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Hardest Work/Job You've Ever Done

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Just curious about other people here, I have really only done one job in my lifetime that I considered very hard and a lot of muscle and sweat attached to it, the first one being in Australia when I was 18 years old and I worked in a potato factory way in the bush area (Daylesford) as a lobber.

That consisted of unloading semi-trailers or farmers lorries of bags of potatoes, sometimes the load would be around 300 bags at a time and around 5/6 lorry loads a day, you would put the sacks on your shoulder and walk a distance then stack them, the smell was awful with sometimes rotten spuds and in the summertime with temperatures outside around 35/45c was a killer, the farmer's bags were awkward as they were unstitched and you had to carry them with your hands wrapped around them. 

What's the hardest job anybody has done in their lifetime, I would imagine me and @Bluewolf are the old-timers in here and have done a few but maybe there are a few young lads have done what they would call a hard day's work of blood, sweat and tears? 

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Manual farm work. Crop harvesting could be quite back-breaking (especially potato harvesting). Haymaking, mainly mowing, raking and preparing for storage in barns (loading, unloading, compressing).

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Painting houses. 

I can ride roller coasters just fine, but there is something genuinely terrifying of a 15 metre ladder. 

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Probably working the building sites was the hardest grafting/physical job I have ever done... I once had a job when they completely gutted and refitted two pubs in Croydon and my job was to fill the barrow up with all the broken bricks and masonry and then push them full up this plank and then tipping them in skips over and over again, back breaking work and no mistake, I was doing it on my own as well, no gloves either, just spit on the hands and crack on... I used to have blisters, cuts and aching limbs every single day for a month.. proper hard graft that was

Did do something similar to the potato thing like @CaaC (John) except our bags were full of plastic mips for injection moulding but they were heavy and you would get about 3 lorries in a week full and have to carry 3 bags a time all the way down an alley to a storage shed at the back of the building, trying to walk down an alley with 3 of those on your shoulder was a pain in the arse for sure, kind of had to bend and twist sideways to get through every trip.. 

When I think back to the amount of graft and physical effort I have put in on some jobs is frightening really... A lot of that comes from the working mentality back in them days though, If you wanted to get paid and keep your job you did whatever was asked of you no matter how hard that was or how ill you were you just kept going and going like a machine.. Every now and then my mate at work comes up with these great ideas about moving stuff around like equipment and pallets in the yard to make things better and even though I could do it I tend these days to just say fuck that let the younger ones have a go... I have done my time and then some.. I have nothing to prove to anyone let someone else break a sweat for a change.. xD

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Cockle picking(yes I actually did that once for about a month when I was about 18 xD) and building pig pens on a farm. Cockle picking is hard as fuck but you got like 30 quid or something for a sack and you could easily sack up around 6 between 2 of you before the tide came in, but it was GRAFT. Dodgy as fuck as well, about 20 Chinese cockle pickers all died and drowned in the same spot around that time. You're atleast a mile out, if tide was coming in and the vehicles you went out in broke down, you'd be fucked. You would also be fucked if you drove slightly in the wrong direction and ended up stuck in sinking sand. You have to also drive through channels. The gangers who took us out knew the route, but looking back it was dangerous as fuck really. Also very hard, physical labour.

As for building pig pens, that was brutal to be honest.

 

Worst job for me would actually be security, just standing around doing fuck all all day. It would be horrible. That would be the hardest job due to that.

 

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42 minutes ago, Cicero said:

Painting houses. 

I can ride roller coasters just fine, but there is something genuinely terrifying of a 15 metre ladder. 

Our neighbour is the same... That's why I got roped in to do the house painting, she said she has no fear of heights normally but as soon as she goes up a ladder her knees start wobbling for some reason.. I used to fit aerials so being up ladders and heights is ok for me but even in high winds it's always a bit ropey... I think with rides you are strapped in and feel secure, no matter what way you get thrown, turned upside down you will never fall out but on a ladder you don't get that feeling of being safe, nothing to grab hold of except the ladder itself which moves around and nothing securing you in place, add to that you normally have something in your hand like a drill or a paintbrush and paint pot for example, one gust of strong wind and the fear of plummeting to the floor is suddenly very real.. 

