Since I have worked at over 30 different establishments in the last 10 years, I hope I know a thing or two about how daunting a job can be. Based on my experience, here are jobs I would never recommend for someone just entering the workforce, or someone getting back into work after a long hiatus outside the workforce.
A hotel. I’ve seen people just walk out mid-shift because they just couldn’t take it. Besides the lack of flexibility (most hotels run in 3 shifts, 7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm, and 11pm-7am so part-time or choosing your own schedule will get you laughed at), the business is busy, with phones always ringing, guests always demanding stuff, and if you can’t multi-task, have never answered a phone before, or have no idea how to run a 10-key, it can be frightening work. I would be in the middle of training some poor high-schooler who would be in tears from all the activity, and you can’t ease into this work. About 50% of the people I would train would ask me if they could “get something” out of their car and I would see them get in and peel out of the parking lot, never to be seen again. The job does get easier once you learn it, but if you can’t cut it just being thrown in there, leave the hotel work alone.
Note: hotels are easier to train at in the winter months, since business is slow. Unfortunately, it’s summer work they always need, besides, you’re not missing out on anything. Even awesome hotels have crappy pay- I made more working at a gas station deli (which I stupidly quit to work at a hotel) than I ever made at a hotel.
Restaurants that are “seat yourself.” I worked at one of these for about 2 hours. It is so damn hard to not only learn the expansive menu, but remember your station, and who sat down where. I admit it, I couldn’t make it, and walked out frustrated because it was just too much for me. If you want to go the restaurant route, try serving at a pizza place or smaller restaurant- it’s a lot easier.
A gas station. First of all, you have to be over 19 so you can sell alcohol, but the work is super busy and if you have no knowledge of a cash register or customer service skills, it can be difficult work. Working in the deli parts is fine (some of the easiest work I’ve ever done), but you have to keep track of pumps, memorize cigarette brands, and check ID often. Added to that, the constant fear you are going to get mugged while you are at work. The pay isn’t that great anyhow. Training is a beast, and you have to be available for all shifts.
A dairy or feedlot. I grew up in the farming field, so it’s no big deal for me to walk in a pen of bulls and shoo a herd of cattle away to fish out the one cow who has foot rot so I can give it medication and coax it to the foot bath. But if you’ve never fed a calf a bottle, let alone walked in a pen of 200+ cows, you will freak the hell out when they run at you. Trust me, they stop about 6 feet in front of you since they are just following you out of curiosity, but it’s hilarious to farm workers to watch somebody run maniacally away from a bunch of cattle. Plus, you have to work in freezing or burning hot conditions, work long days, and you’ll be eating lunch with cow crap all over your hands. If you love animals and want to get some experience, this is a great place to start, otherwise stick to harvest work like the scale house or weighing silage, or driving the harvest trucks, which a 14 year old can do.
Working for a vet. Veterinarians are shouters when it comes to people, and if you don’t learn the job pronto they will chew your ass up one end and down the other. I have been brought to tears by a vet I worked with because he just liked to yell. You have to have thick skin with animals, have to be nice to people, and have to be willing to get shots often because you get bit all the time. Kennel work is fine, but working in a vet’s office (even as a secretary) can be frightening work if you can’t work under pressure or hate the sight of blood. It’s an awesome experience, but heartbreaking when animals die on you, and your boss is cussing at you because he, too, is frustrated. I wouldn’t recommend this job unless you are thinking of working with animals as a career yourself, as it is a great learning experience. Otherwise, work at Arby’s. You’ll be a lot happier.