Landlocked Surf Shop Employee

  • Decor gives the illusion of being in a tropical place, even though you're three hours from the nearest beach.
  • About once a year, an actual surfer comes in.


  • Preteen punk-asses bugging you every two seconds about things you can't understand.
  • Preteen punk-asses watching skate videos in the store all day.
  • Preteen punk-asses doing loud, dangerous, but visually dull stunts in strip mall parking lot.

Job Requirements:

  • Fetching stickers and skate parts you don't know the names of
  • Remaining sane when there's exactly nothing to do
  • Calling the ambulance when one of the preteen punk-asses in the parking lot breaks his collarbone or gets run over by a car

Managerial Mantra: "Dude, me and Jeff are gone this weekend - Wilmington's got like 3-foot waves! Have fun, close whenever it slows down, whatever, dude. It's chill."

Definite Sign of Mental Instability: You're beginning to understand the appeal of a 540 McTwist when gracefully executed.


  • If you can read and write, the people at your temp agency will think you're a Rhodes scholar.
  • If you piss one agency off, you can always join another one.
  • One word: Temporary.


  • Temp agencies are traditionally run by deceitful, manipulative, two-faced liars with out-of-date expectations ("You do know WordPerfect, right?").
  • Eventually, you'll run out of agencies - or lose the will to live. We're betting the latter will precede the former.

Job Requirements:

  • Maintaining a high tolerance for hours of envelope-licking and other repetitive-motion tasks
  • Enduring unknown office environments whose inhabitants consider you several rungs below an intestinal parasite on the corporate ladder

Managerial Mantra: "Until you score higher on the DOS test, we can't get you $8 an hour."

Definite Sign of Mental Instability: You don't develop murderous fantasies involving a gun-toting showdown at your temp agency.

House Painter

  • No need to be cheery, young, or upbeat.
  • Unlike all the other low-level jobs, this one teaches you skills you just might use again.

Cons: When you paint in an air-conditioned apartment, your colleagues will insist on keeping the windows shut. This will give you a very bad headache. The next morning, you'll have trouble formulating sentences.

Job Requirements:

  • Scraping paint off the walls without creating big holes
  • Spackling big holes without creating bigger holes
  • Waking quickly from a nap when you hear the foreman coming

Managerial Mantra: "We got this apartment, then we got nothin', we're outta work. So, uh ... take your time."

Definite Sign of Mental Instability: You're beginning to consider watching Seinfeld reruns for intellectual stimulation.

Next ... The lowest-level job in the world!

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