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This is a question Work Experience

We've got a work experience kid in for a couple of weeks and he'll do anything you tell him to... He's was in the server room most of yesterday monitoring the network activity lights - he almost missed his lunch till we took pity on him.

We are bastards.

How bad was your first experience of work?

(, Thu 10 May 2007, 9:45)
Pages: Latest, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Seven days make one weak...
From the bowels of Lincolnshire, I was the only person in my school year to get work experience down in London. Everyone was veh jealous, especially as I'd ommitted to tell them that I'd be staying with my aunt, and not in some swanky hotel.

The company shared offices based round the back of King's Cross, which has, although you may not believe me, been cleaned up significantly over the past 15 years.

Knowing nothing of London, the name "Kings Cross" meant nothing to me then, I just thought the Big Smoke was a pretty homogenous, denser, sootier version of my little village back home where they filmed Mary Poppins and Oliver - so the week's events had lasting impacts on my impressions of our fair capital.

Day 1: Arrive in King's Cross.
Mission - get to my aunt's.
"Fresh-off-the-boat", I was greeted by a charming gentleman, who offered me a place to stay, and also some money for my bottom.

Day 2: First day at work.
Mission - get back to my aunt's from work experience (which, I had soon realised, would revolve solely around a staple-gun, cooing mature PAs, and the photocopier).
A scrawnier, but rather better dressed chap than Day 1 offered me a substantial finders fee to put him back in touch with his friend Charlie, and asks me where my gear is. I don't know Charlie, and I've stashed all my gear at my aunt's, therefore really can't be of much use, and make my excuses. He wants to come with me to my aunt's, but I think it's a little forward for me, a guest myself, to bring visitors back.

Day 3:
Mission - See Day 2, minus the look of somebody offering a personalised FriendsReunited service.
A lady of limited aesthetic appeal (who seemed to have had an accident involving quite a lot of stale urine and the loss of her front teeth) offers to relieve me of a few thousand gametes in exchange for the price of a week's worth of school dinners. At this point, my gametes and their purpose built housing units retract into my abdomen, and I pray she can't run.

Day 4:
Mission - repeat Day 3, minus wee-smell exposure.
Greeted by a delightful, albeit scrawny youth, offering me his bottom in exchange for lucre. This is distinctly unappealing at a number of levels, so I politely decline, and exctract myself from the conversation after he has liberated me of 10 pence (probably needed to phone home).

Day 5:
Mission - repeat Day 3.
Two officers of the law descends upon me, enquiring into my current state of employment, address, whereabouts of family and whether I was selling premium rate access to my bottom.

Day 6: Last day of work - I swear never to work in an office again.
Mission - repeat Day 5 without attracting the attentions of the Metropolitan Transport Police.
Some chap has found the errant Charlie - so glad he's alright! I give him a full description of Charlie's other friend and hope they find each other soon - this fellow seemed really quite anxious.

Day 7: Mission - leave city, get home without re-enactments of Days 1-6.
I sit exhausted in the train that will take me home, examining my curiously black nasal discharge. As I stand up to let somebody take a seat, a rather fashionably dressed youth accidentally bumps into me.
It is only once the train has pulled away, and the ticket inspector comes calling that I realise that the youth must have accidentally knocked my wallet clean out of my pocket, seen it on the floor, and then got off the train to give it to the nice policemen at the station. However, this does render me with no money, ticket, or identification. I am collected at Peterborough station by two policemen, who spend the rest of the night on the phone with my parents.

So naturally, I moved down to an office job in London at the first opportunity and have lived here for close to 10 years now.
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 12:05, Reply)
The Best Work Experience Job Ever
I wanted to be a photographer in my younger days, and therefore when the work experience brochure went around with the local businesses **eager** to have a tea boy for a week, I looked up the local photography shops.

They were all booked up.

Dejected, I asked my mum if she could pull a few strings with her photography teacher, who agreed to take me on. The school were alright with me, and sent a form to the teacher to fill in. He sent back a number of forms for me, and we were all set.

The forms I filled in were a bit odd, saying things like "have you ever been arrested for indecent exposure". I answered them all honestly (Incidentally, I haven't).

I got a phone call about 2 weeks before the week. He told me what I needed to prepare. He told it to me straight, that he has been sent an assignment for a week, that requires travel, and a hotel stay for 4 nights. "Don't worry" he said "It's all paid for by the newspaper."

Newspaper? Brilliant. We'll be on front line journalism photography.

I had a look to what it could be, and saw that "The Tour of Britain" cycling race was on the same week. We're going to take cycling photos.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Day 1, Llandudno. He lead me into a studio and said "you're job is actually to supervise this photoshoot, in case it gets out of hand. Don't worry it won't. It's just UK legislation requires 2 over 15 witnesses to every photoshoot. One man, one woman. Here's Claire, the girl who you will be working with." Claire was a late 20's girl, gorgeous, who had done it before. "Just sit there, and watch. It'll be something to tell the mates.". I was still unsure exactly what my job was, until Sarah walked in.

