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This is a question My job: Expectation vs Reality

When I worked as a window cleaner, everybody - and I mean everybody - I knew asked me the "how's yer father" question. The truth was that I was always knackered and freezing, and the only nudity I saw was some fat bloke's arse. Tell us how your work differs from the expectation.

Thanks to Rotating Wobbly Hat for the idea

(, Thu 8 May 2014, 22:21)
Pages: Popular, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

I work in insurance. I expect it to be dull. It is dull.
When I'm not regretting my career choices, I sing in a covers band. I'm classing it as a job because people book us, and pay us to entertain. We're not bad, and we get quite a bit of work locally. I've been asked more than once why I don't do it full time, why I don't make a living from singing, why I have to 'waste my life' by working my day job. Other people genuinely are shocked that I can get up in front of people and do what I do, considering the fact that I am grossly overweight and not quite what people are expecting.

The reality?

I'm never going to be a professional singer. I'm 36, fat and female. Never going to happen, not even if I woke up tomorrow a size 10. I'm too old, and the music industry likes their newbies young. Unless you're Susan Boyle, and I am not Susan Boyle.

Everyone assumes that it's easy money. They see the wad of cash being paid at the end of the night, and it does look as though we're making a fair few quid for four hours work. It looks easy. It looks fun. It IS fun. It's the best fun you can have with your clothes on - but unless you are a signed band, who can tour constantly with original music, you will starve. Even if you are in a signed band who tour constantly with original music, you will starve for a LONG while (my mate is a drummer, his band have played at the O2 arena, and he still needs a day job to pay his bills). The wad of cash I get at the end of night gets split between five of us. It pays for petrol, a couple of beers, and a lot of it gets ploughed back into equipment. We earned £3000 in our first year, and £2500 of that went straight to pay for most of our gear. I dread any of our gear breaking because it means we essentially gig for free in order to pay for replacements. It is not easy. I spend three or fours a week working on the set with the band, and the same amount of time working on my own to make sure I can do a song justice. We constantly change the set list to keep things fresh, and we will tailor a set to an event if we can. It can get boring. It really really can. I sometimes resent the rehearsal side of things, but it has to be done. If you factor this in, I get less than minimum wage.

As for the last thing...well. I've played in some ROUGH pubs and clubs. I've played to 15 drunk punters on a Saturday afternoon, and I've played to packed venues with 150 drunk punters on a Saturday night. . I've played to lairy, drunken, leather clad moshers. I've played to chavs, alcoholics, upperclass hoorays, drunken mums, hen parties, stag parties, teenagers, old people (seriously, everyone should have the pleasure of watching a woman in her 70s jump up and down to Killing In The Name), schoolkids, and on one memorable occasion, two small babies who were lulled to sleep by Led Zeppelin.

Not once have I ever had anyone be abusive, throw anything, insult me, or make me feel anything other than fucking amazing. I was shocked by this, as I thought I was a pretty easy target, but people have never failed to be anything but appreciative and awesome. They buy us drinks, they shout for more, and they never let us go without an encore or two. Getting recognised in the street is sometimes weird (I never expected that to happen, but it does), but it makes me grin like a lunatic :D
(, Sun 11 May 2014, 1:01, 31 replies)
Expectation : Lots of people going "oooh" and "ahhhh" and getting some "lovely" doctor telling them that all is well and they will live another x years even though their lifestyle is shit. "Pretty" nurses and doctors jumping on people who have just had a cardiac arrest and bringing them back to the world of the living and the patient having a miracle recovery!

Reality : Lots of people using A&E as an excuse to bypass the system. GP's in the field not giving a shit anymore and dumping ***anything*** that looks anything more than a cough or a scratch into A&E. Liars, cheats and vagabonds using the NHS as a way of cheating their way through life so they don't have to contribute towards their own life.
Some drunken tosspot with a sprained ankle shouting and screaming at you in some indecipherable language because they demand to be seen by a doctor now, holding you up from seeing a polite old gentleman who has paid his NI for 50 years has broken his hip (full on rotation and shortening) after falling over, because his so called "community carers" have not been to visit him this evening.
Working for 12 hours, 5 nights in a row, with no more than perhaps a 10 minute break each night to get a quick cup of tea.

Most of us have the reality check and make sure the old lad with the broken hip gets a pillow and blankets. The drunken wanker gets their expectation fulfilled. No prizes for guessing what their reality will be.
(, Sun 11 May 2014, 1:46, 14 replies)
The best man for the job
This is not my story, but I was there, so I feel I can tell it.

After living in a shared house for some time, we were finally leaving. The landlord had decided to do some redecorating, and on our last day he turned up with his decorator. After going around the house and discussing all the things he wanted doing, with the decorator nodding and making notes, he then left to let him get on with it.

