SOCIAL MEDIA

14 July 2014

My Strangest Job





I know this is a stretch of a topic for an outfit post, but I was looking at these photos and thinking about how cotton dresses get wrinkly the minute you put them on, which, of course, led me to think about my days as a professional ironing girl.

What is the strangest job you've ever had?

Some jobs seem to make sense for certain people, and others not so much. But it seems that the vast majority of us have to pick up at least one or two jobs that don't quite suit our personalities at some point in our lives because of the simple fact that life costs money. For example, it makes me giggle to think that once upon a time Angel worked at Target.

Probably the most unexpected job I've ever held was that of "ironing girl" for a family wealthy enough to hire separate "ironing girls" and "cleaning girls." And yes, that's what my employer called me, "Ironing Girl."

Now, on the surface of it, it's not that odd of a job for me. I grew up with 6 younger siblings--I am very skilled at just about any household chore, and I am especially skilled at ironing. I'm fast and thorough at ironing, and I liked that the job didn't require a lot of commitment, just 3 hours once a week, and that it paid well over minimum wage.

But the experience of being someone's "ironing girl" was, I must say, rather a strange one. Every week I showed up, and headed to the basement to iron the rack of clothes, tablecloths, pajamas, etc., that would be ready for ironing (Yes, I regularly ironed pajamas and t-shirts). Sometimes my boss would sit in a chair next to the ironing board and talk to me while I ironed--mostly about her children and about how out of all the ironing girls she's ever had, she'd never had anyone that was as skillful as I was at the job. That was a constant theme in her conversation--that I was excellent at ironing. So you can imagine that it came as a shock to me that she fired me, twice.

The first time, she called me up on the day I was supposed to come and iron and told me that she could no longer have me working for her, goodbye. The next day, she called me again and told me that she was so sorry, she must have been crazy, and that of course she still needed me to come and iron for her. So I continued working for her. I knew when I got married that I would no longer be able to be her "ironing girl" because moving in with Angel would mean I would live about an hour away from her house. I told her that I needed to quit, giving her several weeks notice, and at first she responded that she would be very sad to lose me. However, the day before I was supposed to come over for my last ironing session the week before my wedding, she called me and told me that my services were no longer required, making no mention of the fact that I had already planned to quit.

For three semesters of college, I was an "ironing girl," and I did a pretty good job of it. I have to admit, the first time she fired me, I cried. I was 18 and had never been fired before, and I thought it was really strange. But the second time, I didn't. I was happy to put my career in ironing behind me!

So, what strange job have you held?
Rebecca Jo said...

I've never even heard of a position for an ironing girl :) What a burn out job! HAHA ... see what I did there ;)

Meg said...

Man. That is an interesting job. I can't compete with that one!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of an "ironing girl" glad you have the skill, I sure don't. I avoid the iron but stick things wrinkly back in the dryer for a few minutes. Silly me! The iron intimidates me.

Inge Jane said...

Wow that is strange and so interesting! When I was young, I worked as a clam bagger for a seafood store, meaning I broke down the gigantic clam deliveries into 50- or 100-count bags to sell to customers. It was pretty terrible.

Miss Nutralicious said...

I've had a bunch of strange jobs, it's hard for me to pick the strangest. However, this reminds me of when I was working as a cleaning lady. One of my clients was an elderly woman who would sit on her couch and watch me vacuum. She would always give me vacuuming tips, and she would get angry if I vacuumed too fast. Yet, she always praised my vacuuming skills. It was a strange job.

Rachel said...

That is too funny, how she kept firing you and after you already quit! Like she had to have the last word or something. I am one of six too, the youngest though. I am terrible at ironing, I don't have an iron! I guess my strangest job was cleaning my parish Church. Not that strange though.

Amanda said...

