Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Third in a series about the bizarre series of pre-professional job that I had

Of all the pre-professional jobs that I ahve had, the one I worked in the summers after my junior and senior years of high school was by the most enjoyable fulfilling. A friend of mine’s family owned an upholstery shop, and through that connection I got a job working there.

On an average couch, the fabric is held onto the frame with thousands upon thousand of staples. It was my job to remove each and everyone of those staples, using the tool pictured to the left. It would take about eight hours to strip an entire couch. It was satisfying in a mindless sort of way, to systematically pull something apart.

The thing that truly made this a satisfying job was that it consisted of more than just mindless repetitive tasks. My duties went beyond simply striping down furniture, over the course of the two summers that I worked their the owners of the shop began to teach the art of upholstering. I never learned to upholster complex pieces like sofas, but by the end of my last summer working thereI was quite adept reupholstering simples things, i.e. footstools and the like.
This learning process is one of the major reason that I enjoyed this job despite the menial and mindlessness nature of the bulk of my daily tasks, namley pulling staple after staple. I felt like I was learning a skill, acquiring a trade, rather than simply serving as a mindless automaton as I did all my other pre-professional jobs. Plus there is pride you get when you build or create something with your hands, you don't get this with most scutwork jobs.

Another thing that made this a good job was the people owned the shop were good people who treated their employees well. One of the best perks of this job was the all you could eat Otter Pops that were provided. They did this because the building had no air conditioning, unlike Arizona getting all you could eat Otter Pops instead of air conditioning is not such a bad deal, in Colorado. On average day I consumed about 20 Otter Pops.

Next Job: The Summer of the Cement Boogers


O'Donovan said...

Otter Pops!

I love this series; when you run out, you should hold a contest.

VAfriend said...

I totally agree with O'Donovan. I think you should hold a contest.

The summer jobs you had make me think of my summer jobs that I had. So many fun memories...

gaelstat said...

Damn! Those otter pops look good. This series is awesome.

Brings back memories of the two summers when I worked in the schnapps factory in Berlin.