The weirdest jobs I’ve had were not remunerated with money. But they were often remunerated with things that were more valuable than money. For instance, I took jobs instead of having to attend physical education classes at both my colleges in Ukraine. I hated PhysEd because there was no place to take a shower afterwards and the idea of going back to class after sweating at PhysEd for an hour felt humiliating. Nobody among my classmates agreed (story of my life), so collective action was not on the cards. Another PhysEd-related injustice was that PhysEd was only for female students. Male students had a free hour instead. I don’t react well to injustices, so I let PhysEd instructors exploit my free labor instead.
Job #1 was selling books and coffee at the entrance to the college stadium. The PhysEd instructor wanted to augment her income and needed salesgirls who would hand over the profit to her.
“You sell for me twice a week for 3 hours, and I’ll give you a B in PhysEd,” she said.
I loved this job because all I did was read books and guzzle coffee by the liter. I’m not sure people bought much from me because I was lost to the world behind my book. And then I dropped out and didn’t even need that B in PhysEd.
Job #2 was washing floors at the stadium of the college I went to after dropping out of the previous one. The conditions were the same. I wash the floors, and the PhysEd instructor gives me a C (my expectations became more modest by that time.) I was and still am so ridiculously bad at washing floors that the instructor glanced at my forlorn and aimless manipulations of the mop and started yelling, “What kind of woman can’t even wash the floors right? Who will want to marry somebody like that?”
“I’m already married,” I said stupidly, even though I knew that the instructor was single at 35 and obsessed with finding a husband. So she threw me out and expelled me from the college.
Those were pretty weird jobs.