She sounds a bit mad to be honest! I have walking ghost tours of Stratford-upon-Avon, England. That was equal parts weird and awesome though! x

Kristen said...

what a fun / weird job! She sounds a little weird, firing you and then calling you the next day - and then firing you when you were going to quit?! who has ironing girls anyway lol. Love the dress by the way! I have never really had a strange job.

Anonymous said...

Alright, if I ever make it big, I'm hiring someone to iron my pajamas. Crazy interesting experience!

Carolynn Markey said...

Woah crazy! I iron my own clothes sometimes and husbands nixes shirts on occasion but I'll admit that I really don't know what I'm doing and it takes awhile!

Kari said...

That lady sounds crazy! Glad she paid you well, though:)

Robyn B said...

i have never even heard of "ironing girl" how interesting! :)

the surznick common room said...

Your dress is so cute!

Tayler Morrell said...

That's very interesting! I'm sure you had some interesting conversations with her.

Martha Woods said...

That is a strange job I suppose, but I say if it was easy and paid well, why not? :) Your boss sounds interesting, to say the least.

Gen Delali said...

what an interesting job! glad that's behind you now. :)

AwesomelyOZ said...

Wow - that's the strangest job indeed.. Where was the lady from? She must have been loose in the head to have been that off.. Something about her doesn't sound right so it definitely wasn't you, lol. That dress is adorable on you btw! :) Happy Monday Rachel! -Iva

Susannah said...

Wow! An ironing girl!??!?! I didn't even think jobs like that existed anymore! :-)

Jennifer Prod said...

i worked as an au pair for a family in milan (taught their daughters english) and i became pretty good friends with the ironing girl (well, after getting over the shock that she had a different job than the maid....)

love that dress!

Porcelina said...

You look amazing in that dress! Love the polkadots. 'Ironing Girl' is a pretty specialised job! x

After Eleven Blog said...

Wow. lol. So she would watch you iron? It's not like she was busy and didn't have time to iron? was it just laziness?

Darcy said...

I think I would prefer to be ironing girl other than cleaning girl, haha!
www.amemoryofus.com

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

I'd be fired within minutes. I can't iron. Pathetic!

Anonymous said...

I guess I always assumed that maids took care of ironing. Interesting. Even if I were to become filthy rich, I don't think I'd ever think to hire an ironing girl. I'd just say "Toss it back in the dryer with a damp towel." Haha!

Lauren Michelle Major said...

I've never even heard of having an ironing girl!!! Haha, when I have wrinkles I spray the clothing with water and hang it in the bathroom.

http://howtomakehome.blogspot.com

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

I am stunned...stunned to hear that there are Americans that employ "ironing girls". It sounds like something out of the 1800's. How bizarre. Also I see this kind of thing happening in other countries, but not so often in North America.

My husband used to have his socks and underpants ironed by his mother!!! LOL Needless to say...you can bet that came to a screeching halt when we got together! Ha!

bisous
Suzanne

Saxon @ Lets Drink Coffee, Darling said...

Haha, I think you would be an excellent "ironing girl!" I've never heard of someone hiring someone separately from those who clean their house to come do this sort of thing.

I was a "cleaning girl" for one semester! At the time, I really hated my job working for the university, and I thought that working another side job for a family would be more fun. It was alright..but I'm really to meticulous for that type of job and I didn't feel like by the time I drove to her house and only worked for a couple of hours that the money was really worth it. It was kind of a mutual decision that I didn't come back the next semester.

Saxon @ Lets Drink Coffee, Darling said...

Oh no, I should have proof read and fixed the "to" to a "too!" :)

Veronica Lee Burns said...

umm wow what a crazy lady and seriously unique job! Dang girl, I bet you're one awesome ironer! Angel is super lucky ;) I'd have to say I've never heard of someone just hiring an "ironing girl"

My weirdest job was working for santa clause...but you know all about that one. :)

Laurie Duncan said...

