Pixabay

In a perfect world, jobs would pay well enough for you to survive doing them. But we don't live in a perfect world and pretty much everyone can tell you that lots of jobs don't pay anywhere near a livable wage.

That doesn't mean they're not awesome.


One Reddit user asked:

What's the best low paying job you've ever had?

Consider this article our love song to those crappy jobs that didn't pay much, but made up for it in laughs, snacks, ability to avoid the public, etc.

So this one's to you, summers spent as a pool lifeguard in a small town. My bank account may have been empty, but my tan was flawless and my hamstrings have never again reached that level of definition.

Thanks, Netflix!

Movie store. Free rentals. Netflix was just starting to take off, so it didn't get busy ever. I got to watch movies all day and drink free slurpies.

- Gingerchaun

Same. Free movies before they were "released" and work consisted of bs'ing about movies and playing Gameboy. Best job ever for being 17.

- PreppyNotYuppie

Same, but I worked at a mom and pop's rental store kind of like Blockbuster.

I was always popular because my family and friends wanted the new releases that came out. So I'd hold them for people - and people always had giant smiles when they came in.

That's one thing I loved about working there. People were always happy when they came in.

Kids got their movies and games, adults would browse for theirs and get pumped if something new was in. Popcorn, candy. All cash. RIP good ole days

- SunsetDreams1111

Living History

night museum GIF Giphy

Working at a small local museum. Basically did tours for local kids who didn't care or the elderly who knew more about the stuff than I did. On my first day, my high school history teacher (who helped me get the job and previously ran the place) gave me a tour and pointed out one interesting thing in each room. When I asked if I needed to learn about the rest, he just laughed and said I would.

Every single tour I did for the elderly someone would get super excited and talk nonstop about something they recognized "hey this signed used to hang at the old mill..." "oh my god, this looks just like the nurse uniform I wore in WW2" "this portrait is my grandmother".

The next tour I'd just mention the stories the previous tour told me about. And even if I didn't have much to discuss about the museum, they loved just chatting.

So I got paid to parrot the previous tour or just smile through rooms of the current tour talking. I even had one tour where I spent most of the tour just chatting about fantasy novels as an older lady just wanted to talk. Two weeks later, she returned while I wasn't working and dropped off a bag of books for me (her old books that she knew her son and grandkids didn't want), a sizable donation to the historical society, and a nice long write up as the last room held an old uniform that was misidentified. She was part of the exact unit it came from and gave the museum director a corrected page with the right unit name and a short description of some of the notable places they had served.

- LibrioMancer

My Current Job Is Much Safer

I worked as a bike courier to up my allowance. I was super fit, riding my bike for more than 1500km per month. On the downside I got "run over" by cars three times.

And that's not to mention the suddenly opening car doors. Those got me twice.

One time was bad: My bike was destroyed beyond repair (the frame was bent), I had muscle contusions, a ripped tendon in one of my hands, injured joint capsules, abrasions all over the body ... I couldn't even walk without painkillers for two weeks. I was exempt from sport for two or three months. That sucked.

Luckily enough I suffered no permanent damages. My current occupation as a software developer is much safer and much better paying, but I think fondly of that time.

- _cnt0

The Whole Job Was To Press A Button

Ski lift operator at a ski resort.

Got paid minimum wage , but the whole job was to press a button if someone fell, which a lot of people did.

I would just see some clearly inexperienced people get wrecked while getting off, stop the lift, roll my eyes, maybe help them if it's going to take a while, start lift again. lol

It came with sweet perks like free snowboarding and half price for food. Also my coworkers were a bunch of dope snowboarding hippies

- Snowfreak2507

Sweet Trouble

Working at a theatre.

We were all young, had our own cash and places for the first time, and got into all kinds of trouble. Very fun!

Plus, free movies and snacks. Pretty sweet.

- NillaBeans

Seconded, working at a movie theater was great. Tons of free movies (sometimes before official release), usually fun people to work with, unlimited access to tokens for the arcades, etc.

I'm genuinely thinking about working at one again when I retire just for the enjoyment.

- Tak_Jaehon

This was going to be mine!

Early in my management career I was a projectionist, I got to break down/build films. Nothing better than sitting in the booth and putting together a film while listening to music. Then after it was built testing it to make sure there were no bad splices.

Also my theatre was extremely slow, so we'd have a lot of downtime to just mess around.

We did a LOT of late-night movie viewings.

- dawrina

Front Desk

Night shift at a hotel front desk.

I spent the night by myself, chilling and watching movies on my phone. Hardly anyone ever checked in at night and when they did it was just a five-minute process. I was also allowed to snack on the food in the kitchen.

I had to make breakfast, and would get to eat that as well every morning. I'd have a big Texas cinnamon roll and some milk just about every night lol.

It didn't pay much, but for someone who enjoys spending time alone and not dealing with the public much, it was great.

- booneisthemoon


As someone who is currently on my nightshift at the front desk, I can confirm it is great however prolonged amounts of time in it can cause health problems from messing up your circadian rhythm.

Also sometimes, like right now, it can get really boring. But can't complain much when I'm getting paid to browse Reddit.

- Sammy_Jacks

Barista 

Being a Starbucks barista actually isn't bad.

Out of all the food service industry jobs I've had, they had the best health insurance plans and you didn't need to work 40 hours minimum to qualify for it. That left me open to waitress and make more money while still getting health insurance and free coffee!

The work was fun too.


I liked the hustle of making all the drinks and I'm naturally very good at small talk and memorizing the little details of regulars lives so I could pick up the convo next time. The customers were generally very nice and tipped well. We often made about 2 dollars an hour (which was split based on weekly hours worked so the more you worked the more you got) which ain't bad.

