View Full Version : Most depressing workplace

tony draper
1st Nov 2004, 10:05
Just thinking as one wandered back from the shops with SWH on this this cold damp November monday morning , the most depressing place one has ever worked were building sites(construction sites for the cousins)
No place in the known universe is a depressing as a building site on a freezing cold grey wet monday morning in November, up to the eyes in mud chaotic,surrounded by surley overhung brickies, scafolders navies sparkies and plumbers and such all in foul mood
Superivsed a cable laying gang for a short period in such places,the idea of spending ones working life on building sites would have caused one to end it then.
Whats your idea of the workplace from hell?


1st Nov 2004, 10:16
Au contraire, the last building site I worked on was fantastic.
Of course I was in the site office, it was in the middle of Hong Kong Harbour with all manner of fascinating vessels passing, and with various interesting Japanese or Scottish colleagues always on for some corporate entertainment in WanChai.

The previous building site, wiring structural steel together in apartment blocks in the incessant London drizzle, was less salubrious.

1st Nov 2004, 10:25
Had a couple of those in younger life.

Straight midnight shifts in a plastic factory grinding plastic waste into pellets in a viscious machine.

Working in a chemical warehouse unloading boxcars of 100lb sacks of chemicals, by hand, on my own, outside in - 30 deg temps.

Then I joined an airline.

tony draper
1st Nov 2004, 10:34
Dangerous places to work were site offices,site office workers were often beaten to death then cooked and eaten by drain layers on November monday mornings.

1st Nov 2004, 10:39
Delivering Christmas post around Leith docks in Edinburgh in the eighties. Dodging needles and holding your nose because of the smell.

Packing vegetables in a frozen food factory. Cold, miserable work. You know the green froth you get from boiling peas? Can you imagine a factory full of it? Try washing that down. Every time you add water you get more green froth.

1st Nov 2004, 10:47
Down "The Hole", an underground bunker at RAF Boulmer. If you were on day shift in winter, then you didn't see the Sun for weeks on end. Dark at start of shift, dark before end of shift.:(

The upside was we were about 60 blokes and about 100 WRAF girlies, so if Ivan had dropped a bucket of sunshine up top, we would have naturally started the re-birth of the nation, so to speak. :)

Even the fugly ones.:uhoh:

1st Nov 2004, 10:48
Once worked at the factory where they made superglue. Lasted two hours & legged it before the fumes made ones head explode..

Sticky situation that:}

1st Nov 2004, 13:26
Have worked on road construction / maintenance projects and the majority were great fun with some fantastic people.

One job I was interviewed for was in the local HM Hotel - the moment the door was locked behind me totally put me off working in that environment - very glad I turned it down.

tall and tasty
1st Nov 2004, 15:50
Working in a small company firm where the roof leaked and the drains smelt when the rain fell

What happened to health and safety at work lasted 2 weeks there would never have taken the job if I had had an interview when it rained!


1st Nov 2004, 16:05
In an office above Kings Cross platform 1 last summer in a room with no air con. It was so hot that one was rapidly covered in sweat with a further down that opening wth windows allowed the pollution and noise of thousands of vehicles through the window. Oh, and as for the toilets - you just cannot begin to describe the joys !!

1st Nov 2004, 16:46
TD,bilgediving in the engine room of a rapidly sinking rustbucket dredger in the bay of Biscay to find a leak that was actually in the pumproom,all good clean fun! Jerry

1st Nov 2004, 17:03
Any job, on any farm, stock or arable, near-farms (as in berries, straw-, rasp-, Saskatoon-, or any other), putting greens, golf-courses, ditches, gardens, included, anywhere, at any season. In fact, I do not want even to be on a farm. This is genetic: my grandfather's mot echoes over the generations: "Whit is the country onywey? Jist a lot o' coos". What a wise man he was.

five iron
1st Nov 2004, 17:21
For all those who think that they have it bad, check this out.


Onan the Clumsy
1st Nov 2004, 17:23
Davaar Does your list include "funny-" ?

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
1st Nov 2004, 17:24
Guard duty 2 am one freezing January morning in the 70s, holding a pick axe handle (then known as a helve, never found out why), because the powers that be were confident that would stop the terrorist hoardes. Shift partner was a complete w**ker whose bird had just dumped him that evening. Kept bursting into tears and wanted to give me his whole life story (unabridged version).

Paradise !!:rolleyes:

1st Nov 2004, 17:30
I think it would. The closest I have been to one of them is our local detention centre, now under investigation as a clone of Guantanamo Bay. I do not like it either, although certainly it has no cows or pigs or turkeys.

Onan the Clumsy
1st Nov 2004, 17:38

From http://www.hyperdictionary.com/dictionary/helve

Meaning of HELVE
Pronunciation: helv

WordNet Dictionary

Definition: [n] the handle of a weapon or tool


Synonyms: haft

See Also: awl, ax, axe, blade, brand, dagger, file, grip, handgrip, handle, hold, knife, reap hook, reaping hook, sickle, steel, sticker, sword

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition: \Helve\, n. [OE. helve, helfe, AS. hielf, helf, hylf, cf.
OHG. halb; and also E. halter, helm of a rudder.]
1. The handle of an ax, hatchet, or adze.