As soon as the door closed, the decorator flipped his bucket over, sat down on it, took out an impressively large spliff and fired it up, then looked around at us and said:

"So. Any of you lot know anything about painting and decorating? Cos I fucking don't!"
(, Tue 13 May 2014, 14:30, 31 replies)
I had a job training the Met police
I kind of expected all the coppers to be conservative wowserish types I wouldn't have much in common with. Cunts, in other words. I also expected it to be one of those hardworking office situations. It was all very suits and strong handshakes and "commitment to uphold our values" at the interview. What I didn't realise is that the coppers they'd drafted in to run our shiny learning department had basically hit the jackpot, and they knew it.

Some up until then had been walking their beat for years. Doing unsocial night shifts, dealing with crack heads and whores and domestic violence, and none with any nice TV story closures. The main reason most cops stay in their job, I soon learned, was for the generous pension if they could stick it out. Suddenly they could work normal dayshifts like normal people, and spend their days doing fun stuff like advising film crews and designing hostage situation simulators. They were always cheerful, liked a beer, and because they were all experienced coppers, had great anecdotes to tell. And they had absolutely no experience in managing me or the other overpaid contractors sucking on the government teat for all we we could, and I think they didn't particularly care either. Consequently, we took to having three hour lunches and it was a rare day I made it to work before 10am. I got fired after two years when finally some sort of sanity prevailed, but man it was a fun job while it lasted.
(, Tue 13 May 2014, 14:00, 1 reply)
Years ago...
...when I was at college in Hendon, it was all "pillar of the community" and "chicks'll dig the uniform".

Not once did they mention that I might get punched by a nonce.
(, Fri 9 May 2014, 14:19, 3 replies)
It's exactly what I expected

... but that's because my expectations were set by watching Open University in the 1970s.

Wavy line your imagination back to that distant era. Only three TV channels, with kids programs only available for a very limited range of times. Which meant that we'd end up watching whatever the hell was on, and that meant, quite often, The Open University.

It's hard to imagine now: a couple of pre-teen kids watching a black-and-white lecture on mathematics, with special effects consisting of letraset letters on cardboard diagrams. But what I often noticed was the Computer Operator visible in the background. He had a beard and long hair! He had no dress sense (even compared to the wild-eyed social misfit delivering the lecture)! He sat down a lot, stared at a screen and did no heavy lifting! That, I thought, is the job for me: a hippy who gets paid for interacting with machines -- SO much easier than people, especially women.

And it's worked out perfectly. I have long hair and a beard, no dress sense, and thanks to a career in IT amongst all the other other misfits and weirdos, still haven't developed any discernable social skills.

(, Fri 9 May 2014, 13:41, 1 reply)
it's been 8 years since i wrote this, i think that's fair enough for a repost
when we were about 14, my best friend and i were conned into giving up our precious saturdays to advertise a children's designer clothes shop in cheadle. 6 hours for £20 cash in hand. riches to us at that age. and the job sounded like FUN.

the idea was, one of us would dress up in a fluffy animal suit and give balloons to the children. the other would then take a photograph, which would be displayed in the shop. the fond mothers could then come into the shop and claim the free photograph, and the hope was that they would be seduced into buying baby gap g-strings and versace rompers.

unfortunately, the owner was a big, fat, sleazy robbie coltrane double who was tighter than a nun's chuff. he bought four of the ropiest cartoon suits you've ever seen, with holes in them, threadbare fur and less than a passing resemblance to the actual cartoon character - mine was the lesser known "pinkish grey balding panther with a hole where the tail should be and staring weird yellow eyes". cue the horrid boss pressing the detached tail against my 14 year old utterly non-existent tits and arse, murmuring, "we could pin it here. or here. or heeeere." what kind of scaryass panther has a tail coming out of its breasts?? anyway.

we had to dance around cheadle in these suits. it was cold. it was windy. it was raining. people threw things at us. including lit cigarettes. and my friend vicky's "rotting snoopy carcass" head kept falling down so she couldn't see and walked into things. at one point she walked smack into a waist high metal post and nearly sterilised herself. every single child within a 5 mile radius burst into tears when they saw the freaky suits. this was the only thing that made it bearable (no pun intended).

eventually we were sacked when not one single solitary mother had been in to retrieve a photo in 6 weeks and the shop was flooded with them. well, who would want a picture of their darling son/daughter and heir, dripping wet and crying hysterically as their worst nightmare capered around in front of them?