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20 minutes ago, Carnivore Chris said:

Cockle picking(yes I actually did that once for about a month when I was about 18 xD) and building pig pens on a farm. Cockle picking is hard as fuck but you got like 30 quid or something for a sack and you could easily sack up around 6 between 2 of you before the tide came in, but it was GRAFT. Dodgy as fuck as well, about 20 Chinese cockle pickers all died and drowned in the same spot around that time. You're atleast a mile out, if tide was coming in and the vehicles you went out in broke down, you'd be fucked. You would also be fucked if you drove slightly in the wrong direction and ended up stuck in sinking sand. You have to also drive through channels. The gangers who took us out knew the route, but looking back it was dangerous as fuck really. Also very hard, physical labour.

As for building pig pens, that was brutal to be honest.

 

Worst job for me would actually be security, just standing around doing fuck all all day. It would be horrible. That would be the hardest job due to that.

 

Cockle picking??? never heard of that before, funny you mention security being a hard job because not all jobs are hard for the physical nature of them but the mental nature as well... I think that a job that is mentally draining probably has a way worse impact on you overall than a physical one for sure, you can recover from physical stuff with a couple of days rest but a job that drains you mentally is always with you night and day... 

Edited by Bluewolf

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I've rarely done any physical work, most of it has just been in retail or office-based.

So for me, there's been times where it's mentally tough in my current role.

Being a Housing Officer isn't just collecting rent, giving people homes or evicting people. I don't think people realise there's so much more to it in between. At times it feels like we're police officer, social worker, support worker, confidant, money adviser, carer. But that stuff I can deal with, we're trained to to be honest and for some residents we're a first point of contact for many issues.

The worst is when we become involved in some very high-profile reports/cases - rape cases, child sex exploitation, murders, adult & child safeguarding, domestic violence, domestic abuse, sexual abuse etc. Again we're trained but when it comes to the very serious ones, you can't really prepare for it. At least not the mental aspect of it. We'll support and signpost as much as possible in the immediacy of it all. But it's when it can almost strike you a few hours, days or weeks later, especially when more details of cases come out. 

Just the other week I had 3 on my area come in all on the same day. It's no surprise domestic abuse/violence cases have rocketed up with everyone being locked down/locked in. While we may not be the people to come to solve all the issues, quite a few residents do like to come to us (especially if we've known them for years) because they just like someone impartial to speak to, to lend an ear pretty much.

It's definitely the tougher part of the job for sure. Much worse than all the abuse, especially verbal in my case, we can be subjected to.

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Just now, Bluewolf said:

Cockle picking??? never heard of that before, funny you mention security being a hard job because not all jobs are hard for the physical nature of them but the mental nature as well... I think that a job that is mentally draining probably has a way worse impact on you overall than a physical one for sure, you can recover from physical stuff with a couple of day rest but a job that drains you mentally is always with you night and day... 

That's why I would never, never work in a call center again. Did it for about 3 years in the past, and would rather spend the rest of my life carrying rocks than another month in there. Absolutely soul crushing.

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Tiling. You might think 'haha, Spike that is just putting pieces of ceramic on a floor or wall'. Well you be bend over and crouch down all day staring towards the ground and see if your back, shoulders, legs, and neck aren't aching by the end of it. It's  boring, messy, and menial.

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14 minutes ago, Spike said:

Tiling. You might think 'haha, Spike that is just putting pieces of ceramic on a floor or wall'. Well you be bend over and crouch down all day staring towards the ground and see if your back, shoulders, legs, and neck aren't aching by the end of it. It's  boring, messy, and menial.

@nudge? @Inti Brian? Any thoughts?

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I’ve done a lot of manual labour type jobs and physically is exhausting but at the end of the day it’s done. Or you don’t have to think about it again. Ever. As opposed to my current job, and in particular this week, where I cannot switch off. I’m constantly thinking about it. The list of things to do is literally endless. I enjoy it but it’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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I've narrowed it down to three different types of "hardest".