2. (Iron Working)
(a) The lever at the end of which is the hammer head, in a
forge hammer.
(b) A forge hammer which is lifted by a cam acting on the
helve between the fulcrum and the head.

\Helve\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Helved}; p. pr. & vb. n.
To furnish with a helve, as an ax.


In 1920, Robert Frost wrote: I haven't read it btw

I've known ere now an interfering branch
Of alder catch my lifted ax behind me.
But that was in the woods, to hold my hand
From striking at another alder's roots,
And that was, as I say, an alder branch.
This was a man, Baptiste, who stole one day
Behind me on the snow in my own yard
Where I was working at the chopping block,
And cutting nothing not cut down already.
He caught my ax expertly on the rise,
When all my strength put forth was in his favor,
Held it a moment where it was, to calm me,
Then took it from me — and I let him take it.
I didn't know him well enough to know
What it was all about. There might be something
He had in mind to say to a bad neighbor
He might prefer to say to him disarmed.
But all he had to tell me in French-English
Was what he thought of— not me, but my ax;
Me only as I took my ax to heart.
It was the bad ax-helve some one had sold me —
“Made on machine,' he said, plowing the grain
With a thick thumbnail to show how it ran
Across the handle's long-drawn serpentine,
Like the two strokes across a dollar sign.
“You give her 'one good crack, she's snap raght off.
Den where's your hax-ead flying t'rough de hair?”
Admitted; and yet, what was that to him?

“Come on my house and I put you one in
What's las' awhile — good hick'ry what's grow crooked,
De second growt' I cut myself—tough, tough!”

Something to sell? That wasn't how it sounded.

“Den when you say you come? It's cost you nothing.

As well to-night as any night.

Beyond an over-warmth of kitchen stove
My welcome differed from no other welcome.
Baptiste knew best why I was where I was.
So long as he would leave enough unsaid,
I shouldn't mind his being overjoyed
(If overjoyed he was) at having got me
Where I must judge if what he knew about an ax
That not everybody else knew was to count
For nothing in the measure of a neighbor.
Hard if, though cast away for life with Yankees,
A Frenchman couldn't get his human rating!

Mrs. Baptiste came in and rocked a chair
That had as many motions as the world:
One back and forward, in and out of shadow,
That got her nowhere; one more gradual,
Sideways, that would have run her on the stove
In time, had she not realized her danger
And caught herself up bodily, chair and all,
And set herself back where she ,started from.
“She ain't spick too much Henglish— dat's too bad.”
I was afraid, in brightening first on me,
Then on Baptiste, as if she understood
What passed between us, she was only reigning.
Baptiste was anxious for her; but no more
Than for himself, so placed he couldn't hope
To keep his bargain of the morning with me
In time to keep me from suspecting him
Of really never having meant to keep it.

Needlessly soon he had his ax-helves out,
A quiverful to choose from, since he wished me
To have the best he had, or had to spare —
Not for me to ask which, when what he took
Had beauties he had to point me out at length
To ensure their not being wasted on me.
He liked to have it slender as a whipstock,
Free from the least knot, equal to the strain
Of bending like a sword across the knee.
He showed me that the lines of a good helve
Were native to the grain before the knife
Expressed them, and its curves were no false curves
Put on it from without. And there its strength lay
For the hard work. He chafed its long white body
From end to end with his rough hand shut round it.
He tried it at the eye-hold in the ax-head.
“Hahn, hahn,” he mused, “don't need much taking down.”
Baptiste knew how to make a short job long
For love of it, and yet not waste time either.

Do you know, what we talked about was knowledge?
Baptiste on his defense about the children
He kept from school, or did his best to keep —
Whatever school and children and our doubts
Of laid-on education had to do
With the curves of his ax-helves and his having
Used these unscrupulously to bring me
To see for once the inside of his house.
Was I desired in friendship, partly as someone
To leave it to, whether the right to hold
Such doubts of education should depend
Upon the education of those who held them.

But now he brushed the shavings from his knee
And stood the ax there on its horse's hoof,
Erect, but not without its waves, as when
The snake stood up for evil in the Garden—
Top-heavy with a heaviness his short,
Thick hand made light of, steel-blue chin drawn down
And in a little — a French touch in that.
Baptiste drew back and squinted at it, pleased:
“See how she's cock her head!”

Solid Rust Twotter
1st Nov 2004, 17:54
IT. Grew to hate computers. Hardware support on a large mainframe is the pits. A mate had it sorted though. He used to clock in to the computer room, get under the false floor and settle down with a good book in his sleeping bag while the kettle boiled for a nice cuppa before nodding off for a few hours. They never caught him.

Wish I'd thought of it....

