Welcome to the premiere edition of WFME’s Bad Job Wednesday.
Were you aware that over 55% of people in the United States hate their jobs? Were you aware that they wake up in the morning and think to themselves, “Good god, not another day of this crap!”? Were you aware that when they’re at their job during the day, they often think about things other than their crappy jobs which just makes them even more hateful about their current job situations?
Were you aware that, today, we’re going to join in on the fun?
Now the last time I criticized a profession, actual readers with that profession chimed in. And while I’m not sure if any of the WFME readers happen to be tollbooth takers or parking structure booth peeps, I encourage them to chime in on a job that I consider to be one of the worst jobs in the continental United States.
Yes, the job of a tollbooth taker.
Tollbooths aren’t only on interstates and freeways. I’m talking about any booth, anywhere, where someone’s got to sit all day long as people in cars pull up to them, give them tickets, complain that they really weren’t in the structure as long as the machine says they were, cause backups of multiple cars while they complain about not wanting to pay for the fee, or even dig in their purses for checkbooks, credit-cards or scrap pieces of paper so they can write out an I.O.U. to the powers that be. Tollbooth takers are not only forced to deal with idiots all day long who are skilled in the art of arguing about 75 cents…but they are stuck in an airless box of plexiglass as the most annoying people on the face of the Earth literally line up for their turn at chaos.
And there’s no good conversations, either.
At least working at a fast food place or a video store, the clerks get to have conversations with people. Some of the good ‘ol “hi, how are you”, “oh that’s a great movie you should check it out” or “oh, I don’t go a day without some of these tasty criss-cut fries.” But as a tollbooth taker, there’s really no time for pleasantries. My most verbose conversations with tollbooth takers can be summarized in the following conversation:
[Mechanical arm goes up.]
[Tollbooth taker nods.]
Periodically, there might be a, have a nice day or something but the tollbooth taker is pretty much the closest job to being put in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison. And when the weather starts getting warm, and they’ve got that makeshift mini-fan in the top corner of the booth attempting to keep them warm, and they’re having to wear their uniform and sit close-by to a humming metallic computer/cash register that’s getting warmer by the minute, and they’re not allowed to use their cell phone or watch TV and then you show up and fight with them about how it only should be $3.20 and not $3.40…
That’s what I call a bad job.
I imagine that the more “glass-half full” tollbooth takers try to find the positives of a job like that. Sometimes maybe they imagine they’re floating in a huge aquarium and they sort of float around inside and fool people approaching their booth into thinking they’re actual in a huge box of water. Or maybe, the more mischievous tollbooth takers hide underneath the window and then pop up to scare people as they’re putting their ticket into the machine. Some tollbooth takers might actually tell you that they love the job because it allows them to think.
Yeah, think about how much they hate their job.
Is there a silver lining to being a tollbooth taker? Possibly. Do I know what it is? Not really. Do I think you can enlighten me? Maybe. Will I retract the job of a tollbooth taker as a “bad job” if you convince me substantially? Probably not. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. Am I living in a fantasy world where my words cannot be subjected to extreme examination? Yes. Does that make me the kind of person with a huge ego who believes the universe revolves around him? No comment.
But is being a tollbooth taker a pretty damn bad job?
You know it.