Physically exhausting: I worked on a prawn farm in Australia and it was essentially labouring in a giant green house that produced a liquid algae feed to feed millions of prawns that at this stage were essentially tadpoles. The greenhouse would hit 40 degrees by about 8am-9am, I had to empty the tanks of algae and pump it through the correct plumbing to feed tanks all around a giant warehouse. Once the tanks were empty I'd have to jump in with a bucket of water/acid mix (strong enough to do damage to your eyes if it splashed in) and clean every inch of 4 separate tanks. One drop of cross contamination/dirt and it could kill off thousands and thousands of dollars worth of prawns. The rest of the day generally just involved a lot of labour and cleaning in 40+ degree heat, as well as having to clean other tanks in other areas of the warehouse that lacked the direct heat the greenhouse had but made up for with humidity. Acid cleaning and all.

Boring: I needed some money so got a job for a few days in Sydney and it was for a company who rent out cutlery for public events, they had an industrial cleaner that cleaned thousands of glasses, knives, forks, spoons plus all the other silly little spoons and forks for posh do's. My job was to stand at the end of the conveyor belt and hand dry every item that came out. At times there would be 4 of us stood around the end of the conveyor belt and to make time go quicker we'd just stare into space and zone out like a group of zombies. No job I've done since has topped this for complete boredom.

Mentally exhausting: I've worked a few call centres so I'm pretty numb to people in dyer straits, I've had calls from cancer patients screaming down the phone, people needing money who had been sleeping rough or in their car as they had no money to pay rent, dealt with your Karen types who would complain because a drop of rain hit them, worked for an insurance firm once in Sydney and my first call for them at like 9am someone had called in to claim insurance on their house and car that had just burnt to the ground, worked for a company who raised money for charities and by doing so you'd have to call people who already donate, largely elderly people and guilt trip them out of their money (lasted about 2 and half days), I actually helped save an old ladies life once because her house was hard to find and I found it eventually after some google street viewing; sent an engineer to the house and the lady was having a seizure and a stroke.

I'd say just out of pure hatred for the job and boss the worst one was an insurance firm in Auckland, staff were constantly overworked without a care in the world, everyone had a problem with it but the boss didn't really care too much, was very stand offish if you asked her how to do something more than once, my cousin had just died and my boss over the next week or so showed no interest that this could possibly have affected my work performance or slight attitude with some "demanding" (absolute belting cunts) customers and pulled me into a 1-2-1 for a bollocking. I walked out of the office after and that remains to be the only job I've ever just up and left. Hadn't even hit lunch time that day either.

Fortunately the rest of my time in Auckland was great and the temporary contract job I had for the next two months after I was literally only really asked to do about 8 hours of actual work. Over two months, talk about stress relief.

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@Stan's experience sounds more of a mental strain than physical and that would have been like me in my army days doing a tour of duty in NI during the '70s, it was not just being a squaddie walking around with a flat jacket on and carrying a loaded weapon (rifle, pistol in a holster) you were also a policeman in theory and the worse bit was having to go into a mortuary doing body checks to check if any latest victims that had been killed were not known terrorists by checking their faces.

The worse bit with that is sometimes the victims had no faces left if they had been involved in an explosion (car bomb etc) but you just got on with it but seeing young children lying there dead that had just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time did my head in and after I left the army I had a lot of 'flashbacks' when asleep, crying in my sleep, screaming in my sleep, shaking.

Lucky enough I was married by then and I had Liz beside me that would wake me up and calm me down during my nightmare 'flashbacks', it took around 5 years to get over those army experiences during tours of duty but they are always there at the back of your mind and will never go away, as I said, those army days were more of a mental thing than physical. 

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Another hard job I worked in was truck tyre remoulds in Southend-on-Sea, I was classed as a tyre cleaner which consisted of cleaning the top and sides of the tyre with an air gun with a stone attached, getting rid of splits, stones, nuts, bolts etc that had embedded themselves in the rubber, it was hard heavy work as some of the truck tyres were massive super singles, 12.22, 11.22, 10.22 etc size wise and you had to stack them sometimes 12 high when you had finished which was hard toil but even harder once the tyre left my machine, went through the factory system then new rubber was put back on the tyre and cooked off in a big hot remould machine and the tyre even weighed more.

The bottom end of the factory where the other guys worked was lovely in wintertime with the heat but summertime they would sweat their bollocks off with the heat from the 12 tyre remould machines but at our end of the factory we would sweat our bollocks off in summertimes and the rubber dust from the tyres would stick on your skin, wintertime was just as bad as the air gun I used would freeze up with lumps of ice and make your hands numb.