Of course we got plenty of Karens - especially in the summer when our town flooded with tourists - but even then the regulars would understand and commiserate with us (often loudly while stink eyeing whatever tourist is hassling us) on how rude city folk are.

- Accomplished-Today

Borders

Books Lol GIF by UdG Giphy

Borders Books. Dang I miss that company.

$30 gift cards a month to buy books in addition to the employee discount. Also you could "borrow" up to two books at a time to read and return in salable condition. Pretty good bonuses and incentives for a retail job.

And it was nice working with employees (and having customers) who were book lovers.

- pink_kryptonite


This what I came here to say! I spent just under 4 years there; their final years. All I did was read and get ARC copies of books. I love to organize and talk books. I don't remember $30 gift cards each month but I do remember it always being minimum wage with no benefits or sick time.

I have all the job perks now, but sometimes I go back to that job in my mind. I loved when someone enjoyed my recommendation and would come back.

I always had books checked out in my name and half the time would buy them to re read. Oh and coffee all day....sigh.

- eclecticmuse

Blueberries and Ice Cream

I worked at a blueberry farm where I worked inside the blueberry store.

They sold homemade blueberry baked goods, homemade blueberry jam and other jams, blueberry (and other flavors) ice cream, and blueberry knickknacks and trinkets. The owner's daughter who worked with me was fun and we just manned the cash register and served ice cream.

I worked there for three summers during college, made a sweet $8/hr and got a bowl of ice cream every day. Best job ever

- why___me

The Work Sucked, But...

I worked in the warehouse part of a furniture store when I was 17.

I was the youngest and the other guys were in their early 20s. We just goofed off, told jokes, and had fun. When we actually worked, it was hard due to assembling furniture and unloading trucks, but the rest of the time it was a blast.

- SecretKGB

This. Working at a furniture store was my first job. I didn't like the work, but we had such fun.

- deaconofthedeep

And No Boss!

Bike rickshaw (pedicab) in Austin on 6th street.

Ferrying around drunks all night is so entertaining and was such an easy way to meet girls. Got to see fights, people falling over, and hilarious shenanigans almost every night. And no boss!

Best days were game days and could make bank from the rich alumni between the beer gardens and stadium. Husbands always paid you to take their wives ahead and they could stay back and drink beer.

- Jzzlbbr57

The Local Spot

At an ale house local to me

It made thai food as well and I was basically a waitress with extra responsibilities but wasn't old enough to handle the alcohol or money

I got a free meal every shift and a free drink (non alcoholic due to my age but older staff could choose any) and it was my parents local so they came and walked me home after my shift and I knew majority of the people who came in as customers meaning I was way more comfortable right from the first shift

- Rose__17

If I Hadn't Been Married

coke thirst GIF by ADWEEK Giphy

I was a pool cleaner shortly before enlisting in the AF. I could smoke on the job, work at my own pace (as long as the pools were done and I was back at the shop by 5pm), eat when I wanted to, etc.

Some pools were pretty easy to care for. Others took at least a week to turn from dark green to crystal blue. PRO TIP: If you have a pool, you HAVE to run the pump during the winter, at least a few hours during the week.

Was it like a porn movie? In some ways more than others. Yes, I got to see a great deal of women in bikinis... and less. Yes, I got offered the occasional cold beer during a job. Did I have sex with clients? Well, Christmas don't pay for itself.

Probably would have worked out better for me if I hadn't been married.

- FriendshipExpensive2

The Intern

My internship at an airline maintenance facility. Now, the job wasn't that interesting if you don't like to assemble and disassemble mechanical stuff all day and getting there by train was a constant nightmare. Also they did screw me up on the pay (110€ a month instead of 150€ like the other interns for no real reason) BUT :

  1. Their cafeteria was incredible. I ate some of the best lunches of my life for like 5€.
  2. It was in June and there was one of the biggest heat wave ever recorded in my country. Everybody had to endure 40°C all day... except me who worked in a climate controlled warehouse that was constantly kept at 21°C. Hardly environmentally friendly but I didn't mind.

Summer Of Netflix

Spent a summer sorting documents while watching Netflix.

I had a sh*tty data entry job in a college admissions department, and since no one applies to college during the summer (and thus there's no data to enter) they would normally just cut their data entry folks.

But that particular summer they decided to keep us on full-time and help digitize paper files. My role in this process was to remove all the staples, toss any extraneous documents, then put the documents back in the file in the correct order and with a cover sheet added, so the next folks could scan them.

This was also at time when our building was being renovated and full-time staff was moving around and changing offices.

I found an unused office and just posted up in there for the summer. It was easily the most enjoyable few months of my working life. I watched the entirety of DS9 and Scrubs while working that job.

- [Reddit]

Still Family To Me

Hostel receptionist. It was my dream job.

I would party literally everyday, have free access to clubs around, free tours, free beers, free BBQ, meet people from all over the world. Co-workers were and are still family to me. I miss that job.

If you're ever visiting Santiago in Chile, go to La Chimba Hostel. You will not regret it!

- itsthewalrus

The Best And Worst

The best job was an overnight panel operator at a regional radio station.

The pay was sh*t, but it was the best job I ever had. I'd take my dog in, and spend all night doing crossword puzzles and reading comic books.

In contrast, the worst high paying job I ever had was doing the same thing for an adult movie channel. Getting paid to sit alone in a dark room watching porn for 10 hours a day is not as fun as it sounds.

You get desensitized to it really quickly, especially if you're not into what they're showing.

It was just really weird and awkward. Like being a diabetic working at a Cadbury factory.

- FormalMango

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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!