitled assholes.” - Jaina, 18

“Landscaping. Coped by smoking weed daily.” - George, 28

“Chicken processing plant, cut up hanger.” - Jim, 33

“Cleaning locker rooms after wrestling matches.” - Spencer, 28

“Hospital laundry; the smells and boredom.” - Chris, 44

“Temp job: clown at waterbed store.” - Kyle, 34

"Got coffee for people being intimate." - Michael, 33

"Folded maternity panties in dark warehouse." - Jonathan, 33


“Shucked lobster for tourists' lobster rolls.” - Anton, 24

“Michigan’s adventure amusement park, 5:30AM daily.” - Josh, 21

“Forced to listen to Despacito repeatedly.” - Jake, 21

“Neon-wearing cabana server at Raging Waters.” - Samantha, 21

“Ice cream stand next to Shamu stadium.” - Vanessa, 27

“Summer camp: kid shits bed nightly.” - Claire, 19

“Butchered meats for entitled white people.” - Swank, 19

“Battling avian flu in hazmat suits.” - M, 23

“Worked as garbage sorter with bums.” - Rudolfs, 23

“Johnny Rockets waiter. Cooks couldn't read.” - John, 26

“The only sober summer camp counselor.” - Ashley, 25

“Fundamentalist Bible camp counselor; wasn’t fundamentalist.” - Daniel, 25

“Illegal landscaping work. I was 14.” - Hannah, 22

“Scraping food off rich people's plates.” - Charlie, 20

“Bakery owned by two old hags.” - Reilly, 22

“Sold posters on the Venice Boardwalk.” - Oliver, 23

“Picking and packing bras for hours.” - Dan,18

“Games convention. Hot. Dancing furries everywhere.” - Anna, 26

“Served food to really ungrateful customers.” - Rasmus, 19

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Anna Goldfarb on Twitter.