That is definitely an unusual job! She sounded like she had some issues! I would like the ironing part, but not the part where she sat an talked to me! I've never had a "weird" job, but my most unusual was working in Yellowstone! I helped serve dinners to employees that worked at Old Faithful. It was a blast! :)

The Lady Okie said...

That lady is crazy! Haha. Definitely one of the strangest jobs I've heard of. If she had all that time to sit and talk to you, why did she even NEED an ironing girl in the first place?! I'm confused.

Mrs. Cheerio said...

What a strange lady/job...? Why didn't her housekeep iron? Weird.

Hey! I worked at Target for a minute in high school. It was the worst job I ever had- and I have worked in the food industry- and even worse than being a personal assistant to an insane woman for a year! I watched her dogs, ordered her clothing, helped her pick out panties (??!!) and basically held her hand through life for a year. It was awful, but Target was still worse.

Marie said...

Ironing sounds like a tough gig. I am glad not to have experienced it, but you must be good to keep a job doing it for that long! I have been a pet sitter for lots of odd folks, one who wanted me to sleep in her bed with her dogs when she was out of town. Not the guest bed...
Marie @ In Our Happy Place

Alice Warren said...

I can say 100% that I suck at ironing. I don't think I've really had any odd jobs but once I worked under the table to an auto auction company. The pay was excellent but hours were grueling. It was all day Saturday from 8 am - 10 pm and you would stand/hunch all day long counting money. Money is so dirty that you just feel so gross at the end of the day. This was a cash auction so the amount of cash was crazy.

BTW, I love the pretty polka dot dress.

Alice
www.happinessatmidlife.com

Lana L. said...

Wow - I have never had a job quite that strange! I love that we're both wearing colorful polka dots in our posts this week!

Jana Tolman said...

What the what? That's so crazy! I don't think any of my jobs could count as strange. I've been a nanny, worked in a restaurant, worked as a secretary, worked at a catering company, and worked as a bridal consultant. All pretty standard.

Theresa Sutton said...

I can honestly say I've never heard of an "ironing girl." How crazy!

I've never really had a strange job, just boring ones that sort of suck the life out of you and make you hate everything (McDonald's)

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

This is a strange job! You have to be some kind of wealthy to hire someone just for your ironing but it sounds like it worked out in your favor. I don't think I've had any strange jobs but I really haven't had that many. I worked at my dads grocery store through high school and most of college then a bank and now a university. Nothing crazy over here!

Anonymous said...

So interesting and kind of hilarious! I never knew people hired out just for ironing, but it sounds like it was a good part time job and makes for a great story!
xo,
Stephanie

Ashley said...

That lady sounds a little crazy! It is so weird that she tried to let you go after you already quit. And I had no idea that just ironing was a job that anybody did any more!

The Modern Tulip said...

Such a cute dress! I would ruin all that womens' clothes... I'm the worlds worst ironer.

Ashley of Southern (California) Belle said...

I loved hearing about your ironing girl career! I think my strangest job was my first one. I worked at an ice rink and I would basically skate around during public sessions to make sure everyone was being safe. It was boring but it was right across the street from my high school!

Ali Hval said...

An ironing girl! So there are people out there rich enough to afford separate ironing people and cleaning ladies... that made me giggle a bit, not gonna lie. I love how you described all of this. But hey, you go girl, for being the best ironer lady there is. Except for being fired twice, bahaha.

Jessica Cangiano said...

I haven't had what I'd say were any truly off-the-wall paid jobs over the years, but certainly the one that stands out as being the more interesting (and perhaps strange to some people) was working for a season (when I was sixteen) as a waitress in a historical ghost town called Barkerville here in BC. I loved that experience and know that it only helped fuel my passion for the past all the more!

♥ Jessica

Paving the Rugged Path said...

I can't say that I have ever heard of anyone being hired as an "ironing girl." haha! I don't think I can top that odd job. As a dietetics student, most of my jobs have been in food service or health care. The most unrelated job I had was probably in high school. I worked at the local small animal vet clinic a few hours each week. I mostly just cleaned cages and cleaned the facility, but sometimes I helped with vaccinations and assistance during emergency procedures. It was actually a pretty cool job!