I reckonised Sarah, she was blonde, she was beautiful, she was stark bollock naked. This was a page 3 photoshoot that I had to supervise to make sure the photographer wasn't doing anything untoward. Sarah was actually quite intelligent "I am a student at Manchester University" she said to me, whilst I focussed on her tits.

The week was spent going around the country, taking photos of women in various states of undress. Except for Friday, where the girl (Sarah again) kept fully clothed and took pictures of her next to a BMW "So I have something to show the school". Couldn't fling open a red top to page 3.

Best work experience ever.
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 14:54, Reply)
Premiership
The 80's, Wilmslow. I wont name the company, they still do this particular job.

Day 1 - Made tea
Day 2 - Made more tea
Day 3 - Met Frank.

Franks runs the big computer on the ground floor. This computer does a lot of things, including the generation of all the fixtures for every team in the Football League.

Its a complicated task. It has to take into account a lot of variables, teams, locations (liverpool cant play at home the same day as everton for example), police schedules, TV schedules, travel considerations for the fans, etc etc, its a big job.

Oh look, someone left it logged on.

-enter option(1)team info(2)venue info..etc
OK. Hmm. "1"

-listing... 1.arsenal 2.birmi etc...
OK choose '13' Manchester City.
-Options 1. Rename. 2.Delete. 3. Replace etc...
Ok, erm, '3'.
-enter replacement.
hmm. 'Plymouth Argyll'
-replace 3. Manchester City with Plymouth Argyll? y/n
'y'

I didnt know that the next day was the day they sent it to the FA.

I didnt know it wouldnt be noticed until Late July. 2 days before the print deadlines for the notifications that go to the clubs, the TV companies, the police, the caterers, the bloodywell everyone.

I didnt know that this had been almost accepted as the final draft until the last minute.

I didnt know any of that until i met Frank nearly 20 years later - he still does the same job - he didnt recognise me but he works with some people I know now. He still tells the story. The story of the work experience kid who for a few months promoted Plymouth to League 1, and relegated Man City to the 4th (or somewhere).
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 12:33, Reply)
Been working as a hotel porter in Portugal all week.
God, lose one kid and I get a bad evaluation.
(, Mon 14 May 2007, 2:46, Reply)
Dead scary. . .
I'm studying Medicine now, so for my work experience I spent a few days in hospital. Two of these days were in the pathology lab - you know, like Quincy? Or that Irish girl from Silent Witness.
Anyway, it seems they have a little ritual for such noobs as myself. I was invited to observe an autopsy, and much to delight, invited further if I'd like to mark with a pen where I thought the lungs might be on this 30something male corpse...

Much to my surprise, as soon as i touched his skin with the pen, he jumped up and yelled something along the lines of, "Boo".



... Much to his surprise, I punched him in the face and broke his nose.

I gave them all flowers and chocolates though.
(, Mon 14 May 2007, 0:21, Reply)
This didn't happen to me
but is a ye olde tale related to me by my Grandfather.

Ol' Grandpops was an engineer, and this tale relates to the probably 50s, when he worked for an firm round Leytonstone way. They had a new boy start, fresh from school, all short trousers and rickets as they were in those austere post-war years, the probably 50s.

We all know the scam - the new kid is given a list of stuff to get, tin of holes, elbow grease etc. This kid was either slightly more savvy than usual, or they'd tired of the old cliches and moved onto a new format. They sent the kid for supplies of an actual industrial lubricant, which due to my ignorance of the actual name I'll refer to by the made-up term of Bunkham's Grease.

The kid is told to get a couple of drums of the stuff. The kid is a little confused and asks where to purchase said product. The senior engineers respond with

"The Butcher's of course! Know ye naught?"

Kid shrugs and walks out.
Engineers roll around on the floor laughing. Like he'll get Bunkham's Grease in a retailer of meats. The Butcher's? Gullible boy.

About an hour later Kid strolls back in. Engineers snigger. Did you get it, they asked.

Kid looks confused.
"Yeah"
Produces requested quantity of Bunkham's Grease.

Engineers cease to snigger. They ask where. Nowhere sells Bunkham's Grease over the counter in that area.

Kid looks increasingly baffled.
"The Butcher's, like you said"

The engineers realise that their jape has produced an entirely unexpected result.

"What the f*ck is the Butcher's doing selling Bunkham's Grease?!?!?!?"

Having been let in on the fact that this was a prank, and that he was supposed to return empty handed, having been mocked by the Butcher, to recieve additional mockery from his colleagues, Kid revealed the minutae of his trip.

He had gone to the Butcher's. Asked. Butcher scratches his head and with a little surprise, said that he did. But not because he was a butcher.

Y'see, he had been letting an outbuilding to a couple of guys who did some kind of repairs. They'd shut up shop and scarpered, leaving a ton of back rent and all their gear, at least that which they couldn't carry. This included Bunkham's Grease. Tons of it. The Butcher didn't have a clue what to do with it. So, not only did the engineers get what they wanted, but the kid got it at about half price.

Shocked, they thanked him, and promptly sent him out for a can of holes.
(, Sun 13 May 2007, 18:23, Reply)
not strictly work experience
Just remembered and early work experience that sobered me up somewhat. I was taught a valuable life lesson and matured considerably after this.

I was 16 and had just started working in a dental lab making false teeth. Now, if you don't know, they're cast from an impression of your own teeth. We'd mould the basic shape in wax, then cast them into plastic. We had to mix powdered plastic with liquid plastic (stay with me) then bake it to set it.
Anyhoo... One of the first things I was told is that both the plastics were highly flammable.
Cool thinks me. A 16 year old wannabe pyromaniac and tons of flammable stuff (I'd once 'accidently' set fire to my brothers bed whilst he was in it, but that's a story for another day).
Cut to my first saturday working in the lab on my own. Now the lab was connected to the surgery which had about five dentists and had a waiting room full of people.
Without explaning the motivation, there was:
Me, alone in the lab
A bunsen burner
A pile of powdered plastic
A feckin huge metal drum of liquid plastic.

I'd discovered that throwing handfuls of the powder onto the bunsen burner flame created a wonderful mini forework display.
Equally fun was pouring some of the liquid onto the counter and setting it alight. It burned in ripples and was very cool.
I'd done this very carefully several times when disaster struck.
I'd hefted up the drum to pour some more onto the counter when it slipped slightly in my hands. I managed to stop it from dropping, but must have squeezed it as a jet of liquid shot out of the drum and landed squarely on the bunsen burner.
The rest happened in slow motion.
The flame on the bunsen burner lit the liquid in mid air. The liquid was now flame and shot backwards towards the drum.
Without having time to even think "oh shit" the drum exploded like something out of a bond movie. The top and bottom (thankfully, both pointed away from me) flew off and shot burning liquid all over the walls, ceiling and floor.
I don't remember the rest, but one of the dentists filled me in later.
He came rushing into the lab to see me 'dancing' across the lab trying to put my hair out with one hand and my feet with the other.
Still alight I grabbed the fire extinguisher, pointed it at the wall of flame, screamed "Banzai!" and pulled the cord.
The fire was put out in seconds as the chemicals from the extinguisher put out the flames and then bounced of the walls and put me out.
I was left a jibbering mess and responisble for the entire lab needing to be redecorated.
The nice dentist who found me helped me cover it up and pretend it was an accident, rather than me fecking about with fire.

I never did play with matches after that.
(, Sat 12 May 2007, 0:04, Reply)
Late entry....
Showed my old man this site last night, and after laughing his way through some of the stories, he asked me to add one of his own.

My old man used to work away as a contractor on sites across the country, primarily building large supermarkets. As has already been covered in these pages, building sites can be rough on the new guy.

A tale that stood out was of a new labourer, who for some reason, decided to continually annoy the concrete layers....

To the point, that one day, as he did his usual, the concrete layers grabbed him, and threaded a length of scaffold through the arms of his overalls... then attached him to a length of cable and signalled tyheir mate... who was a crane driver, who hoisted the lad 200ft in the air.

And there he stayed, high above newcastle, while the rest of the lads, went for lunch.
(, Wed 16 May 2007, 9:03, Reply)
wowza!
I worked in a place that put old cine reels onto DVD for people who couldn't watch them back anymore. My job was to digitally enhance them and do all the fancy jazz stuff with menu's and crap.

And here's the interesting statistic, 7 times out of 10, the Cine Reels were entirely made up of men in the 70's who filmed themselves tossing off.

After 8 hours of that, my mind was actually broken and everything was ruined forever. And i was only on £3p/h!
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 11:09, Reply)
Cotton mill fancies
In the early 70s there was still a cotton industry in Lancashire. When I was 14 I got a summer job in the local cotton mill where my mum worked. My job was clearing away the cotton waste generated by carding and spinning machines and sticking them into big sacks in a deep dark basement. This is what they make socks out of, for your interest.

Anyway, I had to crawl under these huge noisy machines gathering up all the shite.

It was so loud that the women who worked there (who weren't exactly young babes) 'talked' in sign language.

And it was so hot in there that they wore nothing except light overalls. Nothing.

And of course as I would be crawling along they would be flapping their legs aroubd trying to keep their minges cool so Id regulary get the sight and smell of 60yr old fannies dripping in sweat. It was hell - and I thought they did it on purpose as even I could hear them cackling over the sound of the machines

One day I couldnt bear it, got up from the machine room floor to find my mum staring at me in a sort of embarrassed way.
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 10:38, Reply)
Phil learns gobby workshy chav
Another tale relayed to me courtesy of my pal Phil, who's a professional carpenter and does all kinds of things with wood on building sites.

Building site behaviour is primitive at best, despite everyone being professionals the opportunity for some world class dicking about is never missed. You need a strong character and a sense of humour to survive unscathed and when working with characters like "Wanking Steve", "Johnny Fartpants", "Shags" and "Bob & Spong" (the latter is often known for violent rages in response ot being called "Spong"). You get the picture.