moral of the story children - never mock people in those suits. it's worse on the inside.
(, Fri 9 May 2014, 12:10, 5 replies)
It always seemed like an, if not glamoruous, then at least entertaining career.
You had booze quite literally on tap. You could have a lock in whenever you wanted. You got to see your friends and family whilst working so you would never miss out on the social life. It seemed so good when viewed through those rosey glasses.
The reality is somewhat different. There is beer on tap, but all the feckless bastards that work there know it too and somehow think that it's ok for them to nab a few drinks every shift. You quickly get fed up of being sober when your friends come in pissed as arseholes. As for the lock ins, apart from a wind down drink with the staff there are few things more annoying than drunk family or friends demanding a lock in then being stroppy when you try to explain to them that after 8 hours of dealing with drunk schmucks the last thing you want to do is sit and have a drink with them afterwards.
Finally, if you have the joy of dealing with Enterprise Inns you learn to believe in true evil as they suck your life, money and soul to feed their failing business model.
Unfortunately I can't even leave as I'm hobbled by debt and the job provides my family with somewhere to live.
Abridged - dealing with drunks sucks
(, Sun 11 May 2014, 15:20, 8 replies)
Lord President Skagra
Once, a long time ago in the Constellation of Kasterborous (very far from here), before I left Gallifrey, I was, briefly, Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords.

This was after President Saran resigned over the Morbius affair (he called it a wrap) which caused a constitutional crisis. Saran had been Vice-President at the start of all the bother but was quickly promoted to full President once Morbius had turned against the Time Lords. Trouble was, Morbius’s name hadn’t been fully excised from the APC Net so he was still, technically, President after Saran’s resignation. I agreed to step in as ‘Caretaker President’ whilst the Cardinals sorted all this out. I ruled for only a few days, and was eventually replaced by that vacuous nonentity Jasten. But for a few days, I was Lord President of Gallifrey, Supreme Ruler of the Time Lords, the most powerful being in the Universe!

My expectations were as high as the roof of the Panopticon. As President, one is afforded unrestricted access to the Matrix, the sum total of all the knowledge of the Time Lords, and therefore the biggest library of pan-dimensional porn, and, indeed, poon, in the entire Universe. One also got to wear snazzy, flowing, glittering white and gold robes, wear the Sash of Rassilon, wear the Crown of Rassilon, wear a big chair on one’s bonce, bash the Cardinals on *their* bonces with the Rod of Rassilon, play the Harp of Rassilon, and fuck the Catamites of Rassilon

Time Lord Presidents were also immune from prosecution so could fuck and torture and slaughter with impunity. One also had access to the Time Vaults, the Omega Arsenal, Shada, the Game of Rassilon, the Drinks Cabinet of Rassilon and the Sacred Jazzmags of Rassilon. And the Pizza Oven of Rassilon – I’m joking, he was never that lame; it was a Tandoori Oven.


But immediately after my investiture, I was sitting in my Presidential Office preparing to access the Matrix for some pre-teen Lurman bumsex, when Chancellor Thule burst in, leading a string of Chancellery Guards bearing piles and piles of papers.

‘What is the meaning of this insulting interruption?’ I spluttered.

‘Sorry, Lord President, Sir,’ said Chancellor Thule with a big fucking smirk on his face as the guards dumped all the papers on my desk. ‘It’s just that what with the Morbius business and now this constitutional clusterfuck, rather a lot of paperwork has built up.’

I rose to my feet and waved the guards away with an imperious flick of my Presidential wrist. ‘Well, fuck that! I have - more important duties to perform!’

‘With respect, Lord President, no, you haven’t. This lot has just got to be signed off. So make busy with the Seal of Rassilon, there’s a good boy.’

‘I am Lord President!’ I bellowed. ‘I refuse, and moreover, I’m gonna have you exiled to Earth your impertinent... impertinence!’

But Chancellor Thule just smirked. ‘Sorry, Skagra.’ With that he hot-footed it from my office. I made to follow him but found that he’d sealed the room in a chronic hysteresis! No way in our out – I couldn’t even send a message! I had no choice but to complete the paperwork to break the hysteresis.

I slumped into my Presidential chair and thumbed forlornly through the massive pile of papers. Time Travel permits... TARDIS licenses... temporal disputes... Panopticon canteen menus... it went on and on.

It took me two days to finish the lot and by then the crisis was over, and so was my Presidency.

Fucking cunts. That Morbius had the right idea, you know.
(, Sat 10 May 2014, 21:12, 7 replies)
Otters are one of the few non-primate species to use tools.
They'll float on their backs and place a stone on their bellies as an anvil on which to crack open shells.

I once tried to emulate them in the bath with a pumice stone and some scampi fries but I got so carried away that I pissed in my own mouth.
(, Fri 9 May 2014, 16:25, 13 replies)
In a previous life I worked for the Environment Agency
I had high hopes of making a difference to the environment when I joined, but gradually realised it was mostly drudgery, only enlivened by occasional machinery- related mishaps. Round where I used to work the ground is low lying and needs a lot of drainage, so unlike the Somerset levels a regular dredging programme for all the ditches was in force - my job was to drive around the fields in a Shogun checking which ditches were blocked and needed dredging. Naturally if you happened to get the call of nature at any point, you could just go wherever you were, that is until one morning I let fly into a ditch and a frenzy of squeaking followed. Long story short I'd pissed in an otter's mouth.
(, Fri 9 May 2014, 15:17, Reply)
When I worked in that Indian Restaurant
I didn't expect to make all that Tarka Masala.

It was like the Tikka Masala I was expecting ..... just a little bit 'otter!

I'll get my coat.
(, Fri 9 May 2014, 15:02, 3 replies)
PC repair
Someone else's expectations rather than mine, but I'm going to shoehorn it in anyway.

This morning an IT repairman came round to find out why my PC kept making a high-pitched whine and switching off unexpectedly, probably with the expectation that his customers are clueless numpties without a gadget to their name. We opened up the tower and he attentively watched it boot, going into the BIOS and scanning the various parameters thoughtfully.

"Damn", he said after a moment. "There's no information on the temperature of the components. Oh well, we'll have to do it another way."

It came to my attention at that point that I had a LASER TEMPERATURE GUN in my possession. Moments later I had pressed the Honda Temperature Gun of Justice into his hands and beheld him cooing in amazement. "Wow", he said as he pointed the laser at the graphics card, the motherboard and the power supply, "This is much better than an application."

Turned out to be the power supply that was fecked.
(, Fri 9 May 2014, 11:08, 6 replies)
Expectation - riding a chopper down a suburban street, throwing papers into people's mailboxes, trying not to smash their windows, then racing around a BMX track.
Reality - Trudging around in the rain listening to S'Express on your walkman, taunting dogs through letterboxes and trying not to get fingered by old men in dressing gowns.
(, Mon 12 May 2014, 13:29, 6 replies)
I was also a window cleaner for years
and also never saw any naked boobies. The closest I came was being aware that a door had opened and then quickly closed in the room I was outside, so I focussed my eyes on where the movement had come from to see a woman emerge looking angry and wearing only a towel.

One of the people I worked with did once catch a lady in the altogether, though. I describe him as a person loosely... if you could imagine Butler from on the busses as a toothless old tramp who reeked of wet dog. He was not a very nice man, or a particularly intelligent one, and he was one of the most infuriating people I have ever met... he remains one of the few people that I have ever been so annoyed with that I have physically attacked.

One day we were getting on with the job when he erupted with glee at the top of his ladder, banging on the window and shouting 'I see ye! Ah ha ha ha! I see ye!' at the top of his lungs. Understandably, she didn't answer the door when he knocked to collect payment.

She probably wished she had, though, when a week later she was chased along the street by the little prick as he shouted 'I didn't recognise you with your clothes on, you owe me money!'

He survived a triple heart attack about a year later. I don't think he's human.
(, Mon 12 May 2014, 4:35, 1 reply)
my friend's husband is an engineer and he works for mars
when he was looking at the position, he was told that they get a tiny percentage of their salary in products every month. so basically a big box of free chocolate bars. his wife was thrilled.

they put him in the pedigree chum factory.

they don't have a pet.
(, Fri 9 May 2014, 11:05, 10 replies)
I used to be the best London-based cartographer in the world.
An 'otter plotter there was not. A blot I got mattered not one jot.

(, Wed 14 May 2014, 15:07, 6 replies)
Repost - because
I was very excited about the work experience given to me by school. It was working at a contract cleaners. Imagine my horror to find out they actually did cleaning.
(, Wed 14 May 2014, 12:02, 3 replies)
Joined the UK Ambulance Service (mumble) years ago, expecting a whole bunch of stuff, some of it obvious, like helping people & racing around like a loon under blue lights, some of it less so.
Most of it is fairly mundane (to us, not the patients) & yes we do help people (I'd better not admit to the loon bit), but I really didn't expect to be treated so badly by Government, or the drunken fuktards who assault us on a fairly regular basis.
Truth is, I probably expected the uniform to act as more of a fanny magnet, but it turns out, that if you're ugly with a small dick it somehow doesn't seem to help much...
length: see above
(, Thu 8 May 2014, 23:57, 3 replies)
Worked as a software developer for NATO or three years. The computer system was mainly concerned with planning and execution of aircraft missions. Think Top Gun meets War Games, all very glamorous, secretive and action packed.

Reality? Worked in a small office building. Hessian on the walls, maps dating back to the cold war, office furniture from the same era. Did at no point see an actual aircraft. Most of the time spent working on implementing flawed communication protocols facing other NATO systems since funding depended upon showing progress in that field. Remaining time spent hoping that the military personnel would have the good sense to pick up the phone and bypass our system if a situation would ever arise where communication was critical.

Embarassingly well paid.
(, Thu 8 May 2014, 22:45, 3 replies)

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