That machine I used in the old photo would inflate to around 35/40 psi and if you did not spot a collapsed wall on the side of the tyre in would blow out and the noise was like a shotgun going off and if you were standing at the side when it blew it would knock you off your feet.

The guy that owned the factory was a gipsy but 'one of the boys' to us and would jump in and help you out if needed work-wise and he paid us a bonus on how many tyres you could knock out in a day, the bonus was all tax-free and my rate was 82p a tyre and I would aim for 500/600 tyres in a 12-hour shift sometimes all day Sat/Sundays, I was buying a house then in the late '80s early '90 but I would easily bring in £500/600 a week which was good money in them days, speed on the tyre was the key then getting the job on the tyre finished and passed on in the system.   

It was a shame really as he sold the business to a little Greek guy who got it all wrong, stopped our bonus rates and just paid us a set wage each week which fucked him up as he could not hold onto the staff and we all just left, the business then went down the drain and went bankrupt.   

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15 hours ago, Bluewolf said:

Cockle picking??? never heard of that before, funny you mention security being a hard job because not all jobs are hard for the physical nature of them but the mental nature as well... I think that a job that is mentally draining probably has a way worse impact on you overall than a physical one for sure, you can recover from physical stuff with a couple of day rest but a job that drains you mentally is always with you night and day... 

With cockle picking, you had to bring them all to the surface using a huge metal instrument(I'm not sure what they call them, but they reminded me of , while the other raked them into buckets, before bagging them up.

With security, you're literally doing nothing all day, which makes an hour feel like a week and a day feel like a month. I need to keep busy when I'm at work, this is why I enjoy snagging as well as patching up work is easy, while keeping you busy at the same time and the job is always different.

 

 

 

16 hours ago, Cicero said:

Painting houses. 

I can ride roller coasters just fine, but there is something genuinely terrifying of a 15 metre ladder. 

 

There is a reason why all painters are alcoholics to be honest. Soul destroying xD

 

 

Edited by Carnivore Chris
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2 hours ago, CaaC (John) said:

wintertime was just as bad as the air gun I used would freeze up with lumps of ice and make your hands numb.

That used to happen when I was working up in Notts... It got so cold in that place in the winter that we would turn up in the mornings and have to take all the air hoses off the Nail Guns and run them under the hand dryers for half hour before we could start work, The other shit thing about that job was when it rained, If it rained hard the roof would leak like crazy and in some places it would fall in like a waterfall and within an hour the drains were blocked and you could find yourself working in a foot of water depending where you were in the factory... because it sloped on different levels some areas were ridiculous and others were fine as it ran downwards.. 

We had a shed job in Ham one time and two of us had a mare putting it up... We had to take it down the ally of the houses because there was no back way in and I tore most of the skin off my knuckles scraping them on the side of the house as we tried to painfully manoeuvre 4 big sides, 3 floor sections and 4 roof parts through it then go under 2 washing lines in their neighbours garden, then down a slope at the back, then up this slippy hill to the area they had concreted at the bottom of their garden, It was sunny when we started but after just getting the floor in place and 2 sides up the heavens opened up and we got absolutely soaked, because we had lost so much time getting the fucking thing in there we couldn't afford to stop and wait it out so we just cracked on... It was relentless and you could feel each part of your body getting wet as the water poured off your shirt straight down the crack of your arse and filling your trainers up.. xD Not pleasant, got that job finished and then the sun came out.. Then all the way back to Notts sloshing about in wet clothes... Funny now looking back but not funny at the time.. 

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1 hour ago, Carnivore Chris said:

With security, you're literally doing nothing all day, which makes an hour feel like a week and a day feel like a month. I need to keep busy when I'm at work, this is why I enjoy snagging as well as patching up work is easy, while keeping you busy at the same time and the job is always different.

Did the security bit for years, the last job I had started off as a security officer, then security supervisor and the company that run the building asked me if I would like to work for them which I did and gave up the security bit, ended up as a building supervisor with the company and then joined the management team.

The only security bit I did not like was in the retail trade, I did that for years and I ended up in supermarkets like Kwick Save in the rough area's of Edinburgh, Niddrie and Pennywell where you had all the Junkies and shoplifters trying to nick stuff, I fucking hated that.

The funniest moment in the Pennywell store is they had a small security box you could sit inside and look through a one-way window and keep an eye on people in the store and look out for shoplifters, the window was one way where you could see the people but they could not see you, one day this beautiful looking bird came up looking in it thinking it was a mirror, combing her hair and checking her lipstick etc, I just could not help it and stuck my tongue on the glass licking it and kissing it with my mouth, because I was close up she saw that and screamed the fucking shop down, I had to go out of the security box and calm her down, she was not happy, called me a fucking moron and stormed off. xD 

Edited by CaaC (John)
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11 minutes ago, Bluewolf said:

It got so cold in that place in the winter that we would turn up in the mornings and have to take all the air hoses off the Nail Guns

The air guns we used were small and the cold air would blow out the ends, it would get that bad we had to put the guns down for a while and pull them out of the wall sockets, walk to the end of the factory where the hot tyre moulds were and then stick the guns on that for a while, and our hands!!!! 

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1 minute ago, CaaC (John) said:

The air guns we used were small and the cold air would blow out the ends, it would get that bad we had to put the guns down for a while and pull them out of the wall sockets, walk to the end of the factory where the hot tyre moulds were and then stick the guns on that for a while, and our hands!!!! 

Holding a Nail Gun in the winter was like holding a block of ice.. 

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Just now, Bluewolf said:

Holding a Nail Gun in the winter was like holding a block of ice.. 

It was the bloody tyres around me that were a nightmare if you did not stack them right they would topple over and many a time I just moved in time when I felt a puff of air on my back, the secret was putting the lightest tyres on the top of the stacks, Continental, Goodyear and Dunlops were the lightest truck tyres and the heavy ones were Bridgestones and Pirreleess, they always started off at the bottom and when you would get about 6 high then you would stack the light ones on top.

There was a no health & safety factor in those days in the factory, you had safety glasses but they were useless and I never bothered with them, many a time I ended up in Southend hospital to get a bit of steel from the tyre in my eye, just bath the eye at home for a few hours and go back to work the next day, no face masks either.

The Old Man as we called him as I said he was a gipsy but a good guy but never get on his wrong side, he could be very bad, but whenever he heard that we had a Health & Safety Officer calling he would let us know and tell us not to smoke, wear your safety glasses or masks etc, well the Old Man would smoke rolls ups, Golden Virginia and one day we had a lady Health & Safety Officer calling and when she saw him smoking she challenged him he should not be smoking at work he exploded and yelled at her "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT ME TO DO? WALK AROUND THE BUILDING WITH A PLASTIC FUCKING BAG ON MY HEAD".

She left the building in tears and refused to call in our building again and only male H&S Officers would call after that, I think he got fined for that outburst and smoking on the factory floor.

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Band roadie. I didn't do it for long because I don't like moving heavy things around from vans to stages and then back to the vans. It probably would have been more fun if it was a band that had made it big, but it was really just rich kids that were acting like they'd made it big but they hadn't. Still, a perk was getting paid to go to concerts... the tradeoff was just a lot of manual labour and dealing with the egos of people that thought they were rockstars.

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Not a job, but volunteering with Citizens Advice.

I was there for just over a year, and I had 4 suicide threats, I lost track of the people sobbing because they didn't have a place to shelter that evening, one person threaten to throw my computer against the wall. And I also had multiple people soil themselves in the interview room.

My admiration for people who work full-time, permanently with vulnerable people andpeople in crisis, is beyond massive.

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21 minutes ago, Inverted said:

Not a job, but volunteering with Citizens Advice.

I was there for just over a year, and I had 4 suicide threats, I lost track of the people sobbing because they didn't have a place to shelter that evening, one person threaten to throw my computer against the wall. And I also had multiple people soil themselves in the interview room.

My admiration for people who work full-time, permanently with vulnerable people andpeople in crisis, is beyond massive.

On the flip side, I feel sorry for those kind of people who have to put up with workers like @DeadLinesman in their lives :ph34r:

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Always worked in front of a desk.

Two jobs related to my area of study and one job in accounting. I hated this last one though. I detest a job that I can't handle all the details at ease, or at least try to one day handle them.

I would literally start at 09h00 and be constantly watching the clock, hoping it would be 18h30 to get out.

 

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