Some unfortunate first dayers have been locked in portaloos and rolled round the site, painters have been distracted while someone craps in the tin and a memo was sent round the site expressly prohibit the throwing of bricks at portaloos when in use.

A local teenage scally had figured that building work was easy money and decided that he'd do work experience with Phil's colleagues. As is typical of many teenagers today, he turned up and began throwing his skinny weight around telling people twice his age/size that they can "fuck off with giving me shit jobs, I ain't makin' no fakkin tea for no khant". This proved the high point of his popularity so far, as it didn't take long for our charming chav to alienate everyone on site.

Phil had a devious plan

"Here mate, I've got an important job for you!" said Phil
"Wat'cha got fer me?" replied Chavvo
"I need you to climb up this ladder with me and check the alignment of the chimney".

With that Phil handed him two three foot planks and led him up the scaffold to the roof.

"Right mate, put a plank on either side and hold them there, I'll be able to see whether it's straight or not".

With that, Phil grabbed a nearby ratchet strap (like the ones you see on the backs of lorries to secure heavy loads) and threw it round WE guy while another bloke pinned him to the chinney.

"Wha' fuggin doing yer kahnts!"

The ratchet was tightened and another thrown round for good measure.

"Yer fakkin wankahs!"

WE boy was going nowhere, still holding the planks and firmly attached to the chimney some thirty feet above the ground.

"Get mi dahn or I'll take a fahkin screwdriver to yer vans!"

They gave him an hour before asking if he was okay.

"Fakkin Khants! Lemme dahn" was the reply. He'd not learned his lesson yet so they left him up there while they went for lunch.

Upon returning, they were gratified to note that WE boy had began to cry having clearly run out of other options for bargaining for his release. So they did the sensible thing and left him for another hour.

By the time he came down he was a reformed character and even offered to make everyone on site tea, albeit under strict supervision.
(, Fri 11 May 2007, 11:59, Reply)
...
I was the tea-bitch, and they made me wear a hat saying that i was in fact, the tea bitch.
(, Tue 15 May 2007, 18:21, Reply)
Lubricant!
I work for a large tool company similar to Screwfix and a couple of weeks ago I had to feel sorry for one kid obviously on work experience.

He was sent into our shop and unluckily ended up being served by one of the girls in the shop, Tracey.

The item he'd been sent in to purchase....
"Clitoris Cream".

Worse though was that Tracey obviously wasn't on form either and said "Err... I'm not sure if we sell that. It sounds familiar." and with that she grabbed one of our catalogues and starts looking through the lubricants section!

Fortunately another customer had heard it all and said to the lad, "who are you here with mate?" the lad pointed to a van load of builders who appeared to be in absolute hysterics, the other customer said "They might be winding you up mate".

Meanwhile Tracey asked one of her colleagues "Do we sell Clitoris Cream?", the look on the other shop assistants face was the trigger and the penny dropped for Tracey who went bright red, almost as red faced as the work experience lad who now realised what he'd done.

Clitoris Cream, it's in the lubricants section ;-)
(, Fri 11 May 2007, 11:11, Reply)
Supermarket Trolley Monkey
Did evenings at a local supermarket to earn beer money in my student days.

They never worked out why I was so keen to go out and scour the wino-haunted multi-storey car park for abandoned trolleys.

It was because I found I could stand on the top floor of the car park and watch some bloke in the offices opposite porking the office cleaner over his desk, every night, 6pm, without fail. That guy had some stamina, I can tell you.
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 12:21, Reply)
Work experience
Back in the days when work experience meant something (i.e. before any concept of health and safety) my mate and I were sent to a local ASDA distribution warehouse to "get some experience of the world". Quite how this was intending to assist two (very) public school boys I have no idea but, after the obligatory kickings were meted out by the assorted pre chav chavs we settled down to corrupting their innocent ways as we were completely unconcerned as to long term employment so were focussed in a different, and more creative, direction.

Having persuaded most of the more senior (you could tell by the lack of clarity of their tattoos) staff to leg it for the afternoon Mark and I proceeded to teach ourselves to drive the forklifts which, I will be frank, was pretty smegging easy.

Having set up a course around the warehouse that was largely created by the use of "ready for dispatch" boxes of crimbo shit for ASDA, we then hurtled around the inside of this cavern whilst the Neanderthals cheered us on. Being souls of generous nature we passed the helm of the forklifts onto the most vocal of these chaps who, in an effort to show the posh kids how these things should be driven, managed to drive the larger of the trucks out of the warehouse. Through the wall. The smaller one, with its forks fully raised, impaled the cab of a rather nice looking HGV that had just pulled in to the warehouse to be loaded.

Public school teaches one a lot of things. How to present oneself as completely innocent of all goings on is one key lesson.

Result was that the work experience boys (myself and Mark) were paid handsomely for the next week whilst we did all the work of the recently sacked chavs whilst we rejoiced in the vindication of the true social order.

After fifteen years as a criminal lawyer I must say that not a lot has changed! Darwinism in action.
(, Tue 15 May 2007, 6:07, Reply)
Ahh - fantastic!
I thought, as we were expected to find our own place to do work experience. All the other kids were going on about how they knew Architects, Lawyers and Doctors and how they were going to have the best placement. We had to spend two days at our joint, before writing a report and preparing a presentation for the class.

So, while all the other kids were presumably coaxing a couple of days out of a lawyer/architect/doctor family friend I ambled next door to where I lived at the time. It was a lovely couple who lived there who owned their own business and were more than happy to take me on for the couple of days. My Mum and Dad were fine with it, they were an open minded bunch.

Back at School on the Wednesday, having spent a great couple of days taking photos, in the workshop, asking what certain things were for, and generally having a good time.

Presentations were due - I stepped up and cleared my throat. The title was "My Two Days at Feticular (name changed)"

Yes, I had spent my work experience at a supremely high end fetish store. Open mouths round the classroom, I doubt most of them even knew what fetish was (past whips and handcuffs) at 16, let alone electrified butt plugs and domination chairs.

I was dragged up in front of the Deputy Head, but I had done nothing wrong, so they had to let me go with a letter to my parents.
(, Mon 14 May 2007, 13:50, Reply)
Zombies
Many moons ago my mate was sat in his local cinema watching the start up adverts for "Films you may enjoy".
One of the trailers was a zombie flick, saying something like "What would you do if Zombies came at YOU??".

Cue the lights to come up and show a bunch of people all zombie'd up, groaning and shuffling around the cinema.
Unfortunately for them my friend, who was in the Marines at the time, is the kind of bloke that really gets wrapped up in fiction. Really absorbs the atmosphere.

So when one of the zombies bites into a person who is obviously a plant, and fake blood start spraying everywhere, this friend of mine switches into combat mode.

All the zombies were work experience kids. All of them were sent to hospital. Most of them had something broken or dislocated. None of them have been back to that cinema yet.

(Note: not my story, but it's fairly accurate to what my house-mate told me happened.)
(, Mon 14 May 2007, 13:00, Reply)
I did some work once
it was a horrible experience, shan't bother with that again
(, Sun 13 May 2007, 11:59, Reply)
RIGHT THEN.
Now, I could just repost THIS but I won't.

As a student nurse you get sent on many and varied 'placements' which differ from work experience in that generally you actually learn stuff and are receiving a nominal payment for your services.

One of the more memorable places I was sent was to an elderly person's psychiatric unit.

*important note - all names are changed*

It was one of the kind of psyche units where the staff are distinguished from the in mates by the fact that they wear name badges and was populated by a number of 'characters' such as Rob the unit manager, who wasn't allowed coffee as apparently he used to 'drink anything up to 30 cups a day and I went a bit mad on it'.
I later discovered that he's actually been admitted to another psyche unit a few months previously and the staff had visited him in order to get timesheets signed off.

Or Alf, one of the long term inmates.
Alf was an 87 year old gentleman with a quite magnificent form of senile dementia.
Like a cross between Father Jack and Foul Ole Ron from the discworld novels he would stride imperiously around the unit shouting things like 'WHERE'S THE FUCKING BUCKET MANGLER GONE?' or 'SOME BASTARD'S COLLATING THE AIR AGAIN', he was however on some level still aware of what was going on and, come medication time, would inevitably say to whoever was giving him medicine 'I'm not taking that unless you share it with me', eventually the staff resorted to crushing his tablets and putting it in his coffee, but this just led to him 'generously' sharing his coffee with a fellow inmate.

One of Alf's particular foibles was his dislike of trousers, particularly at visiting times and on more than one occasion, I had to remove a turd from the unit 'dayroom' that was deposisted there by a benignly grinning Alf, who would then proceed to amble around the unit, dressed in only an adult nappy and his slippers from the waist down, greeting visitors with a merry cry of 'FUCK, THE WALNUTS ARE MIGRATING'.

Another inmate, Annie was another shit terrorist, her speciality was using other patient's toilets, not a problem in itself but she would insist on barging in and sitting down and using the toilet regardless of if there was anyone in there or not.
Her final triumph came on my last day on the unit.

There was one chap on the unit, and there's always one, who was called Gerald who had been declared sane and was awaiting rehousing, that said he was a real pain in the arse, inisiting on things being 'just so' and telling staff how to do their jobs and suchlike.
Annie had disappeared for a while and we started hunting for her, no sooner had the search started then the cry emanated from Gerald's room: 'SHE'S SHIT IN MY CLEAN LAUNDRY BASKET!'

Dear old Annie, her eyesight never was the best.
(, Sun 13 May 2007, 3:18, Reply)
Is this cheating?
When I was a smaller god, my Dad was self-employed. He ran his own Management Consultancy business. Anyway, he ran this psychometric test on his victims (err, subjects) and had to process the results. This took him two weeks with an elderly, mechanical, hand-cranked calculator. I mean, it was the early 80s, but even so...

One weekend, I was bored, so I wrote a program to do the calculations on our ZX Spectrum (no, really). He was rather amazed by this, and checked it out. All well and good, as it saved him two weeks billable time. Experience of work number 1: Customers will pay two weeks of billed time, but it now takes two minutes = customers will pay two weeks, but you can fit more in.

Anyway, as all good things do, we got busted. It seems that people twigged on to this one. So we changed the plan. He wanted to pretend his business had A Computer, and was therefore Cutting Edge. (Did I mention this was 1983?)

So, to the plan. He'd go to the customer, get them to fill the forms in (he'd basically be billing for staring out the window and drinking coffee at this point). Then, he'd do ten minutes work totting up the numbers. Then, he phoned me 'at the office'. I typed the numbers into our Spectrum, and then took a number to call him back on.

Then, I waited five minutes again, then called him back with the results. He'd thank me politely, hang up, and continue doing whatever it was that he did.

When he got home, he bunged me a fiver. That works out at about sixty quid an hour, which I've yet to better even now.

So, pretty good really. I never did the work experience thing, but I did spend my summers working various jobs. Of which more later, maybe.

(Feel free to click 'I like this' if you remember typing on an original Issue 1 ZX Spectrum 'dead flesh' keyboard!)
(, Fri 11 May 2007, 18:33, Reply)
Slicing a dead horse
My work experience was at a highly respected teaching establishment for the training of vets.

On my first day, I was taken into a vast room where the students do their practicals. I was led to a pile of preserved cold dog legs. My morning’s task was to sort them into front lefts, front rights, back lefts, and back rights.

After spending a day in labs, and a day in the freezer cleaning gristle from sheep skulls, my worst task was explained. Disposal costs of animal remains are not cheap, and there is no weight to cost ratio. There are fixed prices for animal types, the larger the more expensive. There is also a price for miscellaneous 25 kilo bags. The miscellaneous price is MUCH cheaper than whole carcasses. That morning, they had done a post-mortem on a race horse. It was my task to put this horse into 25 kilo plastic bags, thereby saving the institution a hundred odd quid in disposal costs. I was a dopey child, so when I presented with a scalpel to carry out this task, I did not complain.

A race horse weighs about 500 kilos. The head had been taken for further examination, but that still left about eighteen bags for me to fill with horse. Worst parts: a scalpel’s blade is an inch long; a horse’s guts fill more than one bag; having to break its spine by cutting away surrounding flesh, manoeuvring it over the edge of the table and letting its own weight break it; being elbow deep in horse trying to find the back bone… and my dog licking my boots clean when I got home. I replaced the scalpel blade five times.

Twelve years later. I must salute the guy who made me do it. I was a prick of a public school kid and I needed a taste of the real world.

It could have been worse, the guy that went next week “collected” semen samples from randy rams… and the fool told everyone when he got back to school.

Errr… Some joke about a horse’s cock…
(, Fri 11 May 2007, 16:22, Reply)
Rave On Rob...
Was sent to Dillon's bookshop as a fresh faced 15 year old in the summer of 1989...and immediately packed off to the stock room upstairs to put 30% off stickers on a room full of books. A couple of dreary hours passed, wondering if I'd be condemned to 2 weeks of this turgid existence. About midday, the door opens and in saunters Rob. Most large stores have backroom staff...they're usually lacking in the hygiene/interpersonal relationship/any fucking clue whatsoever departments. Rob was a bit different, though.
We spent the next two weeks in a ganja fuelled haze, occasionally pausing from our stoned reveries to stick some more Stone Roses/Happy Mondays/A Guy Called Gerald on the tape player and hang out of the window with another spliff. Lunchtimes were spent in a shady boozer getting merry on cider with Rob's crew of borderline psychotic pillheads.
On my last day, the store manager gave me a proof copy of the latest Laurie Lee. Rob gave me an E, a sixteenth of squidgy black and a tape of what he described as "fucking on one tracks, kidda".
It was truly a worthwhile insight into the world of waged employment.
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 11:30, Reply)
Good with computers
When I was 14 we had to do two weeks of work experience. Kindly my school spotting that I was "good with computers" (not sure how as we had gloryfied abacusses and no lessons) sorted me out with a fortnight at a company called Camel Computers. I turned up for the inteview where a snotty twat told me that I would spend the first week peeling disk labels off disks followed by a week of sitting behind the admin desk.
Unsurprisingly I told him where to shove his disk labels.

I did want to work for a computer games company though and knowing that the school would now probably line me up with a couple of weeks following the caretaker I went through every computer games magazine I'd ever bought looking for a company either near by or close to anyone I knew. I phoned up a few without much luck, but the owner nearest company asked me to send in my CV, I quickly made one and they asked me to come in and play test their latest game.

On my first day I turned up at 8:55 in a shirt and trousers. At 9:40 the first person turned up to let me in wearing jeans and a death metal t-shirt.

After a week of playing games, I was actually getting a bit bored and started dooddling in D Paint (yeah, it was a log time ago). The lead artist happened to come upstairs to see if I was alright, liked what he saw and got me working on the game they were developing. The two weeks quickly ran out, but the company got me back in every school holiday and paid me. They were apologetic about how much they paid me, but I was actually taking home more money than my mum.

Anyway I last worked there at 19, I was offered a full time job but wanted to do some "growing up" at university. I went on to do other things, but that experience set me up better than any qualification I've ever had.

Apologies for monsterous length, and lack of humour, but work experience isn't always bad.
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 11:17, Reply)
I hated my work experience.

I liked the work, but I didn't like being called a cunt, a wanker and a loser with no friends, apparently on the twin grounds that I did role-playing and they didn't like my sense of humour / the fact that my jokes were better received than theirs.

Hang on, that wasn't work experience, that was here.
(, Sat 12 May 2007, 4:44, Reply)
Phoo Learns about Chemistry
Well, Im a scientific type, and have been since those halcyon days at school...

So, being top of the science tree, I got a work experience placement at the local HUGE employer to work in one of their laboratories at a realy shitty end of the plant. It was science Jim but not as I knew it, grease and cack absolutely caked the place, this was no place for white coats!
So, during the placement I get talking to one of the oppo's and it sort of comes about that I like science cos Im a bit of a pyro. This chap is typical dodgey lab fodder... too many years around solvents, jam jar bottom glasses magnifying the odd twink in his eye.
"Oh" he says, "you might want a read of this, all the stuff we do in here is shit, but at christmas we make the fireworks out of this book"
At this point he puts into my hand not one of the great academic tomes by such scientific greats as Bhadesha or Atkins, no, its a very well thumbed copy of "The Anarchists Cookbook" : now some years on considered reasonable grounds for the rossers to hold you indefinitely as they fit you up for terrorism. I spent most of the next week reading it when not working, and at the end of the week he said "here, Ive photocopied it for you...." thus setting up two occasions where I nearly landed up in SERIOUS crap ( once including running from the law as my home made rocket fueled on sulfur and match heads was warming up for launch, the second where my "Beer Can Orange Cannon" was fired in a little less than indiscriminatory fashion )

I ended up working for the company (and still do, thus the reason why as to no clues about the business) and asked if he was still creating "projects" from the book.
"No" he answered, "but I have built a tesla coil in my garage..."

Click I like this cos its true and not some contrived shite that someone is posting claiming as their own when they heard it from a bloke in the pub, make me a B3ta darling!
(, Fri 11 May 2007, 17:14, Reply)
Not me, but a friend
Started his new job. On the first day, the guy showing him around (his name was Jim or something) said to my friend:

"I'm going to introduce you to Dave. Now whatever you do, DO NOT call him Michael."

"Why not?"

"Just don't. Trust me."

So for the next year, my friend worked with Dave, all the time straining not to slip up and call him Michael. He obsessed so much that it got harder and harder to call Dave "Dave" and not "Michael."

My friend and Dave got to be good friends, and finally my friend couldn't take it anymore. He had to know.

"So, why shouldn't people call you Michael?"

"What are you talking about?" Dave asked.

"When I started here Jim told me never, ever to call you Michael."

"Oh, that's just Jim. He does that to new people just to be a bastard."
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 14:24, Reply)
On work experience with Portugese Police Missing Persons Divsion
On the first day I was told by my 'boss' to go out and find a 'big eyed child' - yeah right! If that's not a "wind up the work experience boy gag" then I don't know what is!

So me and the lads have been hiding in the basement of the police station, playing cards and drinking sangria (very quietly!)

Adeus!
(, Tue 15 May 2007, 17:21, Reply)
Hotel
This is rather long sorry, but its a theraputic process writing this down. This is all true, no matter how made up it sounds. Believe me, I was a mess by the end.

First real job I had was working as a waiter/general dogsbody in a small hotel in Portugal. I'd basically got the job on the strength of my speaking Portuguese (I'd just spent 6 months living in Rio de Janeiro - spent the millenium there woo! - working at a school helping kids learn English), and the fact I was willing to be lowly paid as it would get me out of the UK before I went to University the following September.

Anyway, I arrived at the hotel, very nice location, the owners seemed a bit odd, but the rest of the staff (2 Australians and an English guy) seemed nice enough. I move into my room, and start work the next day.

The hotel had a sunken veranda out the back, behind the kitchen, that was covered by a corrugated iron roof. First day I'm working in the kitchen Liz* the Aussie cook, asks me to go and get some more butter from the freezer, as there was almost none left. She also warned me to be careful of the owl.

OK, I think, theres an owl that lives near the freezer and I have to be careful. I go to the chest high freezer, open it, see the butter underneath a shapeless mass of plastic bags. Easy, I think, picking up the plastic bags.

They felt odd. I unwrapped them to find a dead barn owl. In the freezer. I sincerely, wholeheartedly, promise you I'm not making this up. The owner was a big bird fan and had found the owl dead by the side of the road and wanted to get it stuffed... only he hadn't got the time so decided to put it on ice, as it were.

Things went downhill from there.

One week we had a party of 7 German couples on marriage guidance stay. Firstly, they would have massive screaming arguments in German at all times, secondly they rutted like rabbits whenever they got the chance (ever tried clearing away plates from the 'romantic' veranda when two Germans are humping on the table?), thirdly, being German, they came in to dinner and to the bar in ridiculously small speedos - one guy of about 60 had a leopard print pair.

Shortly after this the owner decided staff quarters would be knocked into one large room so he could fit a pinball machine in. We spent a week knocking walls down, and then discovered that there was actually no where for us to now sleep. The two aussies slept in the back of the car for about a month, before climbing on the roof and knocking a hole into the hotels attic so they could sleep. The new canadian gardener built a shack next to the chicken pen, and I was given a scythe, a candle and a tent, and taken to a small patch of ground 1km from the hotel, where I could "pitch [my] tent without bothering the guests." I had to scythe down the knee high scrub, and then level the ground out. I slept there for 4 months. I took a thermometer in there once - it got to 55C during the day.

What else? Oh the other English guy got the sack whilst we were building a boathouse - he tried to behead the owner with a spade.

We were hired out to clean a cowshed - still in out waitering whites. 8 hours late my trousers were ruined and we all stank of cowshit for the next week.

I painted their house, walked and de-flea'd their dogs, and babysat their children, as well as fixing the generator (I was, at the time, 19, and a prospective history student) and their tv, and on one memorable occasion, covering for them to the Portuguese police.

The owner would also tell me, in lurid details and at random times, all about his sex life. He and his wife did far too many drugs and were masters at fucking with your head. She became convinced that I was trying to kill her and told the other members of staff this. For one whole week she either avoided me, or carried a stick, or on one memorable occasion an axe, to, as she put it, "fight Zapiola off."

By the end of it all, we were working 18 hour days, although the longest I worked was 6am to 9pm straight, then 9.30pm to 4am straight, then back up at 6am to serve breakfast to a pair of departing Americans.

The single worst moment was burying one of their dogs. It fell in the lake and drowned, and we were told to bury it. The ground was rock hard and even with a pick axe it took ages to dig a hole. When we tried to put the dog in it had gone into rigor mortis and we couldn't fit it in the hole. I had to hold it still whilst the other guy broke its legs with a spade so that we could squash it into its grave. The sound of wet dog leg snapping, and then twisting, will probably haunt me forever.

I realised, along with the Aussies, that I should leave, when my daily diet consisted of marijuana and whisky for breakfast, tequila at 10am, whisky at noon with some tuna (we were allowed to eat tuna and chickpeas, and whatever was left over from the guests meals - but we were forbidden on pain of death from using salt, pepper, or balsamic vinegar on the grounds they were expensive), then continued the drinking and smoking all through the day.

We all quit on the same day, told the owners to go fuck themselves, and drove from Portugal to the UK, stopping off in northern Spain for a break.

Almost 6 months I was there. Can you guess how much I was paid a day?

£3... or 23p an hour on the longer days.

Ah... to be young, naive, and high most of the time again.
(, Sat 12 May 2007, 1:50, Reply)
Football boots
When I worked as a teacher one of my responsibilities was visiting the 5th year kids in their placements during work experience week. One of them (I'll call him John, I can't remember his real name) was a shy, retiring kid who'd begged for a placement at a local garage where the mechanics were all rough and ready types. When I visited John it was immediately obvious that he wasn't enjoying it at all and after some coaxing, he explained why.

One of the mechanics had said "Hey, John, do us a favour mate, go and find Dave and ask if his brother still wants those football boots." Keen to please, John complied, and gave Dave, the roughest mechanic at the garage, the message.

Dave's brother had only lost his legs in a motorbike accident a week before, hadn't he?
(, Fri 11 May 2007, 16:22, Reply)
solvent abuse
anyways. my work experience:

I went to a printing company that specialised in printing logos on sellotape. Boring?

Hell no! I spent a week getting high off ink fumes. All day long I would inhale paint/pain thinner and be absolutely raving. it was a old (80{+}yrs) building with fuck all consideration to ventilation, as a result you couldn't help breathing it in.

the best part was all the staff openly admitted that's why everyone was so friendly and open. Some would even huff brush cleaners with their morning coffee.

actually no the best part was a thirty year old shrink wrapping machine that blew melted plastic fumes in your face. It broke down an hour into my using it, just as well really as by then everyone was melting and the air was going opaque.

Coming back to school, everyone had to give a presentation on their work experience. I found everyone else had had a shit time in stuffy offices. My report was thus

"I spent a week at a printing company. the qualifications you need to do this area pair of hands or one had and a really good hook. The whole time I was stoned on ink fumes. I learned that every colour of paint has a different effect on the human mind. I also learned how to skatebord on a pallet trolley and its ok to steal office supplies from other businesses on the industrial estate. "

The last time I was passing through my home town, it had closed down :[
(, Thu 10 May 2007, 10:08, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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