Haley said...

Ready for it........ I don't know how to iron! I mean, it looks easy enough but I've only ever ironed once or twice. Rob is the ironing boy in our household. He would prefer that I don't go near his stuff with an iron and I just.. couldn't be bothered to iron my own clothes!!
Ironing Girl, you sound like a superhero or something.. ;)

Melody T. said...

WOW! What a crazy job! The closest to crazy for me would be managing the Easter Bunny Photo shoot at the mall (just switch out Santa at Christmas with the Easter Bunny at Easter in your minds eye) one year. A couple days the Easter Bunny didn't show up and I had to be the Easter Bunny. The costume is meant for a 6' foot man to wear so I'm sure you can imagine how awesome it looked on a 5'4" girl! As crazy as that felt, nothing tops "ironing girl"!

Elegance and Mommyhood said...

I can't say I have had any crazy jobs buit I have had some demanding jobs, very much so.

Love your dress with the rainbow dots and how you styled it. It is very you. Cute long beaded necklace, also.

Would love for you to join my link up this week because one of the Summer trends we are doing is a Statement Necklace and your necklace definitely qualifies. =D

Anonymous said...

Wow. That is probably one of the oddest jobs I've ever heard of! What country was that in?

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

Woooow... "an ironing girl"... I never would've thought. I mean, I'm a nanny and work for a family who also has a cleaning lady. But no separate ironing girl. That's like a whole other level of wealth. Anyway, it's so strange how she fired you so suddenly and without explanation twice. I totally would've cried the first time too so I hear ya there!

Chantel Klassen said...

I had no idea that was a job! It sounds like an interesting time and a slightly crazy employer (which always makes things more interesting). I hate ironing, refused to do it for a long time and now I only iron shirts that absolutely need it (or better yet, try to not buy those kinds of shirts), I can't believe people actually get their pajamas ironed, definitely must have been crazy.

Tami said...

Your ex-employer sounds like she is either cuckoo or has way too much time on her hands. LOL

The craziest job I ever had was wrapping gifts in the mall when I was 16. I was called a 'gift wrapper'. Ah...the memories. :)

Rebecca said...

Whatever pays the bills, eh? At least you were good at it! I'm rubbish at ironing. I don't know why, but if the item is any more complicated than a flat tee shirt or sheet, I have no idea how to tackle it - my husband irons all of his own shirts rather than risk my skills haha!
I had a job when I was younger where I dosed people with drugs that were still being studied, and then took their blood all day long to test it and see how long it remained in their systems. And made them take psychometric tests to measure the effects of the drug on their brain. That was weird. But fun!
PS that dress is adorable - and the fit is perfect!

Mrs. M ~ a.k.a. ~ April said...

My strangest job was working for a drug testing lab. I had to stand at a lab table pipetting people's urine into a tube to be tested for drugs. Two of the most nasty things that happened was having some stranger's urine accidently flick onto my lip and having to scrub my lip off, hoping to the Lord that that person didn't have a disease and secondly having to stand by the cup crushing machine to make sure all the specimen cups were crushed. It smelled so bad in that room, not to mention that, if I remember right, urine would sometimes get on the floor. Though it paid good, I didn't stay there just because I didn't have reliable transportation.
Ironing was one of my favorite things to do in the summer for my dad.

Embracing Spectrum said...

I would never have thought those types of jobs would still exist today! That's wild! Visiting from SITS!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was really unfair of her!
One of my strangest jobs was being a hostess at a restaurant. Not a strange thing to most people, but until you've been one, you don't realize how hard they really have it. So much is blamed on them. If a server doesn't get a good tip, it's the host's fault (because of course the host can read minds and look into the future, knowing how much money a group intended to leave). If a server is too bored or too busy, it's the host's fault.