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
1st Nov 2004, 17:56
Onan My Dear Chap, many thanks for putting me out of my misery after 30 years. I suppose I could have looked it up myself, but there was something quaint about being a teenager and trusting the Army to look after me, believing them when they told me it was a helve without knowing why............
Wore off pretty quick !!

1st Nov 2004, 19:48
Abraham Lincoln could lift up an axe by the helve and hold it horizontally and steadily at arm's length for an indefinite time. No one in his entourage could. We do not find presidents like that nowadays.

1st Nov 2004, 19:59
A certain ex president allowed interns to hold his tool for as long as they wanted or until it became unfit for use, Mr Davaar. Does that count?:E


1st Nov 2004, 20:04
Okay, I suppose, but if the second tool were mine I'd want the first kept far away, especially in the hands of an inexperienced helve-hefter.

Incidentally, the surname of Field Marshal von Manstein before his adoption was Lewinsky. I don't suppose ............ Nah! I'm sure not.

1st Nov 2004, 20:12
I was a pork pie pricker in a pork pie factory for a few weeks - had a special tool to prick the pork pies with. I got promoted to steak and kidney pie filling hopper loader after a while. I didn't eat industrial pies after that.....
The factory canteen only supplied the stuff we had been making - they did a lousy trade.....:yuk:

1st Nov 2004, 20:14
In that 2nd picture of that link on the first page, is that angels sitting there in the first row, eighth person? ;)

1st Nov 2004, 20:35
I had overlooked the link. Look and ponder. Onan asks about "funny". Funny he should ask, for I too have been an elephant-cage cleaner. Unlike the young lady, I was not a catcher in the rye, though. This was in one of the farm/circus/municipal parks occupations that earned the meagre living that preceded my current meagre living. And you thought I was just another child of privilege, another pretty face.

tony draper
1st Nov 2004, 20:41
Wasn't George Washington good with a axe also Mr Davaar? very bad at lying though.

1st Nov 2004, 22:01
President LBJ was good at picking things up, his beagles by their ears.

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
1st Nov 2004, 23:42
Put a few women in the right place that way.............but that's another story:ok:

1st Nov 2004, 23:59
Any maintenance job I have ever had having to deal with aircrew:E :E :E
Only joking, you are not all that bad, you just need a goodslapping now and again:ouch: :}
Five iron, in your link, if the top picture was aviation related, the two lads would be pilots, but the picture would have been taken by an engineer.

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
2nd Nov 2004, 00:13
We're not that bad ?!! Maybe it's different in the F/W world ?? In the R/W world we get the odd w**ker (aren't they everywhere ??), but mostly I'd say we get on with the engineers, even to the point of discussing everything with them before we put something in the tech log. Certainly put a good few gallons of the amber away with a lot of them !!

2nd Nov 2004, 07:19
It’s a close call between a few spots but I reckon Tehran just beats the desert camps of Hassi Massoud in Algeria into first place.
Tehran had little legal to do for expats, the women are all covered up, there are no bars and the feeling on the street can be threatening. The smog is thick and chewy and the vigilantes are always blocking one road or another. A great place to leave.
Hassi Massoud – living in a camp, at least you can get a beer and talk sh*t with workmates – if you want to after a long day working with them – or go and read another book. Every new posting is relative to your previous one so Russia is pretty awesome!
Then again there are a few spots in West Africa that can be "challenging"......

Lon More
2nd Nov 2004, 07:52
Like Gainsey I spent several months down the hole at Sopley. Mind you, after a couple of years at West Drayton it was like heaven

2nd Nov 2004, 07:56
Nothing so exotic as West Africa or the Middle East, but cleaning and fumigating the baking ovens in the 'Wonderloaf' factory in Croydon was not so much fun -- but the money was good.

Re EDDNs probably liblelous statement about me being in the link, unfortunately my work firewall won't let me view it.....

Er, but since the firewall won't let me the view the link because of 'nudity', perhaps I have reason to worry..... :}

2nd Nov 2004, 14:30

don´t you worry - nothing insinuating in that picture, just about 300 bankers crammed in one room crammed with 300 computers... ;)

2nd Nov 2004, 14:33

I was barred from the picture as well, 'Inappropriate content".

(Are you sure you spelt 'bankers' correctly?). :uhoh:

tony draper
2nd Nov 2004, 14:38
Mate of mine had to flee for his life from Tehran when those bearded loons took over, we never got payed for that job either.
Up to that point he said he quite enjoyed his stay.
In my day we wudda just sent a gun boat and turned the presidential palace into pebble dash.

Dave Martin
2nd Nov 2004, 15:49
Freezer room at an ASDA warehouse about an hour and a half's drive away from home in Essex.

£4.40 an hour, 12 hours, 20:00 - 08:00, over summer, 1.5hrs drive back home, as some mindless, hated, agency worker.

Prostitution it was and I'm still scarred.

2nd Nov 2004, 17:55
I did a few weeks on a new car processing line. My job was to put a sticker on the window as the car came past.


for 8-12 hours a day:yuk:

BTW, don't buy a brand new car, you would not believe how many have had crash repairs before they even get to the showroom:oh: